Travelers – 1992
The Travelers provides a gloss on the dance, music, and culture of the Roma people (called Gypsies by others). Created in 1996 as a function of Battery’s Arts-in-Education program, The Travelers was subsequently restaged for the professional company and has been presented in the U.S., Poland, India and Sri Lanka.
Its music was composed by Alex Tobias for a gypsy-like ensemble of three musicians who appear on stage with the dancers: Tobias on harmonica, violin and tin whistle, with guitarist John LaBarbera and percussionist Yousuf Sheronik.
Richly detailed costumes created by Sandhya Raman, and evocative lighting design by Pat Dignan.
“… universal appeal. The relatively small orchestra … gave forth a full sound as the entire ensemble etched pictures that were now rustic, now sophisticated, in delineating the communal journey of nomads.”
“… entirely contemporary, even trendy, as its rhythmic patterns drew attention to the formal aspects of authentic folk traditions. This kind of “fakelore”, in which traditional elements blend with original material, and in which the choreographer’s imagination reshapes ritual as art, is an important aspect of postmodern discourse….A nostalgic air permeated the dance. a sad ending, implying not only the displacement of a community (such as occurs during a war), but also perhaps the end of childhood, and the way in which folk cultures are vanishing around the globe … richly evocative while using very simple movement.”