The first time I have been moved nearly to tears by dance was in college. I have explained the tunnel vision of audience participation before. This lucid state was, is, like a drug to me. Attention. Do I have your attention? Yes. Now don’t anyone mess it up. Life became exciting. Busy. Graduation. Work. Busy. Life. Love. Things forgotten, lost, new concerns and tunnel vision around necessity.
Spooky Action was the first evening length piece that MiRo had developed since Pitch Black. It had been a few years and they, I, we had grown so much. It was based, deeper now, around their work at Fermilab. Extended and researched. There was sponsorship and beautiful video integration showing off the technology of Green Hippo–live manipulation of multiple video streams and sources. It was perfect. Enthralling and at no point were you distracted with figuring it out. It was a character of its own.
This was about the time that the students really started to get deep in the practical understanding of quantum entanglement. You know. Like sixth graders tend to do. MiRo is more than a dance company. The research they do for a piece is one of immersion. Pasteurized. Almost completely underwater. They expect the same from their students who embrace the focus and the exploration. They see that complexity and depth of expression comes from knowing the reason and the rationale; the process of embracing the chaos and making it beautiful.
This was about the time that I started to get deep in the practical understanding of working closely with dance. Something that I had not done in decades. Seeing Spooky Action in the basement performance studio of the Kimmel Center brought back the tunnel vision. The music by Peter Wyer fitting as always. A narrative about relationships. The piece, furious with all the passions I would expect from all those bodies on stage and projected. Pixelated. Picked apart. Accelerating. Becoming.
That’s how I explained it to Amanda. It was so sad.
The first time I have been moved nearly to tears by dance in decades was that day. A few years since MiRo Dance Theatre began working with students at the school and suddenly I felt very vulnerable. Aware that fast friends were capable of reaching into me. It is very much like sitting across from a Jiu Jitsu black belt or a sharpshooter. Potential lies within but never lies without.
I am grateful to my friends Tobin and Amanda and the ways they have changed me. I am writing every day this week and I am dancing like a disco fool on Saturday night to support and sustain the work that they do. If they can change me and they can change students and they can change…