Deep Sea Dances
Showing and reflection
(A stream of consciousness review)
After a brief and kind of bashful introduction, Rebecca has given us some abstract but helpful insight to her research showing. Deep Sea Dances, a work that’s not overtly about the deep sea nor is it trying to create a representation of it, but looking at it as a model to help us be more ok with accepting that perhaps we don’t know all the answers. The things we value maybe aren’t necessarily the things that matter, the histories we document are not necessarily the moments that created change. Many events we archived as momentous beginnings are often the end of a long arduous struggle. Removing the glamour of activism and decreasing the scale of the “milestone.” Settling into something slow and confusing. Something where you take a step forward and you then shift a step back. Endless treadmills plunging deep down into something that feels as alien as space itself. Something that employs what I know and understand then moves through that understanding, revealing the banal practicalities of this process. Beauty found in strange places.
We are invited to partake in a sensory meditation come performance. I think of Nick Caves sound suits (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpNcmh3rxko) as I am handed a plastic Hawaiian skirt to swish around. I am told it is a puppet and an instrument. Soon the room is moving in multiple currents. A pool noodle with plastic bag in the end, bodies tentatively rotating around wine bottles half filled with water balanced on phone lights breathing through long straws combined with other long straws to make very long straws. An older man is given a jar with water and bottle cap, purple and silver plastic tassels rustle and a symmetrical unison duet is danced with two silver “disco” beaded doors.
Together through our tentative attitude toward participation, or was the hesitance a result of a direction from Rebecca? We move in slow motion. Forming something that looks like a low budget underwater scene, not unlike a play school improvisation. Or a creative dance class.
Dancing with trash. Dancing with shiny toys. Dancing with plastic. The materials are not biodegradable.
The quiet sounds accumulate into something quite palatable, like I feel it in my palate like an ASMR youtube video.
Hovering and never landing, it feels like something is going to happen. We are waiting for instruction or some sort of climax.
“Cumulus clouds formed heaven in the south like huge wool packs heaped in a picturesque disorder, Under the influences of the breezes they merged together, growing darker, forming a single menacing mass. They rocked to the emotions of the sluggish wave-less sea and in silence they waited for the storm.”
Bubbles are blown through long straws into wine bottles balanced on IPhone torches. Water and air seem to work together in this free jam.
What are the conditions to create a sense of delicacy and care? What are the conditions required to make people care about and notice one another?
A sequence of images. Each position is learned from a deep sea animal we are told so when we watch we can imagine which creature it is. Watching the dance becomes an exercise of the imagination, we are able to imagine familiar things because we feel comfortable knowing the movement is pretty much just a mime of something we understand.
Two audience members participate. They are dances. Rebecca teaches them moves in front of us. The music is out so drowns out her voice. We have to guess what she is saying but it seem like she is just teaching them moves. The 3 of them laugh together. I want to know what is funny. They end up dancing on the floor, even though they started standing. They all seem to be giving directions to the other two.
There are two groups of 3. This time we hear the instruction. Each person must dance the average/ median of the two bodies in their group. Constantly trying to dance movement that is a product of the point of difference between two bodies. Dancers look like they are in some kind of deranged feedback loop as they stare into the mirror trying to capture every detail they can from the other bodies in their group. A strangely frontal, stilted choreography emerges. Polite and snappy, changing constantly and never distinct.
In the final part of the showing Rebecca dances a dance where she attempts to distribute the same value to each movement. She looks like she is in a deep state of confusion, constantly falling, interrupting herself, never completing anything. We watch her through a screen, she becomes flatter as the movement continues, moving across a backdrop of deep sea trenches. She stops, brings up a new background of what just happened and continues dancing with a recent version of herself. A duet with a very present past. Like a barnacle lodged onto a rock, her dancing body seems trapped in a screen, or lost in a portal to something new. Maybe this is the next level, how do we follow her into the deep?
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