| ||Photo by Quinn Batson|
| ||Breanna Gribble holds Jin Ju Song-Begin by the hair|
Da-On Dance travels through hell in Thirst
By QUINN BATSON
It's hard to know what to make of Thirst, Da-On Dance's take on hell and the themes of Dante's Inferno. The beginning and end of Thirst have grip and impact. The middle is a mxture of meandering and panic, with hardworking dancers crashing to the floor and springing back off of it. There is darkness, urgency, and a penal-colony-for-women feel. Perhaps choreographer and protagonist Jin Ju Song-Begin comes through unscathed and stronger from the experience.
Figures enter in darkness and silence, forming a line across the stage. A single cellist plays sparse fragments, which reverberate as if from a very long tunnel until they are layered and loud, coming at as like a freight train. Meanwhile, each figure flicks on a flashlight, scanning the area and especially the ceiling, exploring the tunnel or looking for a way out. Interestingly, the group freezes from time to time, often with several beams pointed at the audience, as if discovering us or implicating us.
At some point, the thunder stops and the light comes up, temporarily. The sporadic nature of silence and light throughout Thirst is unsettling and uncomfortable, appropriately, and garbled bits of spech enhance this effect, in Jerome Begin's soundscape. There is something unsettling and creepy, too, about the way men seem to be guards or caretakers for women, who seem frustrated and hungry for normal interaction and intimacy. A scene of empowerment, with women "flying" on the shoulders of men, is offset by others where men stand stoicly over women arching on their backs, possibly seductively. Or, more to the shaming side, women are paraded around by their hair, which is gripped in the fist of another.
|DA-ON DANCE: THIRST|
|Choreography by: Jin Ju Song-Begin.|
Dancers: Esmé Boyce, Giulia Carotenuto, David Gonsier, Breanna Gribble, Karen Harvey, KyounJoon Lee, Elliott Reiland, Jin Ju Song-Begin.
Music by: Jerome Begin performed with cellist Loren Dempster.
Lighting design by: Brian Jones.
|St. Mark's Church|
September 24-26, 2013
Possibly the most intriguing section of Thirst comes very near the end, as all the dancers do a position-shifting shuffle at high speed, like a volleyball team rotating positions in an ongoing state of emergency. It makes no sense, but it hits viscerally and sets up Jin Ju Song-Begin's dramatic final walk forward, shedding her dress and perhaps her shame as her giant shadow towers on the back wall.
|OCTOBER 3, 2013|
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