|Photo by David Meanix|
From Clay to Dust
Ephemerui take clay to the rooftop
By ARIANA SIEGEL
After taking the L train to Morgan, walking ten minutes through a residential neighborhood and hiking up five flights of stairs, I arrive in a performance space on a rooftop in Brooklyn. There are no programs here, no lighting designers, and no admission costs. There are barely any seats, save for a handful of chairs and a couple of cushions. On each corner of the stage, there are four dancers painted with clay, their heads pressed against the ground, their bodies locked into afflictive stillness. It's Sunday and it's 7pm. The sky, which is a clear, light blue is the backdrop; the sound of the wind is the score. What's more, the audience has filled up the entire rooftop. This is not a pretty dance in a pretty theater this is art in the world, and there is a swarm of interest.
An airplane rumbles in the sky or perhaps it's a recorded sound, it's hard to tell and with small, just-waking twitching movements, the dancers release their hold. Eyes closed and expressions neutral, they awkwardly sit and reach. Struggling through blindness, constraint, and a sheet of dry clay, the performers search for a comfortable place in the physical world and perhaps a comfortable place within themselves.
|EPHEMERUI: AS LONG AS WE ENDURE|
|Choreography by: Benn Rasmussen.|
Dancers: Faye Lim, Meg Madorin, Benn Rasmussen, Edward Rice.
Sound design by: Ryan Manchester.
Costumes by: Laura Sjogren.
June 4-6, 2010
Throughout the piece, the dancers search for comfort. In one section, with opened eyes, they wander around the stage, trying on different places, partners, and purposes. Later, in a beautiful fit of reaching, Faye Lim runs and soars, the clay trailing behind her like dust. She is a blend of spiky precision and graceful abandon. The support of conscious partners allows her to melt into and out of the ground, but it is Lim who undeniably steals the show: she is captivating and luminous. She is as smooth and powerful as water. And she is an excellent reminder that there is nothing like watching a smart dancer make choices. After she is thoroughly exhausted, after she has been restrained, comforted and released, she looks up to the sky and so do I.
As the sun sets, each dancer lay on his or her back, looking upward. They are perfectly still and the tension between the ground and the sky comes into focus. If they are lying on the ground but suspended on the top of a building, where, exactly, does the sky begin? Is it in some distance just beyond reach, or does it begin in the space between their eyes and what is above it?
There is plenty of time to consider questions like this, as the audience is asked to wait for quite some time and watch the dancers do nothing. And then something magical happens many people in the audience get up and leave, unapologetically. A free show enables people to act on this option: to leave when they are ready, rather than when the piece is done. The roles of the audience and the performers are inverted. The dancers are still and the audience makes the choice to move they move down, out, and away, searching for something more comfortable.
|JUNE 18, 2010|
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