Hapless Spiegelman Still Moving


Dance Theater
‘s main event this past week at the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College was a new work called “Hapless Hooligan in ‘Still
Moving,’ ” It was created by Art (“I know nothing about dance”) Spiegelman and choreographer Michael Tracy, one of
Pilobolus’s artistic directors, in collaboration with the
company’s dancers. Spiegelman talks about the process of making tableau vivant from comics here.
“Neither at Pilobolus nor anywhere else have
I seen this kind of dizzying overlap of cartoon, film, silhouette
theater, and live dance,” wrote Alastair Macaulay on June 28 in The New York Times.” And yet it also picks up on, and refreshes,
aspects of Pilobolus that have been there since the beginning: the dream
logic, the clowning, the sense of physical liberation that’s only at
times highly sexual, and the defiance of categorization.”
Hapless (or Hap) is based on Fred Opper’s Happy Hooligan, but also Charlie Chaplin‘s little tramp. He’s a “Little Fellow” who is in love,
but whose girl is also pursued by a man who’s twice his size and a bully. “Mr. Spiegelman could have told it entirely in cartoon terms,” adds Macaulay. “That,
however, would have been a smaller and simpler piece.” The story is told as a comic enacted by
the dancers as silhouettes. The silhouettes and cartoons appear in
the same frame and interact.

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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.