ODC/Dance Downtown Program Notes | By Marie Tollon

Even boulders and rocks seem to speak their own uncanny languages of gesture and shadow, inviting the body and its bones into silent communication. -David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous

ODC/Dance. Photo by RJ Muna

ODC/Dance. Photo by RJ Muna

Whether it portrays the intimacy of two lovers, the interaction between an artist and her medium, or the resilience of an individual in dire circumstances, ODC/Dance highlights the intricacies of human relationships. Their physical language tracks the robust and yet vulnerable landscape of the emotions.

Mirroring the physicality of the land and the hidden architecture of the body, boulders and bones calls to the elaborate interdependency between humans and their environment. Inspired by the ephemerality inherent in much of artist Andy Goldsworthy’s work, we are led through the transformative and alchemical stages of the artistic process, from the crude weight of matter to the ineffable lightness of being.  When a single dancer walks perpendicularly into her fellow performers, evenly arranged in a straight line across the stage, the malleability of space becomes visceral. Her torso arched, she advances and compresses the row of bodies in front of her, exposing the very nature of the choreographic act.

The attention to the subtleties in relationships is present within each of the season’s pieces, but also in the way this season’s four dances relate to each other. Consider the white line of chalk carefully drawn by one of the dancers in Triangulating Euclid: first well defined, then gradually blurred, it recalls the white powder exploding from the dancers’ costumes throughout boulders and bones. It also evokes the transformation of Andy Goldsworthy’s works in nature, challenged by the passage of time.

Similarly, as the pulses of light, at the beginning of Two If By Sea, reproduce the call for a receiver in Morse code, they echo Laurie Anderson’s disembodied question “Is anybody home?” in Unintended Consequences. Invoking the necessity for performers to listen and respond to each other, this signal also triggers the viewers’ own attentiveness to the work. Throughout the evening, we are urged to pay attention to the artists’ own ‘languages of gesture and shadow’.

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