the other side of the curtain

It’s the holiday season, lights are a-twinkling, and snows are a-flurrying daily up in the Berkshire mountains. Waking up each morning to a light dusting of white filling in an otherwise bare-boned forest. The lushness of the landscape has fallen away, revealing details I’ve never had the chance to see before, views of the valleys that have now become crystal clear. There’s an exploration within this newfound clarity, an exciting shift in perspective that allows for ideas to align. Seeing what I’ve always seen before with a new lens. A new perspective on a familiar place.

 

Twenty Two

My brother’s lacrosse jersey number back in the day. Taylor Swift’s feeling it. Not quite the same excitement as a 21st birthday but also not that “nobody likes you when you’re 23” 23rd birthday. It came. It went. It reminded me of the importance of community. It made me think of birthdays past. It made me feel grateful, humbled, contemplative, old.

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Heidi Latsky’s ON DISPLAY at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts

Using both able bodied and disabled bodies, Heidi’s company created a gallery environment in the lobby of the Skirball Center. A place where meandering was encouraged, the performance challenged the idea of staring, of looking – especially at individuals with physical ailments. I was intrigued by the sheer amount of participants. All in white, the performers shifted slightly every couple of minutes, creating 90 minutes worth of subtle movement reverberating through the corridors, accentuating the already stirred rooms of viewers, students, professors. Honest-to-God felt like I walked off the streets of Manhattan and into a sophisticated gallery amongst sophisticated New York City arTEEsts in sophisticated eclectic outfits. Here I was with my Vans, a dirty backpack, and a sweaty upper lip from riding the crowded downtown 4 train… happy as a dang clam mingling quietly amongst these sophisticated well-dressed strangers. Yup. It was an experience.

The Median Movement’s For North at the Center for Performance Research

Seeing old friends, meeting new ones. Inspired by the use of space, the blending of lines between viewer and performer, the starkness of the visual experience combined with the soul-filling movement quality. It wasn’t until the end that I noticed the black and white space was accented with a bright yellow painted cube, expertly crafted to take on different functions throughout the course of the performance. What I love about the choreographing duo is their willingness to dive deep into research, to think holistically about what’s presented to the audience, and equally what isn’t. I simultaneously felt completely enthralled and yet removed, as if the couple didn’t want to put a period on the sentence that was carefully constructed. I’m OK with that. Coming away with a small taste and questions is better than coming away with a full bite and nothing to talk about, you know?

The Virginia Repertory Dance Company at James Madison University

The other side of the curtain. The same place, replaced with new people, slight shifts in scenery. My experience as a member of the company was a precise recipe of environment, peers, age, time. A realization that while I was shaped largely by the place, the place no longer belongs to me anymore. It belongs to them now… it’s their own creation, their own recipe.

I’m on other side of the curtain. A growing moment. A point of reflection. A new perspective on a familiar place.

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