Thursday, October 29, 2009

This is an old review but I just found it in a folder and I think its chur as so its going up! Written by Alexa Wilson

‘Terces Ym’ – Performance Improvisation

Graduation MCPA Performance by Sarah Gavina Campus

Danced by Sarah and Val Smith

November 5 & 6, 2008

TAPAC Auckland

A calm opening in the darkness. Two women are present. At ease, open and powerful within darkness and light as if they are one. A depth created in space and body which makes performers and audience alike seem as if they are together in the deep ocean in its depth and calm- both emotionally and spiritually. The way the light cuts through deep ocean/space creating an ephemerality and a clarity, the two performers engage with their presence, each other and the environment. I am mesmerised. There is both stillness and expanse as the two move with such poise, awareness and synchronicity one would or could think this dance is 'choreographed'. Of course, we know, it is. In the same way that life unfolds and tells us its many stories in one long, manifold constant.

The beauty of liminal improvisational performance is that it not only opens and heightens spaces and transitions and transforms strong imagery also evoked in the viewer as a liminal exchange, but it fuses or morphs imagery and experience together between them in one constant exchange and endless transformation. This was my primary experience of the performance.

As the space/body work opened, I began a 'reading'- perhaps defined by these black, androgynous military costumes clothing that had such inherent female power, beauty and intelligence floating in deep space and time. I saw a connection to World War II and the trails of this left in our generations blood/DNA make up, coupled with Italian (traditional/folk) song and knowing Sarah's genealogy of Italian/Sardegnan family history. I was aware that this was my own projection and I was seeing or 'making of' the improvisation what I wanted, but this very European experience of survival during war and horrific disconnection from celebration of humanity which brought such suffering (perhaps a reason for immigration to nz?) was at once sitting inside the grief of this past and healing it at the same time. I saw also the reclamation of a long line of female magicians, healers, shamans, and witches healing this history together. This was in the beginning of the performance and an example of the imagery, which arose and was evoked in me.

There was such a depth of presence and sensitivity within both performers Sarah and Val, - such a deep knowing and trust available to them that each movement, gesture, moment of contact or solo moment was embued with extreme awareness and care. While there was the power of pain transformed in small and large stories through transitioning moments in both audience and performer, the liminal space created an extremely focused, vulnerable and powerful sense of love and safety. Things were looked after and cared for in this world created by the performers.

Retreat into darkness was as profound, loving and artful as a reach of the hand into a small square of light. There was no judgement here, only being, being in self, with other, powerful and generous. The skilfulness of this form of improvisation is so captivating because while both the performers in this work were extremely internally aware and intuitive they were also as externally aware and giving of themselves and the audience. This is SUCH a rare quality in ordinary dance. While it is fleeting in other 'choreographic' or 'improvisational' work it was continuous throughout this performance which for me was a testament to the mastery of their improvisational craft and bond together as performers and people. They created a space for new voices and experiences to be felt, heard and seen. This was done through total clarity and presence within the ether.

This was my overall experience of this absorbing, powerful and moving performance.

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