Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lincoln Center Awards

One annual television show my wife and I usually enjoy is the Kennedy Center Awards program where performance artists are honored for their contribution. This year's award show was not different. I find myself moved by the program, not so much who the stars are but the craft that they exhibit. The short biographies serve to enlighten me about their roots and background, but it is the tribute performances that can lead to surprising twists.

Twyla Tharp was one of the honorees. I knew her name from articles I've read about dance, but I've not ever seen her special art. I guess I should say I've not ever seen her dances that were actually attributed to her. If her choreography was part of some other show I was not aware of it. Tonight however two people danced three dances, with music sung by Frank Sinatra. The three dances were styled and distinct dances. I was enthralled. The first had some hopping type steps that looked difficult and odd, yet unique and isn't that what art is about, unique. The second dance was characterized by some energetic pushing and pulling and my wife said she didn't like that dance, it looked like the man was abusing the woman partner. Isn't that what art is supposed to do, evoke some feeling. The last dance was graceful, it was done to Sinatra's "My Way" and was graceful and fitting. Isn't that what art is.

The other surprise was the performance by Beyonce. She was dressed conservatively, very little cleavage if any. Her hair was in an elegant fashion and she sang "Memories" in a very Streisand-like style. Good range in her voice, and an emotional interpretation that did the honor to Barbara Streisand proud. I was impressed. I guess I've never listened to Beyonce, I've seen her in some ads where she is a sexy, hip-hop type shaking her booty. This was a side of Beyonce I've not seen and was impressed with. She certainly demonstrated a very different dimension to her talent and that is one of the ways I judge the worth of an artist.

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