The title of Lucy Guerin’s dance work coming to the Walker this weekend may cast it in a remote and somber light: Structure and Sadness. And while the piece is about “sadness” and “structure” in certain ways, it lithely illuminates history in ways akin to the power of Ralph Lemon’s Come Home Charlie Patton or even Steve Reich’s Different Trains.
The background is simple: in 1970, the West Gate Bridge in Melbourne collapsed while it was being built, killing thirty-five construction workers. Clipping along to a striking soundscape, the choreography recalls the imagery of Charles C. Ebbets’ Lunchtime Atop a Skyscraper. Incidentally, many of the construction workers killed in the West Gate Bridge collapse were on lunch break under the span that fell.
At just under an hour, this is a concise work but not slight. Rather, for Minnesotans living with the residue of our own 2007 bridge collapse, its therapeutic capacity is hard to deny. And in its concerns with the structural aspects of manipulation, the physics of exertion and power on human bodies, Structure and Sadness feels timely too, a dance work for the 99% situating their resistance on an entirely different bridge.