Saturday, July 24, 2010

open minds

Tonight I saw Kelly Bond’s Elephant at the Fringe Festival and I finally understood why so many of my friends have raved about this performance. Was it dance? Not in the traditional sense of shapes and lines transforming in and out of each other to intentional sound. It was much deeper than that. Seeing Elephant caused me to journey into its peculiar world and get lost in moments on stage and in my head. So often I see dance that simply regurgitates the practices that have been handed down since the time of Isadora Duncan causing a disconnect between me and what I am watching. The world is very much the same since the time of Isadora, but we are different people. We strive to remain the same but we push for change. Elephant is about change.

So here is why I liked it. They were beautiful to watch, there was a non-sexual nudity that spoke to a feeling of deep humanity. We are a mostly hairless ape and yet hair was significant as a differentiating factor on nude bodies. They told us stories, I have been told not to tell stories in dance since I started choreographing but good stories are entertaining and they make us use our imagination. It was theater but it was interactive, they talked to us and expected us to talk back and we did. It was self-reflective in that they performed and revealed that they were performing so that no moment was outside of us but everything that happened kept us as participants in the journey.

They made me laugh and they made me scared. They made me question things that I thought were true, which opened my mind and caused me to grow as a person. That is the power of art.

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