Deborah Hay’s As Holy Sites Go/duet


I recently went with a friend to see Deborah Hay’s As Holy Sites Go/duet, which is part of Danspace Project’s Judson Now Platform 2012, and features dancers/choreographers Jeanine Durning and Ros Warby. According to the program, “the dancers are practicing a continuity of discontinuity within their separate and unique experiences of the choreography—thus engaging the depth of their dancing.”
I’m not entirely or even at all sure what I was meant to receive from this piece, which may be part of why I like it. Whether it was challenging notions of virtuosity, playing with religious symbolism, exploring the surface and interior of the body, experimenting with expectations of technique, or even if it was just two people in a public investigation—a meandering—of their own corporeality in and out of context (and maybe it was all of these), it was illuminating and a strangely (or perhaps intentionally) introspective experience for me.
Of particular interest to me were which actions provoked a re-action from the audience; what made them laugh? Was it a familiar pattern—something that could be physically recognized from everyday life? Was it something resonant? What provoked these giggles, these intakes of air? Was it the fact that sound came bubbling from the dancers’ lips? Dance is considered a non-verbal medium, so when there is a breach of that (un-spoken) rule, it might be a cause of perplexity. Was the laughter a nervous release? Perhaps it was an uncertainty as to how to react, how to take it in, how to process it.
We heard ourselves breathing, shifting, the sounds our bodies make breaking what was never silence. Our human noises created the music for the dancing. What did we see? We saw ourselves, losing control, breaking down, singing nonsense. We saw bodies (and when I say bodies, I do not mean the ostracized, secondary vessels suggested by theories of dualism). We saw just (only, merely, completely?) bodies, dancing.


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