Can strength and softness co-exist?
Can a presence command and yet allow space for others to enter into the conversation with the same amount of validation and attention?
Can a body undulate and create a sense of authority, vulnerability, honesty, and pure line all at the same time?
In a time, when the body is "up for political, social, and religious debate" can the physical human form still be sacred?
If "the female body" is inserted in each of these questions, is the answer still the same?
In 1096, the answer to all of these questions is/was a resounding "YES!"
Allow me to include some of the program notes from 1096:
"Spanning pivotal periods throughout women's hirstoy, "1096" is a collaborative work that ultimately creates a unique dialogue between these two diver dance languagee. At it's heart, it is an exploratory and feminist conversation between flamenco artist Elba Hevia y vaca of Padion y Arte and modern dance artist KC Chun-Manning, of Fresh Blood....
Where flamenco has long reflected structure, control, intensity, passion and a celebration of death, Chun-Manning's postmodern technique is built upon release, letting go, experimentation, rule-breaking, inclusiveness, and whimsy Situated on the opposite side of the spectrum from flamenco's adherence to tradition, modern dance ic concerned with an artistic rebellion against formal Western dance. "1096"serves as a space for Chun-Manning and Hevia y Vaca to negotiate the vernacular of flamenco and modern. The piece introduces and intertwines the two dance genres and histories, which share little in common, allowing a new narrative to come to life which is sudden, present, and independent of either of the two art forms that flow into it."
The work was presented in an early American church. If you're a reader of my work, you will be familiar with my obsession with the body as sacred. The performance space as sacred. Performing in a church adds another level to that sacredness. The space is historically and socially sacred. The feminine form is historically and socially sacred in many cultures. The dance is historically socially sacred in many cultures. (And when I say historically, I mean that many cultures older than the American culture have revered the female body, the religious space, and the dance. In American concert dance history, the female body is revered ... check out Martha Graham and Doris Humphry...)
Thank you, Elba and KC, for bringing these elements to light in a way that was so relevant. (In a way that only dance can be relevant to the lived experience.)
And yes, dear readers, I know I'm being vague... but sometimes the artistic experience leaves the viewer/participant with only thoughts and feelings. I'll include more descriptions, photos, and reviews.
Until then... thank you for this dynamic display of the range of elements beautiful and feminine.
Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts - The first female gynocologist