Sunday, December 20, 2009

Call Back the Sun

Ashland, Oregon--a small town with a lot of artists of all kinds. Sometimes it seems to me that our town's population is mainly composed of artists, healers and real estate agents plus those who aspire to being artists, healers and real estate agents. That's my little Ashland joke.

The dance community in Ashland is quite large and varied. Dancing People Company magnetized many dancers and a big audience of dance lovers last night for its 4th annual "Call Back the Sun" Solstice celebration.

First, I will say that I could not find any reviews of Dancing People Company performances. This proves I live in a small town, even if it is pretty saturated with all manner of art and artists. No proper dance reviewer in sight. (if there are any reviews hiding somewhere, I would like to read them to see what others have to say.) Second, I will advise that I am no dance critic. I am also rather reticent to discuss wine's finer qualities though I do know good wine when I taste it.

The performance began with the room completely darkened. Dancers appeared one by one, illuminated only by the candle each carried. They moved slowly through the space. More dancers appeared, and together their movements conjured up a mythic, ancient rite. I was mesmerized, enchanted. My heart was moved; the audience/performer boundary was erased.

In dance, things move fast. It's not like looking at a painting or reading a book. What a no-brainer, you may be thinking, but bear with me, I am not a dance reviewer. Watching dance is more like watching a football game, except that nobody is doing video replays of what just happened so the mind and emotions reel as ecstatic gestures and movements cascade through eyes, brain and heart minute after minute. You want to stop just for that particular gesture or jumble or leap, but you cannot. It's already gone.

Of course the sheer physical power and grace, that beauty, was astounding at times. The leaps, raises, balancing, catches, such evocations of flight, lightness, power, freedom and trust, such vulnerability were at times completely breathtaking.

The performance included aerial dancing too. It was stunning. To watch those beautiful beings suspended in mid air, curling and uncurling like flowers, revealing all their strength, delicacy and skill, well what can I say except Hallelujah! Bravo brothers and sisters! You filled my heart. All of our hearts are full.

Mythic, primal, Dionysian/erotic, lyrical, powerful. Somebody write a proper review of these folks, please! The musicians were wonderful, too.

Photo by Hennie Van Heerden,the Netherlands, via Flickr

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