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Past, Present & Future

[whitespace] By Jill Wright

'I've known people who are obsessed with a particular time frame and I recognize the potential for that fixation within myself or anyone," says Duncan Macfarland, Theatre Artaud's veteran choreographer. Macfarland embarks this spring on the North American debut of Past, Present & Future with his London-based Blue Delta Dance Company. The 1998 tour will also perform in Korea, Copenhagen and Brussels.

"This production is different than others in that it's a repertory evening rather than an evening-length work," Macfarland explains. "It is a forthright presentation of movement-based dance which doesn't have an overt socio-political agenda."

As part of the work presented in this tour, Macfarland explores the concept of how people position themselves regarding the past, present and future in the piece "The Questo Series." He textures the dance with early Middle Ages music by Gesualdo, Desprez and Tallis.

"It is a musical period which has always interested me, especially as the concepts that were being explored then are not really so very different than many of those being explored in the evolution of modern/contemporary music."

For Macfarland, a San Francisco native, splitting his time between London and San Francisco doesn't seem to pose much of a problem.

"There's nothing like either of them ... culture, diversity, beauty, cosmopolitan atmosphere and access to other markets. ... What more could a city dweller want?"

The program also includes "Memento Mori," a piece accompanied by lute and viola de gamba works by William Byrd, and "With Tails Within" with traditional 13th-century Italian dance music by The Dufay Collective.

"I feel that an antique feel to the music may assist the viewer to view the work in a specific context," explains Macfarland, "as one views the context of an artwork in a particular venue which has its own identifiable history."


At Theater Artaud, 450 Florida St.; March 25-28, 8pm; March 29, 7pm; $10.50-$18.50; 415/621-7797.

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From the March 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

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