Martha Graham Dance Company
At Jacob’s Pillow, 2019
By: Astrid Hiemer - Aug 19, 2019
Martha Graham Dance Company -- At Jacob’s Pillow, 2019
Choreography Maxine Doyle & Bobbi Jene Smith
Music Lesley Flanigan
Costume Design Karen Young
Lighting Design Yi-Chung Chen
Sustained, ears piercing sounds in darkness
Only one dancer can be seen on center left stage.
A clump of bodies - barely visible on the ground -
On the far opposite side.
Scented fog whiffs through the air
The standing woman dancer moves arms and limbs
Extremely slowly in place, with angled steps
Standing, bending, and crouching.
She is clothed in a raggedy, opaque, open-slit gown -
All colors are dark – the stage is still dark.
The scene projects a Neverworld -
The Underworld, as in a Greek tragedy.
Even more slowly, another dancer
Awakens first and with broad angled steps
Moves across the stage
Slowly, very slowly aiming towards
The first dancer.
The piercing, sustained sounds remain piercing
Added now an occasional drum tone.
I hold my ears and open my mouth wide
To counteract the intensity
Of the tonal experience.
Other women begin to move
Away from the circle
In more of the same motions
Low and slow along the dark stage.
Occasionally a dancer pops up
Moves standing upright
Then falls back down to the ground.
Sounds and crouching movements overwhelm
They are barely bearable !
The dance continues until all women
Have joined in a line,
Still one tries reaching high beyond the Underworld.
Finally, audience and dancers are released
From the tight embrace.
All stops abruptly!