CLARA GIBSON MAXWELL: CRITICS

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CLARA GIBSON MAXWELL
27, rue Froidevaux 75014 Paris FRANCE TEL/FAX: 33-1-45-38-53-97
355 Buckhannon Ave. Clarksburg, WV 26301 USA TEL: 1 (304) 623-0920
MODAFRANCE@COMPUSERVE.COM


WHAT CRITICS AND COLLEAGUES SAY ABOUT
CLARA GIBSON MAXWELL:

"Clara has already perfected what everybody else is still trying to do" - Ornette Coleman

AS CHOREOGRAPHER:

"Ophelia dominates the action of the performance with a circular, downward-lapping motion that climaxes with a beautiful final dance, naked, in a pool of light--as if she is being sucked ever so slowly into the whirlpool of her death." - Mark Gevisser, The Village Voice (N.Y.)

"Ophelia's madness can be politicized by an actress who might represent the hysterical female body now as an eroticized and aestheticized object of desire and repulsion and now as an agent of uncontrollable voice, desire, pain, and rage (as in Ange Magnetic’s 'Ophelia Song' [1989], an 'opera minimal' derived from Ophelia's songs)."
- Carol Thomas Neely, "'Documents in Madness': Reading Madness and Gender in Shakespeare's Tragedies and Early Modern Culture," Shakespeare Quarterly, Vol. 42, No. 3 (Autumn, 1991), pp. 315-338; see: p. 338.

AS SINGER:


"the rich, bewitched otherworldliness of Maxwell's singing voice" - Mark Gevisser, The Village Voice (N.Y.)

"The best thing here [on the Ophélie Song album] is the voice of Clara Gibson Maxwell" - Anton Bildern

AS DANCER:


"Ophelia...is given remarkable physical articulation by the dancer's fluid body." - Mark Gevisser, The Village Voice (N.Y.)

"You are in possession of one of the most expressive backs I've ever seen." - Robert Garland, Resident Choreographer, Dance Theater of Harlem

AS SCENOGRAPHER:

"A dance combined with refined light-play" - Dürener Nachrichten

"An extraordinary experience" - Dürener Zeitung

AS ARTIST:

"For me the Encuentro-Encuentro film is the culmination of an improvisatory trajectory, the advanced evolution of something I first witnessed when Clara was performer-in-residence at Taliesin West in 2000. Through her will and action many-layered senses and associations are drawn together, her choreography integrating structures of sound and motion with space and architecture. The work is in a dialogue with context, spatially, physically, procedurally, socially, directly - architects can learn from this on many levels." -- Matthew Skjonsberg

"Ophélie Song is Hamlet seen through Ophelia's opera glasses, a fragile requiem sung by a sacrificed adolescent whose song will be gathered by the waters of the river. Danced and sung to perfection, it reminded me of the very first and timid, so intimate shows of a beginning Maurice Béjart. What would he then have thought of it, he, the giant of Danse en Révolution, at the quasi-inaccessible summit of his glory, in the sumptuous jewel case of his Grand Palais, if he were to have come there, to the tiny Café de la Danse... Perhaps he would have felt that imperceptible trembling, that tender trouble, hardly touched, of seeing one's youth passing." - Christian Freyburger, Joyce (Paris)

"Her work--which she has performed in Germany, France, Italy and Britain as well as the United States--combines the visceral movement of modern dance with the sophistication of European stagecraft. It tends to be daring. It tends to be experimental--such as her set piece with Stern, a 16-year-old gelding from the stables of German artist Frank Wollny." --J. C. Lockwood, "A Philosophy of Dance," Merrimack Valley Sunday

"[Clara is] so well versed in the quality of what [she] believe[s] that I never thought about doing anything with [her] lesser than the way [Clara] wanted to do it." -- "A Conversation with Ornette Coleman,"Cadence (New York), November 1999

"Clara has the capacity to extract essential values for the dance." - Hanya Holm

"One of the qualities of [La Cartésienne] that I really appreciated was the quality of the silences, both in dance and music, and the authenticity of the performers, giving to the audience something of their soul. It is nice also to see such talented dancers exploring this vein of work, quite intimate and delicate, but really vital and promising." -- Patricia Kuypers, Artistic Director, Contredanse (Brussels)

"Working on Serious Joy and performing it in the concert was a wonderful experience for me. ...You really helped me to understand using upper body strength against the floor in a new way and release in the upper torso. Serious Joy is a wonderful dance and it works with [ Jeffrey Mumford's ] music in a very complex interesting way. You should be proud of it. I was honored to perform it." - Nancy Havlik, Dance Performance Group (Chevy Chase, Maryland)

"The house was full, and the audience was very enthusiastic. Her manner of working is very professional, and so is that of the people who surround her. I therefore highly recommend her work." - Sylvain Torikian, Director, Théâtre Dunois (Paris)

"Clara poses in fact the question of aesthetic and ethical transcendence. From the site of her body, she invokes a horizon of values, taking positions in favor of political liberties and the free disposition of one's body; she affirms the permanent need to put back into question every form of power and every sort of institution--including, of course, prevailing institutionalizations of the body." - Jean-Marie Brohm, Professor of Sociology, Paul Valéry University, Director of the Institute of Sociological and Anthropological Research, Montpellier, France

"I have known Ms Clara Gibson Maxwell for over 11 years now. I have followed continually her work, and watched all the performances she gave in the Paris area. We have had extended and frequent discussions relative to her conception of dance, of its relation to the whole of culture and of its possible role in the contemporary social and historical situation. During her performances, I have been impressed by the strength of her technique, the elegance of her movements and the richness and originality of the choreography. ...I have been equally impressed, during our discussions, by the solidity, relevance and incisive character of her thinking about contemporary dance. Being myself a philosopher..., I listened with attention to what she had to say and found myself in agreement with her most of the time. ....La Cartésienne was a brilliant and effective illustration of the manner she is working to weave together philosophical reflection and contemporary dance." - Cornelius Castoriadis (1922-1997), Director of Studies, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales

"I have known Clara Gibson Maxwell for years, and I have the highest esteem for her as a human being and as an artist. Endowed with a vast cultural background and a extreme sensitivity, she is fundamentally open to others and to the world. Each time we have had the occasion to speak, especially of her art, I have admired how in her philosophy and myth go hand in hand. She is, moreover, an excellent dancer and an exceptional choreographer. In seeing her move eurythmically...one often has the impression that she is not a dancer but the Dance itself. What more can be said?" - Pierre Lévêque, President Emeritus, University of Besançon

"I am now convinced, after watching it several times, that Clara's piece [Le Corps-éros] is the dance of the Sphinx--full of pride and confidence but also riddle, allure, and secrets of knowledge. It's her dance in the desert as well at the crossing of roads outside Thebes. It promises deep knowledge yet rejects intimacy; it invokes ritual yet it is full of unique character; it makes us take her seriously as a chthonic force rather than some kind of monster. Oracular yet fluid, distant yet tender, wise yet imposing, she invites us irresistibly to consider who we are without giving away any of her strength or age-old mystery. ...Overall, an enthralling piece which, I'm sure, would inspire any audience. Perhaps no other work of Clara's so far has this kind of analytical precision and absolute clarity of movement and meaning. (She didn't dance the Sphinx neither was she one--she sculpted her before our admiring, inquiring eyes.) An important achievement!" - Vassilis Lambropoulos, Cavafy Chair in Modern Greek, University of Michigan

"Please accept this small token, reminding you of my grandfather, who would have very much appreciated your work and artistry." - Kinga Nijinsky Gaspers

"For me, Clara Gibson Maxwell's danses seem to go beyond categories: music, narratives, stories, and memories take on bodily shape. She vaults over barriers with an uncommon courage. Her dances require the audience to listen for a quiet intimacy at the very moment when one expects it the least: in the midst of a spectacular racket." - Florence Lambert, choreographer, former dancer at the Groupe de Recherches chorégraphiques de l'Opéra de Paris

"To Clara, March 22, 1998, at la Tourette, where I discovered her so right, so pure choreography, body, and movement, in the so right, so pure space of Le Corbusier" - Ernest Pignon Ernest, artist

"For Clara, whose audacious et chaste performance left its mark on our felicitous encounter" - Marc Le Bot, writer

"What struck me as especially interesting [about The Banquet] was: (1) the early modern dance quality of the movement, which gave the whole thing an exciting, far-away, 'quaint' vibration; (2) the dancers as light sculptures, looking backwards to Loie Fuller and Nikolais, an idea to be further developed - also the correlation with the tantalizing light projections." - Mona Dithmer, Politiken (Copenhagen)

"I want to thank you for taking the time to visit my office to advise me of your recent endeavors. I know firsthand of the many contributions that your family has made to West Virginia... West Virginia stands only to gain from your unique and unusual career as an accomplished artist. From your life abroad, it is apparent that you have acquired an unparalleled reservoir of artistic creativity and business sense... As you continue to develop your work celebrating a theme that touches us all--the birth of democracy--I hope that you will keep me advised of your progress. I would be happy to express interest in any applications that you submit to government agencies to support this exciting project." - United States Senator Robert C. Byrd (WV)

"The Paris City Council was very honored by the quality of the choreographic performance you gave in the salons of City Hall on Wednesday, February 4, 2004. This event, which brought together choreography, light sculpture, and the use of an innovative fabric, particularly well highlighted the close connection between art and new technologies that my office tries, among other things, to promote. I heartily thank you." -Danièle Auffray, Paris Deputy Mayor in Charge of New Technologies and Research

"J'ai aimé la forme de ta présentation dans le stage de [2007 de Simone] Forti, ta présence et tu l'as dit: l'intention, on suit  ton déplacement, tu donne l'impulsion/ et le son de ta voix, est une constante dans le récit c'est comme un signe, un appui frais et solide à la fois! très drôle aussi les trouvailles, le propôs, oui, l'intelligence va de pair avec l'humour n'est-ce pas?" - Lidia Martinez, choreographer/dancer/writer