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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Where do we fit? 92Y Harkness Dance explores identity

Dancer-choreographer Aimee Rials
(photo courtesy of the artist)

Dance artist Aimee Rials curated Where do we fit? for 92Y Harkness Dance Center's Fridays at Noon, choosing five choreographers to question "identity and sexuality, personhood and power, inclusion and exclusion and the universal desire to belong." With the exception of an ethereal Jasmine Hearn duet from shook-- performed with care by Dominica Greene and Angie Pittman--the hour-long showcase focused on solos danced by their creators. It explored everything from dexterous physicality, quirky and rash in its expression (Chuck Wilt's Cadet) to the mystery and spirituality of gender fluidity (Trebien Pollard's She Gives Birth to Stone). Through a dream-like relationship to costuming, Pamela Pietro worked clear contrasts between a woman's determined self-protection and her vulnerability in everything I thought I Knew but....

Rials's solo--"The Quiet We Keep," a compelling excerpt from Modifi(her)--had dramatic impact, drawn from her experience as an androgynous white lesbian with roots in the rural south. In a post-show Q&A, she noted her caution and self-vigilance on visits home, her need to protect her kin from scrutiny and danger by altering her appearance and behavior. Rials did not discuss the formal qualities of her solo, but I had taken note of intriguing similarities to ritual--the formation and interactions with a circle of empty folding chairs possibly representing absent and recalled family members; tremulous movement that could signal "catching the spirit" or resolutely engaging old pain and trauma. The Quiet We Keep, without being obvious, powerfully evokes place, people and psyche.

Closed. For information on future 92Y Harkness Dance Center Friday at Noon events, click here.

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