Reviews and Quotes
Making Connections Through Poetic Dance
Susan Elliott - For the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Monday, April 11, 2005
Louise Runyon presents "Coming Into Conjunction," an evening of dance, poetry and music. Several Dancers Core Studio, Decatur.
Louise Runyon has been active on the Atlanta arts scene as an actor, choreographer, dancer and poet for some 25 years. Her program last weekend, "Coming Into Conjunction," at the tiny Several Dancers Core Studios, saw her in all four guises — a kind of new-millennium performance artist with old-millennium values.
There is absolutely no pretense about this 55-year-old's art. She uses no sets, few props and dresses either in loose-fitting, designer-casual pants and top or modest leotard, tights and skirt. She is a certified practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method, which links a person's physical movement with his awareness of self and surroundings.
Her art, she tells us in her introduction, emphasizes that same connection. She reads [her poems] aloud with humor, wit and grace as she moves about a self-styled stage freely, confidently…
Runyon is an artistic force to be reckoned with, a woman of substance. (Among other claims to fame, 30 years ago she became the first woman steelworker at Atlantic Steel.) One has to admire her willingness and apparent dedication to inviting outsiders along on her inner journeys.
The final work on the program, "In Conjunction: Awkward Grace," was the most satisfying artistically. An engaging, almost erotic piece of modern dance choreographed and danced with D. Patton White, the work moves seamlessly from simple fun to complex, even agonizing, passion, as Runyon and her partner twist and slither around each other to distinctively chosen, mood-shifting music. Not a word is spoken, yet on this occasion, it was the piece that said the most. It also explained how Runyon has endured as an artist.
»Stark, even imagery emulating a painting in motion… conveying the bitter and sweet of the hunger for spirit.
»[Runyon] has a special skill of using words and songs as rhythmical underpinnings to her skillfully modulated movements. She uses her hands with especially compelling artistry, [and] built tension by the way she said the words — staccato, rapidly, broken by pauses. Meanwhile, her body language spoke the same tongue, creating a double emotional whammy. …vignettes of hurt translated into an artistic scar… intensely personal and intensely portrayed.
»Runyon reads as if words were dance movements flowing from her open heart.
»Simple in words, sparse in movement… chillingly beautiful and quite well-acted. With joy and confidence [Runyon] drew us into her art and her heart.
»Particularly enchanting [is] the harmony of her limbs with her torso, reminiscent… of movement captured in ancient Greek sculpture. Runyon's signature movements of arms and legs emanating from her torso center reflect [how] 'your wings are connected to your heart.'
»Runyon's willingness to be vulnerable elicits compassion from her audience, who walk away perhaps a little more accepting and understanding of their own triumphs and tragedies. I had feelings of joy to witness the girl in this fine woman, who seemed to survive childhood in robust fashion, a feat in which all of us can find solace. This artist seems interested not in personal glory but in displaying truths of life in order to keep growing.
Atlanta Dance Arts
»In a delightful piece of whimsy called 'Speaking in Tongues/Mothers and Sons,' Runyon and her 9-year old son, Lucas, made dance out of their knack of talking to each other in rhythmical jibberish as they go about their daily lives. It is the most lighthearted, upbeat work Runyon has created to date — sort of the light at the end of the tunnel that was her own growing-up experience, which she's explored in earlier dances.
»Runyon is… natural, warm, funny and child-like… Fun and sweet, and very wise, just like a wonderful child…
»The crowning achievement of the evening was 'Bathed and Blessed.' A dance that celebrated interdependence and faith in the strength of those people around us… subtle and emotionally charged movement… this dance broke your heart with kindness. Then rebuilt it, making it stronger for the wear and tear.
Atlanta Choreographer's Newsletter
»…a brilliant dance performance… Runyon was fresh and delicate-looking, agile and in control, not to mention bold… the subtle, lithe and rousing artistry of Faye Yvette McQueen did not go unnoticed.
Atlanta Daily World
»Highlighting both her honesty and her artistry, Runyon's shows are worth catching.
All Contents Copyright 2011 by Louise Runyon