Some thoughts and feelings Oct 28, 2014

by Devin McDermott

To be at peace. A physical manifestation of grace as an expression of individuality. An outpouring of inner landscape...universal, ephemeral, pure, and personalized. No two bodies are the same, no two experiences are identical, no moment a replication of the one that preceded or followed it. An expression outside of gender, politics, history, category, and yet influenced and shaped by all of those things and every cell of the person who in the mode of creation. When I watched the dancers of Opposing Forces moving in their element whether in unison or as soloists, choreographed or improvised, my impression was steeped in an appreciation for the unbridled energy and perhaps joy expressed by fellow humans on stage. The technique may be beyond my experience, the culture of hip hop and break-dancing may be a world I know very little about first hand, but I know that very special state of expression through movement. I know what that feels like to be fully consumed by the experience of dancing and feeding off the energy of my peers or audience or my own body. The way we can push our bodies to places out of balance, out of routine, above and beyond our pedestrian capabilities and express something difficult or impossible to articulate with words. And so, there is empathy. Through empathy there is a level of understanding and community. I could be talking about the nuanced visions of choreographer Amy O’Neal, the beauty of Amiya Pennebaker-Brown’s lighting or Ben Zamora’s design. I could talk about WD40’s sound and how I loved that one track. I could talk about the conversations initiated about gender, the culture of competition, the stereotyping and putting people in boxes. All were enlightening and important to the work, but for the purpose of this blog post I’ll stick to the lasting impression still echoing…the mystical feeling of understanding amongst all of us strangers. The thing that welcomed people to the stage before the show started and kept them grooving in their seats for its duration. There was a quote that I keep recalling, heard towards the end of the show about a fight breaking out at a battle, and the dancer didn’t pay any attention because he was completely engrossed in his moment of performing. He was dancing, and he was at peace.