Hazel Sabas-Gower's "Green"

One of the things I have most enjoyed in the process of becoming familiar with ballet is the moment when ear and eye converge. The dancers invite me in for a synesthetic experience. Yes, the famous Balanchine quote: "see the music, hear the dance..." When I saw Hazel Sabas-Gower's "Green" premiered here in Carlisle last month I was immediately drawn in by the organic beauty of the dancers' movements. The dancing was tremendously expressive and the dancers were like living sculptures. This is a work that could be greatly appreciated photographically. (Go ahead, here are some examples: "Green.")  Yet, I never felt that the experience was synesthetic. The music by Bach seemed just right, but there was something about the way Ms Sabas-Gower choreographed the piece that made me feel the music was acting more like a canvas on which the dancers were painting. That is, the dancers were not illustrating the music, nor was the music narrating the dance. Rather, the music was like a landscape on which, or perhaps out of which, the dancers moved, themselves becoming the landscape. It was quite beautiful.
     Sometimes contemporary dance leaves me cold. It can be overly cerebral, much like abstract expressionist painting. As I was watching "Green" I did not have the sense I was being lectured at. The dance was not challenging the audience with the "do you get it?" pretentiousness that can make some contemporary art insufferable. What I did very much feel was an invitation to consider (reconsider?) our human condition with an open, expansive sensibility. I do feel awe, for example, when I see animals in wilderness settings. Those sightings can be quite special, but I don't suspect the feeling is mutual. How does a coyote experience beauty? It doesn't. What a privilege to be human! That's what I was feeling as I watched "Green."

1 comment:

  1. I concur with your views. It is a privilege to watch any of Ms. Sabas-Gower's works. As you say, contemporary dance sometimes leaves you raising an eyebrow, wondering if you've missed the whole point. Ms. Sabas-Gower takes dance to a whole new level and takes the audience with her.