Review: Dancing and Leaping at Lincoln Center in ‘You Are Here’

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As dance slowly regains its footing in the performing arts world this summer, with perseverance and best intentions, performing carries a different weight. How exactly should the show go? Who shares the responsibility and who gets the credit? If the past year and a half has taught us anything, it’s paying attention to the margins and recalibrating who and what is needed. Art and artists for sure. But it takes more than artists to make art happen.

you are hereA sculpture and sound installation in Hearst Plaza commissioned by Lincoln Center features sound portraits of composer and sound artist Justin Hicks. The piece showcases the pandemic experiences of artists, as well as people working behind the scenes, including Lila Lomax, who works at Lincoln Center Security and sings while at work – Cassie Mey, who works in the dance department at The NewYork Public Performing Arts Library and nurse at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital by Valarie Wong. The setting is also decorated with fabric sculptures. natural designer Mimi Lien Its headless forms, fabric and a textural mix of dry and fresh flowers sprout like somewhat avant-garde balustrades in the square.

Saturday night turns into a live performance with Gallim dancers directed by Andrea Miller, where some of the New Yorkers are a part of the piece and express their personal thoughts about their pandemic experience. Along with Lynsey Peisinger, he directs “You Are Here,” which also features Miller’s choreography and concept.

Layered and long-winded, it is an attempt to look back while celebrating the possibility of the future. Water is important. Most take place at the Paul Milstein Pool, which runs along the plaza.

For choreographers, the pool is an attractive space. Who doesn’t want to splash in the water? But the problem for the viewer is that being in the water is much more fascinating than watching others. Throughout the performance, the choreography places the dancers – wearing Oana Botez’s slinky, shimmering sequin shorts and tops, clever nods to fish scales – deep inside. Still, a certain monotony prevails, whether they push it, fall back into it, or, of course, crumble on its surface.

At times, this overloaded production feels more like a dance-infused podcast than a poetic exploration of the here and now. More memorable than the whole were Jermaine Greaves, founder of Black Disabled Lives Matter, who works in accessibility at Lincoln Center, lovingly speaking about her mother who taught her flexibility, and returning in her wheelchair with a joy dance.

Susan Thomasson, a dancer with Lincoln Center Education, spoke lively and loudly about “noticing the soft but prickly grass, smooth metal, still afternoon heat, and a gentle breeze on my cheek.” on the edge of a grassy hill, touching a scarecrow and spreading his arms like wings. Speaking of the wild geese’s migration, he transformed into himself with undeniable enthusiasm, taking high steps and echoing their loud horns before falling into the water. (He had his trust Moira Rose.)

In the intermissions, the dancers kept going in and out of the water – reaching for their arms and twisting their torso as they plunged into the impressive choreography; Occasionally someone would sweep the plaza, holding both the pavement and the water, a cloak-like layer of white fabric, as if cleaning the area. The work ended on a high note with a scene featuring ballroom icon Egyptt LaBeija and a loud dance – indeed, a pool party – to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna to Dance With Somebody”.

But the most impressive performance came from Valarie Wong, a nurse in the intensive care unit at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, who said she was consumed by fear and anxiety.

As he told his story—including how he would prepare his patients for death while “trying to send them off with dignity”—he toured three sides of the plaza and sliced ​​into the water for a fourth. “I am more present now than I have ever been before,” he said. “I always looked to the future. But a gift is a gift.”

On “You Are Here,” Wong, who specializes in the heart, both medically and in other realms, brought us to a field full of reflection as well as exploration. In a way, that was the right ending, the one that made you think.

“You Are Here” continues until 30 July at Hearst Plaza.

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