Sunday February 26, 2012 matinee - Lydia Johnson Dance presented two works at Peridance this afternoon. The performance marked the first full presentation of Lydia's new, as-yet-untitled work to music of Osvaldo Golijov as well as a revival of her 2006 piece to music of Philip Glass: FALLING OUT.
Kokyat and I have been following the creation of the Golijov work from its earliest days, visiting the studio periodically to view the work's progress. Lydia is so generous in sharing her creative process, giving us an extraordinary insight into how ideas become danceworks.
Click on each image to enlarge:
In the Golijov, a trio of women first appear in soft golden gowns; their black-lace bodices provide a Spanish feel. Remaining in place, they perform a gestural ritual implying both spirituality and cleansing.
Quietly they move in a circular pattern...
...which is expanded by the entry of two more women.
With an unexpected juxtaposition of calm and urgency, the women continue their mysterious rites as the music takes on a soulful expression.
Images of silent despair and of consolation are evoked...
...blended with uplifting gestures of unity and hope.
The final movement of the Golijov is marked by themes of rocking as each girl in turn swoons into the arms of her sisters to be gently lulled.
In this work, choreographer Lydia Johnson seems to be telling a story yet the mystique of the five women - who they are and what their rituals mean to them - is left to the imagination of each viewer. One of the things about Lydia's work that I most appreciate is her unerring taste in music: she always seeks out the best, whatever genre she might decide to work in. Here, the religious themes of the Golijov pieces she uses offer a wide range of interpretative images, from the earthy to the sublime. Darkly handsome in atmosphere, this dancework resonates with the bonds of sisterly unity and affection; it steers clear of sentimentality, thus striking a deeper chord.
Always a choreographer's greatest good fortune: to have dancers who understand and communicate the imagined nuances of a given work. The lyricism and grace of the five women dancing in the Golijov maintained the spirit of the music and movement from first note to last. They are (above): Sarah Pon, Lisa Iannacito McBride, Kaitlin Accetta, Laura DiOrio, and Jessica Sand.
Details of the afternoon's second work, set to music of Philip Glass, will appear here shortly.
All photographs by Kokyat.