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Raw Stuff (1985)

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Choreography: Dawn Kramer
Performers: Dance Collective (Ann Brown Allen, Susan Brown-Verre, Judith Chaffee
Dawn Kramer, Carlo Rizzo, Michael Shannon, Micki Taylor-Pinney) and extras
Music: Steel drum by Fast Forward
Costumes: Carol Anthony
Commissioned by New Works grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council

Having been known as an ironic commentator on quotidian life, I wanted to experiment with a pure movement piece. Falling, rolling, brittle, shaking, liquid, and off-balance movements were the only materials of the choreography. Fast Forward’s intense steel drum score propelled the dancers’ raw energy.


Raw Stuff is a departure from much of Kramer’s previous work... The focus is on the extremes of movement - the weight of the body as it drops to the ground and the movement of muscles which are shaken off the bone. As the piece begins, we hear but cannot see the sound of falling bodies. When the lights come up, six brightly colored dancers roll downstage in a soft, flowing motion. But as the percussive score grows the movement dynamic changes abruptly. Sharp, staccato movement match the insistent score to create a disturbing energy. Kramer was particularly skilled at this fractured movement; she seemed to feel the movement at a deeper level than her fellow dancers. It was an impressive performance.

-Andrew Dreyfus, The Tab, April 1, 1986

Shaking and vibrating, and oozing like strands of taffy, complete the raw stuff of Kramer’s dance. Kramer lets these energies - rolling, falling, twitching, vibrating, oozing, keeling over - determine their own forms. It’s as if she’d ask each energy to find the body shapes, groupings and pathways through space that least adulterate its essence.”

-Lisa Hillyer, The Boston Phoenix, March, 1986