Journal

Scott/Powell Geography Nov 16, 2007

by Brangien

Toward the beginning of Scott/Powell's new work, an ethereal green ensemble jumps into and out of an implied space. Resembling waterbugs, they dance and flit among and around each other, but not exactly *with* each other. It appears to be a microcosm of some kind, a busy colony at work. Two parallel panels of light reinforce the feeling that we're peering through a microscope at miniscule life darting around on a slide--their movements both limited and defined by their boundaries. Scott continues this examination of boundaries (where they restrict us, where they bring life) throughout the lovely piece. Sometimes the exploration manifests in metaphors for limitation like a rope, a straightjacket, harnesses, and a giant green dress with a burdensome train (stunning). Other times it's more subtle, as when the dancers push and pull against each other in a simulacrum of assistance--a codependent dance that nearly suffocates its members. At one point, voiceover narration defines what the human geography is capable of ("I once had a heart the size of a grapefruit"). The windy push and pull of lungs, rivers that pulse with blood, an everchanging landscape of skin. But mapping the human capabilities in this way is also a way of outlining our limitations. Our physical geography is what gives us life, and also what binds us. At the end of the piece two dancers work in tandem--their movements light and airy, far from the grasping desperation of the middle sections. This time the voice we hear speaks of a natural geography, in a lexicon that feels less restrictive--more poetic--than the one before ("a swampy place," "glades"). The dancers never touch, and never appeared burdened. They are free to flit about, yet choose to move in synch. They respect each other's boundaries. It's a thoughtful, meaningful, and beautiful progression. - Brangien
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