(extra) ordinary, John Jasperse Oct 19, 2007
by Tania Kupczak
The costuming, visual design, choreography, music, and dancing made last night’s performance a truly pleasurable feast for the senses. It made me think about how everything you could ever want to know, experience and understand about life is right in front of you. Thank goodness for art that effortlessly invites the audience to continually shift their perception, activating the infinite potential of how we can interact with the everyday world.
The dancers were highly skilled, yet refreshingly unexploited for it. Their skill was revealed through the careful attention to each moment. With calculated abandon, the dancer’s soft explosions of intricate patterns and partnering created the sense of the abundant possibility of movement invention. The clear, precise choreography inhabited the bodies of the dancers in a way that made me feel as if they were creating it on the spot. Each moment, felt, sensed, experienced. At times I completely lost myself in the articulation of their bodies- Kayvon’s exquisite feet, Levi’s expansive soft torso, Michelle’s animated eyes, Eleanor’s sense of timing, and John’s long, long arms.
The music like its own breathing, flesh-bound body, moved through metallic environments, recognized and unrecognized sounds of household objects, and direct sonic interaction with the other bodies in space.
The image of plastic bottles on a dark sheet became a storm drain or the wrinkled skin of a body. The bottle between the thighs of the dancers, for a brief moment was a sheet of ice from the collaboration of the light passing through.
In comparing Jasperse with someone like Deborah Hay, both explore the potential of perception. Hay through practicing the embodiment of impossibilities, and Jasperse through removing all mystery and tending rigorously to the earth bound realities of everyday life.
What came across so clearly in the whole evening was the power of activating the imagination. Instead of always thinking of our cultured limits of our bodies, and resources this piece re-enforced in me the sustained freedom that one can obtain only through a cultivated, expressed imagination.
Of what I witnessed last night, I would say the cost of my ticket was only .05 % the worth of the dance. (what a great deal as a working artist) Of those interviewed, I found 97% enjoyed the evening, and 100% could articulate, unique, original responses. Although only 20% of the audience remained in the lobby for longer than a half an hour after the show, 85% were involved in passionate discourse about the piece, while the other 15% were focused on other activities such as flirting, drinking, or catching up with a friend.
If you only enjoy performances with high leg kicks, crazed angry dancers that are uninspired, half-hearted and un-thoughtful, I would not recommend the evening. If however, you enjoy meaningful, generous, joyful, a little dark, humorous, beautiful, awkward, inspired performances, I recommend this piece to you without reservation. Do it. Just go.
- Beth Graczyk