Beth Gill & Daniel Linehan

My body is buzzing. A strange electrical current runs through. I’ve seen and experienced a very full and alive evening of dance.

Beth Gill’s Eleanor & Eleanor and Daniel Linehan’s Not About Everything take me on a physical journey during their split bill performance at DTW.

In Gill’s piece, which opens the evening, I settle down. I feel quiet. I indulge in the stillness of the theater.

Four dancers clearly and simply move against a stark metal set that reminds me of repeating minarets. I shift between seeing geometry and seeing flowing, human bodies. They are quite beautiful. It is the beauty of form and pure space. I feel the presence of Merce Cunningham. The dancers make eye contact with the audience only a few times. At one point one of the dancers gently lifts another. He carries her a few steps in his arms. He lets her down. The performers continue standing, walking, sitting, lying down. They inhabit their own worlds, yet graze one another’s. The dance ends and intermission arrives. I can’t even think about leaving because I am still.

In Linehan’s piece after intermission, I can barely stay seated. My body pulses with his as he rhythmically and unceasingly spins.

He has transformed the theater. Seats form a semicircle on the stage. We are invited to sit in them or in the front rows of the theater. We surround Linehan. Narrow rolls of paper hang from the rafters down to the floor creating an even a smaller space around him. He spins and talks, almost chants, about how this piece is not about everything, or endurance or desperation or whirling or nausea or Iraq or being better than Gill or… He says, “If I were in a war zone, I don’t think I’d be spinning.” He wonders about the moral value of art and then also says “moral inclination should have no place in art.” He writes a donation check, while spinning, to be mailed to an environmental agency by an audience member. “This is me. This is you. You are free from this dance. This too will pass. This is this. Everything. This is everything.” He stops and leaves the circles. Finds grounding, twisting moves down to the floor. Touches his forehead to the floor. These seem like strange and necessary bows. He pulls the paper down from the rafters. My brain spins, dances, and frantically searches for something I can hold onto.

This is a marvelously paired evening. Linehan looks at (or adamantly does not look at) the meaning of making art. And while Linehan does a lot and seems to allude to just being, Gill’s piece is. Her piece exists in a being place. I’ll be chewing on these for a while. And trying to get Linehan’s chants to finally leave my head.

No comments:

Post a Comment