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Review: Solange Turns the Guggenheim Into a Sanctuary for Dance

When the choreographer Trisha Brown died in March, Solange Knowles posted a tribute on Twitter: “Rest in movement, Trisha Brown. Seeing ‘In Plain Sight’ gave me so much confidence in the power of peace through dance.”

Below was a video of the Trisha Brown Dance Company in Donald Judd’s light-filled SoHo studio, performing one of Ms. Brown’s spare early works, “Figure 8,” as part of the company’s site-specific initiative “In Plain Site.” Four dancers in white stood in a line, their arms raised like goal posts, tapping the tops of their heads with one hand, then another — back and forth, unrushed — to the sound of a ticking metronome.

That measured energy and minimalist movement often came to mind on Thursday at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, where Solange turned Frank Lloyd Wright’s building into her sanctuary for “An Ode To,” a sublime reimagining — with her own choreography and reconstructed musical arrangements — of her 2016 album, “A Seat at the Table,” presented with the Red Bull Music Academy.

The project was something of an experiment for Solange, who returned after a grand finale to say a few words of gratitude for having “the space to grow and evolve and explore new mediums.” She also spoke about “being a black woman of color, and not just settling for being allowed in these spaces but wanting to tear the walls down,” adding an expletive before “walls.”

Photo

Solange in a moment from “An Ode To.”

Credit
Krisanne Johnson/Red Bull Content Pool

“We built this,” she said, adding a different expletive after “this.”

The opening sequence said “step aside,” literally, as a single-file line of dancers, with Solange at its center, walked matter-of-factly down the building’s spiraling tiers to the opening notes of “Scales.” Audience members on those upper levels, peering down into the rotunda…

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