For­get the web: Dance Ink is ‘a per­for­mance in print’

Mag­a­zine fea­tures glo­ri­ous photos for lovers of dance

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E - GIA KOURLAS

In a dig­i­tal era, when bal­let dancers have thou­sands of fol­low­ers on In­sta­gram (Sara Mearns, 44,600; Is­abella Boyl­ston, 149,000), Patsy Tarr, a pub­lisher and phi­lan­thropist, has done some­thing un­usual: She has de­cided to pub­lish a print mag­a­zine.

It started with a fall. Tarr was at the New York City Bal­let and look­ing for­ward to that evening’s per­for­mance of “La Valse.” She dashed to the ladies room, slipped on the floor and shat­tered her kneecap.

“I ended up get­ting carted out of the theatre through the lobby on a stretcher,” she said.

She couldn’t walk, but she could read. Tarr, 68, who heads the 2wice Arts Foun­da­tion, im­mersed her­self in back is­sues of her own much-ad­mired pub­li­ca­tions Dance Ink (pub­lished from 1989 to 1996) and 2wice (1997 to 2012). Tarr, who over the past years had em­braced dig­i­tal me­dia — she pro­duced a se­ries of dance apps with her col­lab­o­ra­tor Ab­bott Miller — said she came to a re­al­iza­tion: She missed pa­per.

“I didn’t re­ally en­joy the process of mak­ing the apps, be­cause so much of it was out of my hands,” she said. “I don’t know how to write com­puter code.”

The re­vamped Dance Ink, fea­tur­ing the dancer and chore­og­ra­pher Si­las Riener on its cover, is mainly vis­ual. (With a lim­ited edi­tion of 500, it’s avail­able now through 2wice.org.) Edited and de­signed by Miller, it fea­tures pho­tog­ra­phy by Chris­tian Witkin and is di­vided into three sec­tions.

In “Ev­ery­where We Go,” the New York City Bal­let prin­ci­pal dancers Amar Ra­masar and Adrian Danchig-War­ing are shown per­form­ing Justin Peck’s bal­let of the same name. Even­tu­ally, they are joined by Riener, a for­mer Merce Cun­ning­ham dancer and chore­og­ra­pher, who, in “Leap Year,” an­other sec­tion, im­pro­vises in and around Tomp­kins Square Park in the East Vil­lage. Fi­nally, in “Changeling,” Riener re-en­acts that Cun­ning­ham work from 1957.

“This al­most feels like a per­for­mance in print,” Miller said. “It’s not just like, oh, that’s a nice pho­to­graph, but you’re ac­tu­ally watch­ing some­thing un­fold.”

Text, by the dance writer Nancy Dalva, is spar­ingly used. (Of Riener, she writes, “through some al­chem­i­cal on­to­log­i­cal feat not of mimicry, but em­bod­i­ment, he be­comes Merce.”) Tarr said she had no plans to ex­pand the writ­ing com­po­nent. “I hon­estly don’t have the de­sire to start with a whole new gen­er­a­tion of dance writ­ers,” she said. “I’m just in­ter­ested in the dancing.”

In re­cent years, Tarr’s fo­cus has strayed lit­tle from show­cas­ing dancers from City Bal­let and from the Cun­ning­ham tra­di­tion. “You know why we’re in Cun­ning­ham and City Bal­let?” she said. “Be­cause it’s my mag­a­zine and that’s what I want to concentrate on. For the first is­sue, one al­ways starts with what one loves the most.”

Women are ab­sent from the newly de­signed Dance Ink, but Tarr and Miller are hop­ing to re­dress that next time with an all-fe­male is­sue, pos­si­bly fo­cus­ing on a bal­le­rina or mod­ern dancer. (At the mo­ment, they are plan­ning to pub­lish Dance Ink twice a year.)

The sleek mag­a­zine, which is larger than most at 10 inches wide by 14 ¼ inches tall, has a plas­tic cover; poster-size im­ages are avail­able along with a dig­i­tally printed mu­ral of Riener, who is cap­tured in poses from “Changeling.” It can be used as wall­pa­per. “Imag­ine at some dance school?” Miller said. “Even a per­form­ing-arts li­brary. There are places for it.”

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