“ There is something eternal in Rose's creations. Imagine Jung crossed with Jean Cocteau. “
- Joanna Ney, Curator, Walter Reade Theater/Lincoln Center
“Whoever enters into her art, she leads into an illusionary world of colors and shapes, of movement and sounds beyond space and time. Where does the illusion end, where does the reality begin? That is sometimes hard for the spectator to separate - and exactly in that lies the mysterious and thrilling attraction of the pieces... At the end of such an evening the audience wakes up as if from an enchantment.”
- Tanz Aktuell, Germany
Some Observations on Non-Objective and Non-Linear Animation
by William Moritz, 1988
One of the most exciting and elaborate forms of reflexive gesture is live performance with animated film. Kathy Rose, after a dozen years making widely-acclaimed non-linear films such as Doodlers (1975) and Pencil Booklings (1978), animated a 30-minute film, Primitive Movers (1983), specially designed to participate in the choreography of a live dancer, performed by Rose herself. Unlike many experiments in multimedia performance art, Rose's film-dance can boast a genuine parallel validity, being distinguished and imaginative both as animated film and as modern dance. The stylized animated dancers of Primitive Movers perform like a choreographer's dream fulfilled: they are inexhaustible and unerringly precise, they can multiply themselves in perfect alignments, they can instantly change the color of their hair and costume, and they can perform impossible twists and gestures, logical extensions of the ballet's expressive pantomime, such as swiveling the head completely around, leaving traces behind as they execute a turn, or sending a hand flying off in the direction the fingers were pointing to — a homage to the cartoon gags of the Fleischers' Betty Boop's Museum (1932), as well as Lisze Bechtold's Danseuse (1973). Rose's interplay with the animated figures (which includes elaborate games of balance, since the drawn people can tilt against the laws of gravity) gains extra complexity from the action of her silhouette, which always dances on a different scale, and occasionally even casts the semblance of a Javanese shadow puppet or the traditional hand-games of modeling a rabbit or bird silhouette. The agility and poise of Rose's dancing — and her own real-life inexhaustibility — reaches a stunning apotheosis in the final movement, during which elements of color and design of costume and movement become abstracted into giant non-objective patterns which flood across the screen in rhythmic cycles of falling, filling and emptying, accompanied by a musical collage of insistent mechanical noises (including bursts of gunfire) and antithetical surges of water. The triumphant implosions and explosions of Rose's body are hard to describe: they must be experienced.
A later, equally sensational film-dance, Syncopations (1987), uses live-action footage behind Rose's dancing, but the sensibility of Rose as the non-linear animator is everywhere evident — in the dynamic editing that interrupts and repeats gestures, in the radical camera angles, close-up and overhead, which defy space, and the time-lapse, slow-motion and reverse footage that defies our sense of time, even in such delicate touches as the dark black, calligraphic outlines along the arches of the dancers' feet. In the final apocalyptic moments of Syncopations, with a sudden breathtaking beauty and serenity amidst enormous energy, in a gracious fulfillment of all the strivings of Loie Fuller and Isadora Duncan and Doris Humphrey, enormous hands arise from the bottom of the screen with fingers moving as if to form the lotus mudra. Rose enters the center of the hands and tosses her scarf upwards, and the scarf appears sensuously rippling in slow motion on the screen, rising upwards and upwards, defying gravity as it disappears and refuses to fall back to earth. This mixture of contrary scale and perspective, of keen illusions and overt reflexive alienation-effects, again reflects the synthetic reality practiced by non-linear animators admirably extended into an elaborate performance.
A Stunning Performer
“Kathy Rose has realized every choreographer’s dream...As a trained dancer and an award-winning animator, she is the answer to the decades-long gap between choreogaphers, who generally understand precious little about film techniques, and filmmakers. Rose sees and knows both sides.”
-BOSTON GLOBE December 1983
"The images run like india ink on celluloid, the projected levels of which melt into sheer four-dimensionality. Kleopat'Ra's eyes are painted on like hieroglyphs. Elegantly proportioned and indeed enigmatic. In mysterious images, which are sometimes colorful, sometimes black-and-white, the beautiful ancient Egyptian goddess travels through her bewildering world."
Badische Neueste Nachrichten , Karlsruhe, Germany
“As a pioneer of the “new dance generation” she stunningly explores the harmonious interplay of body movement, film and sound. The results are phantasmagoric images somewhere between fact and dream, reality and illusion.”
-TAGES ANZEIGER, Zurich - 1987
“Fantastique Kathy Rose! Here at last is an artist who innovates!...
With geometrical precision she inserts herself into a stupifying fantasmagorie. “
-TRIBUNE DE GENEVE, Festival de la Batie 1984
“Animation, dance and sound effects add up to a flabbergasting illusion. An intensely eye-boggling experience which made the audience dazed and addicted...This show is an oasis in the highly boring desert of post-modern dance.”
- ABENDZEITUNG, Munich 1986
“A Kathy Rose is a Kathy Rose is a...
...a Red Grooms Nefertiti; a Loie Fuller flame; a Metropolis being in transference; a Brancusi melt-down; an metamorphic arthropodInvader from Mars/Them!; an Oriental swatch of Bakst; a perfumed puff of St. Denis smoke; an art deco Dovima; Mary Wigman and Margaret Hamilton in hell; a mini-DeMille extravaganza directed by Max Fleischer; a..
“I’m a visual artist,” states Kathy Rose, simply.
And simply put, she is a performance artist who combines dance and film animation...
“In a recent New York performance of her Kabuki-Menco Visual Theatre, Rose smashed barriers between drawn and real movements, while mixing and matching - with the gleeful abandon of a sorceress stirring a pot - dances from Japan, Spain, and Bali with German expressionism, Denishawn exoticism, science fiction and cartoons. “Visual astonishments,” marveled the New York Times about Rose’s flesh-and-blood-and film fusion celebrating metamorphosis and magical transformations.
Rose fearlessly integrates different artistic disciplines in innovative and visually rich spectacles. In seeking “to make a live thing far more visual and a visual thing far more alive,” she reveals unexpected beauty in the cross-over of two dimensional sources, such as graphic design, film animation, and fashion, with the three-dimensional realm of live performance. “
from a 7 page article on Kathy Rose in PRINT Magazine - by John Canemaker 1994
Enwrapped in a Silken Film
“Like a sculptured white blossom she stands there, as suddenly the most colorful fabrics pour over, patterning her bolding and dressing her wonderfully in the manner of a diva...
Whether Rose appears as a projection surface for her animated colors - with their plays of patterns on stage; whether she dances with the figures in her film, dissolving the boundaries between the virtual body and the real body; or whether the undulating film images of silk flow over her gold enrwrapped form blending everything into a sea of waves and colors, Kathy Rose is a master of esthetic effects."
Neue Zurcher Zeitung - Zurich
“Kathy Rose is the most important choreographer/film animator working today integrating projected images and live stage action“
Donald McDonaugh, author, Martha Graham, Managing editor – Ballet Review
San Francisco Butoh Festival
“I wish I could see an entire work, but I am not willing to give up the amazing range of imagination presented in these four very different sections“
Flash Review 8-15 Butoh’s Last Song By Aimee Ts’ao
Rose’s Dance/Film Astonishes Audience
“It is impossible to ‚get ready’ for Kathy Rose. She is just too disarming.
After the glow of the projection screen dulled and the lights went up in McAllister Auditorium Saturday night, it was clear that her impact had far from gelled in the collective mind of the audience......No wonder she is so provocative, so extraordinary, and, even more importantly in the world of the avant-garde
, so unforgettable.“
Sunday Express-News, San Antonio