Mother of Us All SunBreak review

SunBreak editor Michael van Baker wrote a comprehensive review of Spectrum Dance Theater's The Mother of Us All. He begins with the challenge "Is that what Africa has come to mean, African aid?" and continues with "How do you dance a phenomenological investigation?"

The article is an incredible read. Here is an excerpt:
The surreal, CNN-gone-wild scenic and lighting design by Jack Mehler is joined to a score by Byron Au Yong, with live performance on the kora by Kane Mathis. The kora is an old, old instrument, and Au Yong has it almost vanish within a river of electronic, industrial sonic artifact, only to reappear here and there, never completely overwhelmed. The score is perfectly suited to what you see. 
Byrd says his goal is that the work will spark in viewers a curiosity in Africa, our de facto "container" so long for the the disempowered and revolutionary, as Africa, here and there, finds its way to a middle class existence (at the same time as the U.S. middle class increasingly finds itself under new strains). 
Au Yong took that to heart, so there's none of the Afro-pop percussion you might expect (again, an emphasis-shifting elision that effaces a cultural mode that has been reasonably important to Africans, at least). This music, this dance, is more tectonic, filled with subsidences. At the end, you realize that one reason the dancers have tried so strenuously to maintain contact with the ground is that it's moving beneath them.
You can read Baker's "Truth? You Can't Handle SDT's 'Mother of Us All" in SunBreak.


Dedicated to intercultural collaboration, Byron Au Yong composes songs of dislocation, music for a changing world. He teaches in Performing Arts & Social Justice at the University of San Francisco.

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