The funny thing about this blog is I refrain from writing in it when I feel like I don’t have enough substance to compile a post. Finally today, the question I’m asking myself is… why? Why is there this urgency to share only the most picturesque, the most “meaningful” moments, rather than what falls in between? So here it is. Here are the highlights, but the rest too.
Fall Faculty Concert at Smith College
After a day of feeling severely disconnected from myself as an artist, a dancer, a mover, I went to a college dance showcase, therefore making me exponentially more nostalgic. The five works presented by dancers and professors in the five college consortium were distinct, unique, and passionately delivered. The second work featured an all-female cast, and all-female drumming ensemble that brought down the house. I felt honored to witness it.
Burned into my memory are the moments of standing downstage center, surrounded by fellow cast mates after the work you’ve just shared with the audience is complete. Satisfaction blended with the reciprocation of love from an enthusiastic audience. Those moments of clarity when you realize what you’ve done resonates with those around you, when everything comes together during that applause. Chills. It’s magical. My empathetic self remembers that feeling fondly… I can’t help but put myself in the shoes of those dancers onstage.
To round out the evening, a work by Bill T. Jones was commissioned. Story/Time is one of Bill’s classic works, though the way it was set on the 12 or so dancers, felt like it was being performed for the very first time. It was personal. It integrated the stories of each person onstage. A blinking digital clock hanging on the upstage-most panel makes you acutely aware of time. Its urgency and its passing are mimicked in the monologues being spoken. Each new minute marks the start of a new story, a different narrative. One minute is spent in complete silence and stillness, the clock still counting time, the story becoming the rhythm of the numbers changing, the deep breathing of each frozen body in silhouette. Final lines of the final minute-long monologue challenged the idea of beginning and end. Perhaps “new beginnings” are really just part of a long, drawn out transition, a perpetual flow, rather than a start and stop. Lines are blurred, edges smudged.
Nederlands Dans Theater at New York City Center
Crystal Pite, Paul Lightfoot, Sol Leon, Marco Goecke. My mind is perpetually blown by this evening of brilliant performance. Rather than try and sum up each of the four pieces, I’ll leave you with this… NDT is quite possibly the world’s top contemporary dance company. The choreography, the dancers, and the program all came together to create a 3 hour evening of intense, jaw dropping, giggle-inducing, tear-jerking, edge of your seat artistic genius. Straight up. Movement unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Artistry at a caliber I could only dream of. Please watch the this video and get a taste of what I’m talking about. You also need to know about the beauty and political relevance that is Crystal Pite’s The Statement. That is all.
Here We Stand
I think for the past few weeks my otherwise glass-half-full thoughts have been clouded by the scary realities at the forefront of our nation. What’s going to happen next? There are so many things that could be said… and yet they aren’t necessary here. They’ve been talked about already, harped on even. No, here is not the place you’ll read about those things.
Great things are done by a series of small things brought together. – Van Gogh
There is no happiness if the things we believe in are different than the things we do. – Camus
Now, more than ever, we need people to make sense of what’s happening around us. We need community to lean on in these moments.
We need the arts.
We need dance.
We need each other.