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  •  REVIEW: SARAH SKAGGS: ROVING 911 MEMORIAL

    Battery Park in Sarah Skaggs: Roving 911 Memorial
    Photo by Mary Gearhart
    Battery Park

    10 Years Later,
    Simple and Slow


    Sarah Skaggs' Roving Memorial to 9/11/01
    Visits Three New York City Parks

    By NIKKI HOLCK and QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com

    Visions in white t-shirts, steady-gazing women are pulled by an invisible force. With composure and focus, they slowly inhabit the empty space that is the northern tip of Union Square Park. This scene begins as a whisper; staring straight ahead with purpose and intent — as most New Yorkers do — it is easy to miss the sea of white unfolding and growing as the women gather.

      
    SARAH SKAGGS: ROVING 911 MEMORIAL
    Choreography by: Sarah Skaggs.
     SCHEDULE
    September 11, 2011
    Union Square Park
    Washington Square Park
    Battery Park

    The music hums, and like the dancers, the sound slowly envelops the space. The women are a fresh breath of air. They begin a simple dance of sweeping arms and upward-lifting motions to the sky, sharply contrasted by an unforgettable moment of trembling knees. The movements seem almost ritualistic- a beautiful meditation while wind sweeps through the space, hair swooshing around the women's faces. Toward the end of the piece the women are left flat, backs on the ground. One by one, each with her own timing and inner focus, the women vacate the space. Yet the scent of the dance and the beauty of their united ideas lingers.

    This seemingly simple dance is effective because of the performer's intentions and Sarah Skaggs' vision for this roving memorial; the beauty in simplicity is easily destroyed if the performers aren't fully committed to the movement, but these women are present and focused, creating a scene of reverence for New York to honor the memory of September Eleventh.

    Union Square Park in Sarah Skaggs: Roving 911 Memorial
    Photo by Nikki Holck
    Union Square Park

    Time slows down as we remember and honor the victims of the devastating attacks of a decade ago. Yet the magic of this piece quickly becomes a fleeting memory as the performers vacate the space. New York life resumes; a sweaty runner crosses the performance space, followed by a trio of bikers dancing to the soundtrack of the city. As if someone pressed play again, the pause of shared remembrance is over, and the quick pace of the city resumes. The dancers, however, continue on their journey to Washington Square Park — the site of their next scene — in the same leisurely pace they entered Union Square. Their slow walk is precious, causing passersby to pause and stare in bewilderment at the wave of women in white.

    Washington Square Park in Sarah Skaggs: Roving 911 Memorial
    Photo by Quinn Batson
    Washington Square Park

    Their pace is a simple thought on observance and awareness; let us hold the lessons of September Eleventh with us as we continue on life's journey, never forgetting the importance of breath and of slowing down to see the beauty that is the world we share. (nh)

    . . .

    In the Washington Square performance, there is a strong feeling of life continuing all around while the dance unfolds. A wasted barefoot vagabond staggers out of the main circle to sleep next to the arch. People sit both facing and away from the performance, their watching or ignoring unrelated to their position. In the truth of childhood, though, a little girl mimics everything she sees the performers do, and her timeless and innocent urge hits deep; while the adults may be remembering sadness and loss, she is inhabiting the present and representing the future. (qb)

    SEPTEMBER 14, 2011
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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