Journal

A moment within a moment within a moment Dec 3, 2011

by Rosa Vissers

You can never step in the same river twice. Or can you? Zoe|Juniper's A Crack in Everything questions our experience of and relationship to time, causality and memory through arresting images of live and projected motion, stillness and sound. Together Zoe Scofield and Juniper Shuey conjure a strangely beautiful world, where time stands still, speeds up and ceases to exist.

A projection of ivy slightly moving in the wind spans the entire width of the stage. As the lights, stunningly designed by Robert Aguilar, abruptly change and illuminate the entire stage, two dancers appear. We see them behind the screen, slightly out of focus. Zoe Scofield's eye-catching movement vocabulary -pushing ballet off-kilter, electrical currents rippling through the limbs and spine- is striking. A bright flash. Slightly disoriented I fall into a different moment, this time the dancers re-appear as projections, executing the same phrase. Is this before or after? What do I remember? Can we prolong a moment beyond its actual duration?

The five dancers (in addition to Scofield: Christiana Axelsen, Diana Deaver, Raja Kelly and Anna Schon) first in dark knitted dresses then in gold-plated fitted body suits reminiscent of L'Apres Midi D'Un Faune, are exquisite as the movement courses through their bodies. Particularly memorable are the moments where dancers are tethered to a red string from their mouths. The string imagery reframes the stage by highlighting the dancers' trajectory through space, lengthening and shortening like a trace or pulse. What anchors and ties us to the present? What holds us back? Layers both accumulate and are removed as Scofield outlines her body with red pencil on the projection screen while the other dancers perform behind it. Although they share the space, they all seem alone, perhaps echoes of one another. The screen falls away, Scofield's drawing remains, if only for a while, then lifts up halfway to fully reveal a white reflective floor and a backdrop sliced into panels by more red string.

As the haunting, driving music changes and invokes a cinematic atmosphere, bubbles or images of refracted light appear on the backdrop and floor. Another blinding flash. As Scofield seems frozen in time, the other dancers perform a processional series of long-limbed lunges, elastic reaches, and direction changes through wide second and fourth positions, creating intricate shadows on the floor and back wall. Or are they projections? The precise, articulate movement vocabulary is softened by waves through the arms and spine, to be immediately interrupted by accents through flexed wrists, sharp feet, and quick turns of the head. In silence, Scofield joins the others, all of them performing a series of dribbles (or perhaps contemporary bourrées). When the sound of a ticking clock returns, Scofield and Kelly face one another, are undressed by the other dancers, then sit down on two chairs for a fierce confrontation. As they bark at each other, suggesting both aggression and tenderness, Axelsen executes a delicate, meditative adagio.

An especially moving section happens towards the end of the piece, when the four women travel across the stage, only to be moved to the "beginning" by Kelly. Initially they hold still as he picks them up, but gradually they resist and continue to move. They reach forward while being moved back, their limbs floating in the air seemingly weightless. Can we ever start over? Is any moment repeatable?  When the mind is in a different place than the body, are we in two spaces? Or one? A Crack in Everything asks important questions about our experience of space and time, and beautifully distills the moments between moments where out of stillness movement or memory arises. You need to see this.

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