Summer Solstice Actives the Heat of NYC Summer Dance

Although many dance artists use the summer months to vacation away from the beating NYC heat, what remains is still a smorgasbord of movement happening all over the city. I plan to take in my fill...let my plate overflow, if I may...

Eiko on Governor's Island 
Two Women
June 22 @ 2:00pm
Presented by LMCC as part of the River to River Festival

It's Sunday afternoon and I arrive on Governor's Island after a short ferry ride across the Buttermilk Channel. The sun sits comfortably at the top of the sky and we file off the ferry in a single line that eventually spills and mutates across the pier like a slow-moving liquid composed of families, tourists, locals, strollers, and bikes. Weaving in and out of four-person bikes and other wheeled objects, I journey beneath a canopy of trees across the island to the Lower Manhattan side.

Manhattan Ferry
An unfinished basement houses the performance space. The cement floors encourage a cool, damp, wet feeling, which is a comfortable contrast to the rising heat outside. Cloudy plastic industrial sheets cover the windows, but a soft muted white sheen is able to seep through and fill the space. The industrial sheets of plastic continue their journey to cover the walls composed of dusty red brick.

I find a space standing along a semi-circle of onlookers. Everyone is quiet, but a beating of feet against wood floors echoes overhead.

My mind dances between being lost in my thoughts and lost in their slow, meticulous movement. I'm pulled in by a gesture Eiko Otake makes while lying on her side. She extends her arm along the concrete floor and opens her hand to reveal a delicate red fabric. The fabric expands slowly across her palm like a blossoming flower and extends a clear line of energy over to the red fabric in front of Tomoe Aihara that has been crumpled, arranged and rearranged.

If I look carefully, I can catch brief moments when Otake and Aihara's bodies shake or quickly jerk in rebellion to their suspended gesture. I say gesture because it appears to be one movement without a clear beginning or end. The occasional punctuated movement escapes from their limbs, only to be encased and forgotten again among slow movement. Their bodies connect. Drawn to, yet sometimes repelled..sinking into each other's flesh or rebounding like metal to metal.

Once the piece is over, I try to capture an artifact of the landscape. My first attempts generate the results you see here... like capturing white noise, intangible energy. After some time settles, my last attempt proves more visually successful.

White Noise 

Building 110: LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island. Ground Floor.


Two Women encourages a contemplation of age, gender, and culture. It advocates a patience, consideration, and mindfulness of intention. I'm grateful to be given the space to be with something, with someone for an uninterrupted amount of time--to be committed to an idea or consideration. In a city that tells me to go, go, go and if not I'm moving to slow, it's nice to have a segment of time to consider artistic structures of movement that compose frozen vignettes that melt and fade from one to another like a run on sentence. It's what you wish life would do sometimes during the best moments...slow down.

More info about Two Women by Eiko [HERE]
Choreography and Conception: Eiko OtakePerformers: Eiko Otake, Tomoe Aihara 

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