Saturday, October 5, 2013

Sarah Skaggs presents "The New Ecstatic"

Sarah Skaggs busts a move in her 1990 solo, Prelude for Salome, that turns her slender arms, splayed forward, into dowsing rods. At another moment, she repeatedly smacks the floor with the soles of her feet the way a sewing machine needle punctures a length of fabric. As this dancer attacks the air--unfailingly elegant, yet insistent--a voice pours through the space: "A prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord will raise them....Hear me, church!"

Skaggs calls her season at Danspace Project The New Ecstatic, referencing the role of ecstasy in her imagination and her oeuvre--with samples from past work and a new duet with the fascinating Cori Kresge--as well as reworking the idea of ecstasy for our current moment. At only 45 minutes, this ecstasy hits and runs, leaving slightly dazed viewers to piece it all together. 

Skaggs's aesthetic touchstones, reportedly, are everything from medieval Danse Macabre to the Depression-era Graham of Steps in the Street to rock'n'roll. Her vision for dancers Emie HughesMeredith FagesJoanna Kotze and Kresge--the last two, especially, capable of absorbing and fulfilling Skaggs's precise look and dynamic without becoming erased--opens a catalog of striking imagery. Animated skeletons, perhaps. Cheerleading, semaphoring stick figures. Temple dancing flattened onto ancient friezes. A body on a path to becoming its own shadow. Fever housed within ice. Complexity masked by the architecture of purity. A time of between-time. Presaging rumbles that terrify...and energize.

Sarah Skaggs Dance in The New Ecstatic concludes its run tonight with an 8pm performance at Danspace Project. Click here for information and tickets.

Danspace Project
131 East 10th Street (corner Second Avenue), Manhattan
(directions)

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