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A Truth Dance19936 dancers28 min

This dance relates more to my 1991 solo Crux Eruption than my other previous works. I was similarly focusing on the movement collection process by which I videotaped myself improvising, alone in a studio, and then learned selected sequences as close to “verbatim” as possible. I was also similarly interested in presenting the movement and the performers in a fairly forthright manner, without further commentary from any tongue-in-cheek text, whether delivered via actual written language, visual elements of props, costumes, or sets, music/sound, or (intentionally) referential choreography. The “a truth” I was going for concerned the movement, the dancing, presented without ironic gloss, with decidedly heart-on-sleeve goals. 

Chris Cochrane’s music was made of samples culled from musical traditions from across the globe. I wanted the score to open up the world of the dance beyond the studio and beyond the stage, and to place this specific dancing within a broader context. We laid the varied music tracks atop the dancing as independent elements, creating a relationship I now see as pertaining to my interest in the construction of meaning. I was asking viewers to hold the different media together simultaneously - the dancing and the music - to negotiate the poetics of perhaps not being able to quite connect them or separate them, but to nevertheless experience them in tandem. 

A Truth Dance and Crux Eruption also have in common my misgivings about the title of each, which both seem to me as bordering on essentialist. By way of explanation, at the time I felt I was uncovering a more intrinsically “authentic” version of my dancing self,  through my study of Klein Technique, a somatic approach of which I was then an ardent follower. The approach advocated “dancing from the bones,” with the rationale/theory that bones remain less changed by personal history and environment than do muscles (no mention of other body systems), and so retain more of a person’s fundamental self. During the rehearsal process for A Truth Dance I even taught a weekly class in my attempt to elicit each dancer’s “authentic dancing self.” What can I say? I was an acolyte. 

On the other hand, and in some defense of the title, I hoped the distinction between “a truth” and “the truth” might be recognized. Also, I intended a reading by which “a truth” was the name of the “dance,” and didn’t even think it might be considered a “truth dance.”  

I do think that making this work helped me develop some structures and methods that proved a necessary step in my choreographic progress, laying the foundation upon which I could build my next work, Not-About-AIDS-Dance

Premiered April 2, 1992 at La MaMa E.T.C.’s Annex Theater.


Choreography: Neil Greenberg

Performed by: C. Batenhorst, Neil Greenberg, Nathaniel Lee, Justine Lynch, Jo McKendry, Julienne Pollitt

Music: Chris Cochrane

Lighting design: Michael Stiller

Costume design: Kate Lynch & Neil Greenberg

Recorded April 30, 1993 by Character Generators /Video at La MaMa E.T.C.’s Annex Theater.

Cameraperson: Michael Schwartz


John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship

New York State Council on the Arts

Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation

Harkness Foundations for Dance

SUNY Purchase College Foundation Faculty Support Fund


Deborah Jowitt, Village Voice, 1993

L-R: Neil Greenberg, Justine Lynch, C. Batnhorst (front), Jo McKendry, Julienne Pollitt
© Johan Elbers, 1993

Neil Greenberg
© Johan Elbers, 1993

Neil Greenberg
© Johan Elbers, 1993