I need hardly tell you that this
and a little of this
equals another week
And in that week, my artists' book A Flight of Twelve Southern Hemisphere Birds was shortlisted for the National Works on Paper 2014 exhibition at the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, and Gracia's third piece for Fjord Review was published.
Love is Blind presents us with a conversation between the song cycles of Austrian composer Franz Peter Schubert and the complex, yet simple (and simple, yet complex) choreography of Dumas as told to us through the dancers, Eric Fon, David Huggins, Nicole Jenvey, Beth Lane, Molly McMenamin, Esperanza Quindara, and Johathan Sinatra. And just as Schubert’s song cycles can been read as a conversation between composer and the German Romantic poet Johann Ludwig Wilhelm Müller (elements from both Die schöne Müllerin and Die Winterreise were set to music by Shubert), so is the case with this work. The two parts equal a new reading not possible without the other. The words become music and the music becomes words; the dance becomes the music and the music becomes dance. Together, in collaboration, a new reading is possible.
And this new reading is one where ears lead eyes. In the dark, fragments of a dancer’s body can be seen. Seven performers all dressed in uniform black pants and tops disappear and become one with the dark. A face illuminated like a Carivaggio painting. A light like a candle glow. Dancers appear as clear as Carivaggio’s painted reflection of Narcissus (c. 1597-99).
Feet are heard more than seen. And they make no effort to mask sound. Feet here stomp and shuffle and gallop. Hands clap, twice. We hear everything. Dancers run in a circle, faster and faster, and one drops out. Falls to the sidelines. We strain to make out forms and we let our ears inform us that a hand is sweeping across the body of another. The sounds of fabric brushed. We piece these suggestions together with the grand universal themes of love and its associated ache covered in song. We catch sight of figures writ large on the wall. Shadow play flashes on the stage wall to the right. Figures grow large and small depending upon how close they are to the light source. Edges are impossible to decipher and so are read as one moving, cohesive and beautiful mesh. We are both the Miller (of the poem), covered in white baking flour, and the object of his affections. And we are heartbeat, heartache and breathe. We are the body in this sensory exploration.
You can read about it in full here, on our site, or here on Fjord Review, or here, on her blog. The choice of fonts is all yours.
You can also read her response to Nat Cursio's The Middle Room, as part of the recent inaugural Festival of Live Art. Here is a taste, too, to whet the appetite, of a performance for one. As always, I'm in awe of G's written pieces on dance.
This is a performance that begins before you’ve walked through the front door. It begins with the address you are sent: your location, your X marks the spot. Furnished with the kind of details you would send to a friend, local signposts are highlighted: a one minute walk from the train station, a synagogue opposite, the brick colour of the building. I sight the landmarks of my mental map and note that this is one quietly thrilling introduction. Walking into this “theatre” is different to other performances. I take the stairs as directed up to the top floor. My tread is silent on the steps, and my heart is galloping. The unknown awaits.
As instructed in the notes, I am to let myself into the apartment-theatre-performance space-cum-doorway-to-alternate-world and to take a seat on the small stool. A moment of panic: or was I to sit on the floor near to the performer on the stool? Have I remembered the rules of play correctly? I quietly close the screen door behind me and my eyes adjust to the half-light of the space. I sight the small white stool but a metre from the door and elect to leave my bag just a little way behind me. It slumps to the floor and I immediately second guess my decision: have I placed my bag in the way on the stage? I sit down on the kids’ stool, right next to the performer quietly seated on the floor nearby. All correct thus far. I note my breathing. I wonder if my perfume is too intrusive in the space. I tuck my legs in closer to the stool and I note that I am on the stage. I am the participant not mealy the audience. There is me and there is Nat Cursio, the performer and choreographer of the piece. She is sitting close to me, her eyes downcast. All is still. I am both in her personal space, her home, and I am on her stage, her carpeted, small stage. This is quietly confronting and unlike anything I have experienced. This is 10.30 on a Friday morning. This is a doorway to an alternate world. Outside I can hear the comforting noises from the street: a train rumbling, a car parking, a splintered conversation. There is still a link to the outside. There is still a way out.