Chavi Bansal’s quartet is both nurturing and dangerous: holy and spiritual, essential for survival, but also destructive and deadly. Those contrasts reflect the contrasts in her movement: slow and suspended, her quartet of dancers can seem submerged. Elsewhere, they are undulating and whipping hair wildly as if to dry it, or bouncing as if to break the surface. Throughout, her use of common gestures is complemented with movement from Kalaripayatt, an Indian martial art and fighting system that she has studied along with Bharatnatyam, Bollywood, and Indian Contemporary dance. (Bansal gives a post-performance talk on incorporating the martial art into her work after the 2 pm show on Sat., Nov. 9.)
Through small meditative movements, two dancers quietly grieve of “the ongoing need to be near someone, and the memory of what it was like to be near someone who’s now gone.” And like the process of adjusting to life after loss, the movement in to be near you is extended and unhurried, imbued with gestures from daily life but ultimately a reflection.
Master storyteller and choreographer Aysha Upchurch, guides us in reflection of home as both a literal place, but also a feeling and a destination, one sought-after by people who live transient lives. Inspired by her childhood home in St. Louis and “the beautiful things I got growing up in that community,” Upchurch says, “it’s also about having to move to other places, the memories of the places where you grew up, and how we hold onto the love, fondness and discomfort of a home that no longer exists.”
Whitney Schmanski’s intensely intimate and sensual duet is danced to live piano and explores emotional and physical limits of intimacy – how close and how far away from each other two individuals can be. Schmanski says her goal is to portray all sides of a relationship. “I want to show the playfulness between individuals on one side of the spectrum, and the heavier depths each of them faces on the other side,” she says. “There’s a serious tone to every relationship, but we’ve been working, musically, to make it joyful and playful.” The music for world premiere is an original score composed and played by Yang Bao.