What was the starting point for My Dinner with
I wanted to do something about the torture playlist—
the music that the CIA uses to torture people—and
then decided that I didn’t at all. It was far too distressing. So I ripped everything about that piece out of my
notebook, crumpled it up and threw it on the floor,
and looking at these scattered notes became the
basis of this new piece. The piece is now very much
about a process, about trying to make a piece.
Why torture music?
I was interested in how these torture strategies are
mirrored in choreographic construction, mostly in
terms of minimalism—how they share ideas such as
repetition, using a very simple vocabulary, creating
something that seems endless, being unable to tell
whether you’re alone or part of a larger system.
You’re working with a very eclectic cast.
There are four main performers, and we’re a
strange group. One is Matthew Mohr, who danced
with Merce Cunningham in the ’90s. Then there’s
Anya Liftig, who is a performance artist, more from
the visual art and body art tradition. And then I
hired Alison Ingelstrom, who I found on You Tube.
There’s some pop music in the piece, and I really
wanted someone who could do music-video–style
dancing, like heels dancing, à la Beyoncé.
The piece involves a conversation between
you and Liftig, based on My Dinner with
André. What drew you to that film?
Some of the reasons are ridiculous, like we have
a similar name. But also, I like that the movie
doesn’t arrive anywhere. There’s not really a
narrative or traditional resolution. It ends on a
question, with an odd last line that you have to
turn over in your head.
You’ve mentioned that you feel conflicted
about being a performer. What is that conflict
I’m sure it has to do with control. When you’re
writing, you’re controlling all of it. But because
performing exists at a specific point in time, and
it’s executed live, it’s very much out of your control. Yet that’s one of the exhilarating things about
it—being at the mercy of the moment and the
decisions you make.
How did taking time off change your work?
I’m more interested now in working with the
limitations of a project, rather than fighting them.
When I was younger, I would have a vision and
just throw my credit card down and be like, “Let’s
make it happen!” and then spend the next two
years paying off debt. I’m not interested in doing
that anymore. n
news | 10 MINUTES WITH...
After taking a decade off from making dances,
New York City–based choreographer/performer
Andrea Kleine, 46, made a quiet comeback a
couple of years ago. Her 2014 Screening Room…,
wittily reenacted a 1977 television interview with
the postmodern dance pioneer Yvonne Rainer,
exploring themes of departure, disappearance and
the circuitous routes life can take.
Like Rainer, who took a hiatus from choreographing to focus on filmmaking, Kleine spent
her time away from dance immersed in another
medium: writing. (Her first novel, Calf, was published in 2015.) Kleine’s dances combine text and
movement that she both creates and knowingly
appropriates. In her latest, My Dinner with Andrea:
the piece formerly known as Torture Playlist, her
inspirations range from the film My Dinner with
André to the minimalist choreography of Lucinda
Childs. The new work runs February 9–11 at New
York Live Arts.
Her latest work stems from
the CIA’s torture playlist.
BY SIOBHAN BURKE