It’s hard to imagine a better setting for Ms. Gill’s bold and haunting “Catacomb” than the Greek Revival rotunda of Federal Hall. This 2016 piece is extremely spare, strange and slow-moving, almost a memory play. Under the rotunda’s oculus, it felt like a 3-D Antonioni film: the unease, the longueurs, the serious rewards.
Deconstructing Graham and Ailey
Ms. Yerushalmy’s “Paramodernities #2 and #3,” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, are installments of a proposed series in which she collaborates with scholars on deconstructions of canonical modern dance works.
In “#2,” as Ms. Yerushalmy and Taryn Griggs perform bits of Martha Graham’s “Night Journey,” the art historian Carol Ockman shares her thoughts on Graham. Presenting Graham as a forerunner to feminist theorists diminishes her, though the lecture-demonstration enlivens when the dancers assault the affable docent.
For “#3,” about Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations,” the chief collaborator is Tommy DeFrantz, a dance scholar who’s also a charismatic performer. His lecture is theory-laden, but the questions he asks — about blackness, modernity, sexuality, freedom — are provocative, and his skeptical, sarcastic delivery gathers the urgency of a sermon.
Meaning Without Attachment
“Paramodernities” is all about adding explanatory context. The audacity of “The…