Gus Solomons, Jr., born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, began his serious dance training in modern dance and ballet while an undergraduate architecture student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) He was a member of a local dance company called Dance Makers, and it was there where he began his experimental solo choreography. A year after graduating from MIT with a Bachelor of Architecture degree, Solomons moved to New York City with a "burning itch to perform and make dances" In 1962, he worked alongside other dance experimentalists at a studio in New York City. According to Solomons, quoted in Banes, they wanted to "find new forms, ways of making dances that were different from those of our mentors" Although he was interested in deconstructing forms and structures, he was also passionate about technical dancing. He performed with the companies of Pearl Lang, Donald McKayle, Joyce Trisler, Paul Sanasardo, and Martha Graham, although his most significant association during this period was with the Merce Cunningham company from 1964 to 1968
In 1971, Solomons founded the Gus Solomons Company/Dance, whose repertoire consisted of detailed and analytical compositions that were conceived as "melted architecture", drawing from his experience as an architecture student at MIT He undertook a clinical, postmodern approach to dance making that linked a fascination with puzzles and architectural design to the process of "kinetic autobiography" During an interview with Open Door, the MIT newspaper, Solomons compared movement design to building design in principle, with the exception that dance was not fixed in time Solomons' choreographies, of which there are more than 165, were created to suit the dancers, not vice versa, because he was concerned with how the dancers felt while executing the movement From the outset, Solomons saw the potential of integrating dance and video. According to Solomons, one of his most exciting projects was the dual-screen video-dance CITY/MOTION/SPACE/GAME produced in 1968 by Rick Hauser at WGBH-TV in Boston. This double-channel work was a collaborative work of Solomons, writer Mary Feldhaus-Weber, and composer John Morris. CITY/MOTION/SPACE/GAME, in its half-hour duration, was an "investigation of the unique properties of the video medium that are unlike live performance: reduced scale, flattening of spatial dimensions, and accelerated visual space"
Now, forty years later, Solomons continues to make a living from dancing, choreographing, experimenting, and critiquing dance. Since 1980, he has devoted some of his time to dance criticism, and his reviews have appeared in The Village Voice, Ballet News, Attitude, Dance Magazine, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, among others. A few of his articles include:
Reflections on the mirror: six teachers on when you should--and shouldn't--look.(BODY TALK: dancers on healthy bodies, healthy minds)(Donna Silva, Stephanie Saland, William Whitener, Gus Solomons Jr., Augusta Moore, Janet Panetta)
Jul 01, 2007; You enter the studio, drop your bag, and find your place at the barre. As you switch sides during your initial stretch, you catch...