PARTIAL VIEW (2005)

Time Out NY Audience Award at the 2005 Bessies
One of the Year's 10 Best by Gia Kourlas in Time Out/NY
One of the Year's 10 Best by Apollinaire Scherr in Newsday: Best use of multimedia

In Partial View Greenberg plays with perspective by presenting viewers with his sensual and rigorous dance language performed both onstage by four dancers and in live footage that offers multiple viewpoints of their bodies. Adding yet another layer are prerecorded images by John Jesurun, juxtaposed with the live video on two screens. The use of changing points-of-view challenges viewers to create their own logic, teasing the mind into a provocative dialogue about how we build meanings—in dance and in life. As in much of Greenberg’s work, Partial View walks the tightrope between looking at ‘the thing’ and simultaneously being ‘the thing,’ juxtaposing a deadpan cool with heart-on-sleeve expression.

Greenberg’s collaborators for Partial View include MacArthur recipient John Jesurun (video) and longtime collaborators Zeena Parkins (music) and Michael Stiller (lighting). Partial View brings together four ‘Bessie’ Award winning artists.

The program also features partial view solo, in which Greenberg dances to an original score for acoustic harp by Zeena Parkins. The Los Angeles Times describes Greenberg’s performance as “Petrouchka unplugged, his bent legs on the verge of collapse in this prelude that heralded the arrival of the extended storm-tossed quartet.”

Partial View premiered at Dance Theater Workshop in New York City
50 minutes, four dancers
Video: John Jesurun
Music: Zeena Parkins
Lighting: Michael Stiller
Costumes: Liz Prince & The Company
Originally Performed by: Justine Lynch, Paige Martin, Luke Miller, Colin Stilwell

  1. Partial View is stunning. Neil Greenberg’s perspective on the human body and movement looks sublime at every whip, turn and angle.”
    Victoria Looseleaf, Los Angeles Times (source)
  2. “With Partial View, Greenberg transcends
    the limitations of the proscenium stage and stationary seating. By projecting live footage of the dancers, Greenberg lets the audience see the dance in dozens of different ways… His approach in Partial View asks the audience to choose what to look at—a dancer’s back or a close-up of his torso, with every breath magnified; a dancer’s giant hand on the screen or her quiet gestures on stage; the shadows beneath a dancer’s feet or the movement of his hips and shoulders. The addition of multiple perspectives creates a richer, yet somehow more mysterious whole… It’s an intimate and disarming experience.”
    Tresca Weinstein, Times Union (Albany)
  3. “For Neil Greenberg, art’s relation to life
    is an urgent concern. The tremendous Partial View points simultaneously inward and beyond itself… Zeena Parkins’ propulsive score of African-style drumming, scale—traversing marimba, lyrical flute and sudden patches of silence complements without mirroring the dancers’ highly specific ruminations… What makes one linger especially over the dancers’ pauses is the multidisciplinary artist John Jesurun’s live video. He has placed cameras at the corners of the stage and overhead, and live sequences of the dancers appear intermittently on the two back-wall screens. We see them as if at the end of a long corridor, through a keyhole or from far overhead. Their helpless rescaling eventually makes a deep sense of their moments of stillness, when they take in the distance. Everywhere they turn becomes their destiny.”
    Apollinaire Scherr, New York Newsday
  4. “The perspectives become deliciously complex
    foregrounding this movement, dwindling that one, creating tensions that we don't notice between the live performers; it’s enough to set our minds jangling. …Greenberg is presenting us with a whole creation about partial views, while reminding us that we never have more than partial views of our lives.”
    Deborah Jowitt, Village Voice (source)
  5. “Neil Greenberg’s Partial View is an experimental laboratory, rich with movement, patterning, and perceptual games…
    Suddenly we saw the same phrase prismatically—live and from two sides. A dancer stared at us from the screen, but she was actually glaring away from us, toward the camera. Perceptions scrambled rapidly and engagingly… Greenberg’s intellectual approach to dancemaking made for a rewarding evening resulting in rich visual and kinetic crescendos. He and his collaborators posed many rhetorical questions, answered them, and then asked more, engaging the audience in a wordless but rousing dialogue.”
    Susan Yung, Dance Magazine, 2005 (source)
  6. “Most of the recent dance-video projects
    have resulted in little more than sound-and-light shows, but Neil Greenberg’s Partial View constitutes a substantive employment of mixed media… The ending of Partial View is a return of calm after a storm of detailed ferocity. In its cool way, the dance has been unsparing. Greenberg has chosen a primal subject—the relation of the individual to impersonal energies both natural and psychic—and then he has arranged an immense exposé of our adjustments and struggles before such powers. What is fascinating is the objective passion of the report.”
    Don Daniels, Ballet Review, 2006

THE COLLABORATORS

JOHN JESURUN

John Jesurun, a 1996 recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, is a playwright, director and designer whose presentations combine elements of language, film, architectural space and media. His play Faust/How I Rose will be presented by the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival in Fall 2004. He has received a ‘Bessie’ (for his serial play Chang In A Void Moon) an ‘Obie’ (for Deep Sleep), and numerous grants and commissions, including the BAM/Lucent Technologies Arts in Multimedia grant.


ZEENA PARKINS

Zeena Parkins, composer/performer/sound artist, is currently touring internationally with Björk, performing on acoustic harp and her pioneering one-of-a-kind electric harp. She has created numerous scores for film, video, chamber orchestra, theater and, especially, dance—receiving a ‘Bessie’ award for her score for Jennifer Monson's Sender. Her music melds and highlights opposites, blurring boundaries between improvised and composed, acoustic and electric, digital and analog, and processed and concrete sounds. She has collaborated with Greenberg since 1991.


MICHAEL STILLER

Michael Stiller has lit the work of choreographers and theater artists across the United States, Europe and South America. He has created lighting designs for all of Dance By Neil Greenberg’s productions since 1991, and received a 1995 ‘Bessie’ Award for his work on Not-About-AIDS-Dance. He has also served as designer or lighting director for concerts, talk shows, music videos and films, and brings to Partial View his special expertise in lighting for both the stage and the camera.

© Jason Akira Somma
© Julie Lemberger
© Jason Akira Somma

Partial View was commissioned by the Bessie Schönberg/First Light commissioning fund and Creative Residency program of Dance Theater Workshop with support from the Ford Foundation and the Jerome Robbins Foundation, and in association with Ginny and Tim Millhiser of the David R. White Producers Circle.

Partial View is also made possible through the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts and the Multi-Arts Production Fund, a program of Creative Capital supported by the Rockefeller Foundation.

This project is also supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, The Harkness Foundation for Dance, the Purchase College Faculty Support Fund and private contributors, and was developed in part through a residency at Skidmore College made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts and the Skidmore College Dance Program. Zeena Parkins’ original music for Partial View is made possible by a grant from the American Music Center’s Live Music for Dance Program.