On Saturday May 28 at 11:30 AM, Roman Baca's HOMECOMING will be performed aboard the USS Intrepid. This brief but extraordinarily moving work is performed to a haunting John Corigliano score (from the film THE RED VIOLIN) over-laid by the reading of letters sent from home to US servicemen on duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Earlier in the week, Kokyat and I stopped by the DANY Studios where Roman and his dancers were brushing up the work for its Intrepid premiere. They will dance HOMECOMING twice in succession aboard the ship. Kokyat's photo at the top: dancers Taylor Gordon, Michael Wright and Lisa Fitzgerald.
Waiting at home: Adrienne Cousineau clings to the shirt of her husband. Mundane items like articles of clothing...
...or photographs of the servicemen keep a connection for spouses, mothers and girlfriends.
Above: dancers Aaron Atkins and Adrienne Cousineau. The joy of reunited couples is offset by the emptiness of those whose loved ones do not return from the war, or return with life-shattering injuries.
Taylor Gordon searches among the returning troops for her missing soldier.
Roman Baca enlisted in the US Marine Corps in 2000 and served in Fallujah, Iraq. Returning home, he picked up his dance career where it had left off. The resonances of his wartime experience prompted him to start work on HOMECOMING; he formed Exit 12 Dance Company to pursue his choreographic vision.
Sgt Baca has a deep personal interest in and commitment to US servicemen and -women returning from the mid-East wars who suffer from the psychological effects of their experience. His primary focus is on homelessness and suicidal tendencies among the veterans, stemming from frustration with the government's increasing unwillingness to fittingly honor their service with care and compassion. Sadly, our troops are still abroad and at risk every day while being largely forgotten here at home.
A recent development in the situation shows some promise.
The USS Intrepid is docked at 150 12th Avenue, near West 23rd Street. A ticket to the Intrepid museum gets you aboard for the performance and you can stay on all day for Fleet Week activities.
These images are from the rehearsal; Kokyat also plans to shoot on the Intrepid where we spent a memorable evening last Autumn.
The dancers in HOMECOMING are: Taylor Gordon, Adrienne Cousineau, Lisa Fitzgerald, Jackie Koehler, Joanna Priwieziencew, Michael Wright, Aaron Atkins and Preston Bradley. More of Kokyat's images from this rehearsal will follow shortly.
No matter what your stance on the war and the USA's involvement in these far away lands, HOMECOMING is something everyone should experience.