Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Good Dance--Dakar/Brooklyn: Reggie Wilson, Fist and Heel and Andreya Ouamba, Compangie 1er Temps

Abstract yet concrete, the space between the slave trade is just one name verses another. "What does Mycal Rose say on one of the tracks in “Saga”: When it rains it pours for African people"?

Misissippi River/Congo River...trafficking people or costly minerals?

It also pours if you are a woman.

Abstract yes, but one couldn’t ignore the obvious violence in the gesture of a male dancer (Wilson) towards another dancer (an African woman) who was carrying water from one side of the stage to another.

Even though there were men who could have helped her, none did. They handed her more parcels to carry.

In fact after her painstaking journey—she ran between the two sides of the stage or field—in fact, I was reminded of the women in the villages and the girls who fetch water a few times a day for the family. It takes hours, after she arranged everything just so, the man she meets at home, is not happy to see her and in this case knocks the bottle off her head.

“The Good Dance” was quite intense…there were other moments where people were kicked and rolled over with feet placed on top of one another roughly like stacked dead bodies, and maybe they were many of the thousands or millions of Africans killed in war torn Congo and ghettos throughout the USA?

I kept thinking I was seeing things as one dancer kept hanging black men…the noose she tied over and over again so distinct…the good dance, like the good book has different reading. Remember the Klan are Christian soldiers.

Intense isn’t even the have of it as music and silence and narration clip and pull our attention to what doesn’t matter like repetitive cycles—pulling off one’s coat to slip it back one. What matters? What doesn’t matter? Why do human beings allow themselves to be trapped in rote behaviors—which reflect unexamined traditions which need to be discarded.

I liked the baptism…I guess because I knew the place. I also loved the two choreographers when the space between narrowed and dressed in lapas they danced.

I agree with both artists that the “Good Dance” is about process…it’s a collage where the sacred is shattered or leaks because of the imperfect nature of its adherents and creators, if one sees religion as man or woman’s way to explain the inexplicable, then “good” is relative and fluid like the Mississippi and the Congo Rivers which carried death as well life historically and into the present depending on one’s point of view.

The use of bottles as metaphor—plastic recyclable if one has the means, otherwise it is just more solid waste for the landfills in Africa and other so-called Third World nations.
The water which the essence of life, is polluted everywhere except here. Strange how the water systems are such that westerns cannot drink it, unless bottled.

What does that say ultimately about imperialism? If one kills the water, kills the land, and kills the air, eventually one kills the people.

The set is simple…plastic bottles filled with water that leak. The Mississippi and the Congo rivers are now commodities that the original people no longer control—the bottles represent privatization of natural resources, water the most important one. Just think if a corporation could package and resell us air. We have already gotten used to buying earth or soil or dirt. Air is coming next.

The last performance is Saturday, April 3, 2010, 8 PM at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theatre, Howard at Third Street, in San Francisco.


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