The Supper Dance
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As if with champion skill on thin ice whirling. As a dancer or skater seems, while dancing to. So Peter moved like a dancer or skater through. The sounds of something else from somewhere else—. Previous in Issue Next in Issue. More Poems by David Ferry. A Night-Time River Road.
To Sally. Photographs from a Book.
See All Poems by this Author. See a problem on this page? More About This Poem. About this Poet. Read Full Biography. Quick Tags. The title, Supper , refers to a farewell dinner, the last meal in the home of those who are about to journey out of their country of birth to a make a new home elsewhere. There are many stories of migration with striking common experiences of life and death consequences. From the beginning of history people have migrated; it is at the soul of human evolution.
Supper takes the movement of migration and transforms it into art, into a dance that transcends its literal origins yet is grounded in them. In performance, the art of the movement of human migration is revealed. How long do you plan to stay in the building and why? Have you ever joined a terrorist organization? Have you ever been in jail? What does it take to cross from one border to another? The venue, the Icebox Project Space at Crane Arts, lends itself to the barren, inhospitable qualities of a large holding cell, or other in-between spaces, real or abstracted: a white cube that suggests a non-destination, perhaps a desert, perhaps a living room, perhaps a place off in the far horizon.
It is ideal for surveillance—from any angle you can observe it all. There exists no possibility of fleeing or disguising oneself.
Supper Dance - Review of Midleton Park Hotel
But, as an in-between place can become anything you want it, the performance space also lends itself to dreams, shadows, beauty, intimacy. Large tables become trucks, platforms, and walls, train cars, with intricate entrances, exits, and forming barriers that dancers must navigate and dance on, over, under, and around. Paper abounds, a reminder of the mounds of necessary documents prevalent in the lives of immigrants. Fluctuating from constrained to celebratory, from violent to supportive, from terror to adventure, Supper explores noisy departures, bumpy beginnings, bodies exhausted by gravity, contorted by the act of balancing and being suspended in the nether world of being other.
Supper ends with audience members and dancers coming together at a dinner table for a large communal meal. Each section of the live work—entrance, performance, dinner—engages audiences in sensory, emotional, and social experiences.
Dining and Dancing, Live Music, Swing and Jazz NYC
But above of all, audiences will witness an evocative, carefully crafted work of art that turns the migration experience into an art form, an exhilarating torrent of movement and tensions. Creating Supper , I am driven to fully capture the physical and emotional components of this experience: to generate a performance that reaches beyond the individual immigration story to the collective experience of many people who are dislocated by choice or by necessity.
Choreographer Silvana Cardell was drawn to the theme of immigration because it is deeply personal territory that is also so connected to a worldwide experience. The task became to transform the substance, the stories, and movement of migration into art—to look anew at this experience through the prism of movement, sound, and image.
Supper takes on a subject that may be the most important human rights and social justice issue of contemporary society, and brings it to the creative realm of dance. Dance provides a powerful perspective on the physical and emotional conditions of the immigrant experience—because the immigrant experience is defined by physical placement, or displacement. My body as well as my experience as a migrant is in constant change, moved by forces that are out of my control.
The immigrant lives in the overlap of cultures, and strives to make a home away from home. For immigrants home is a transient concept and recreating your home in a new country or place can become a lifetime enterprise. Living in the overlap can be alternately debilitating and exhilarating—an exciting place where you exist with more than one cultural perspective. They stretch their abilities, physical and mental, balancing their lives upon an existence of in betweeness, where secure footholds are scarce. In between visas, long waits for permissions to work, to travel, explaining trips, short or long stays—in short, a nerve breaking process where your freedom of choices are constantly being questioned.
She found it is very intense to experience life where so many people trespass the border illegally. Cardell has spoken to many immigrants, listening to their stories, finding the commonalities of the individual journeys and stories of passage. In collecting these stories Cardell has interacted with people that might have never seen a dance performance.
Two of the dancers performing Supper are themselves migrant children, one brought from Cuba on one of the Marielitos boats, which sank three times before arriving to Miami and one from Mexico as toddlers. Migration is movement to achieve a better future, escape danger, to make a living. The United States is still very admired by people throughout the world, admired for the creativity, principles of freedom, opportunity and inclusion.
The immigration experience stretches a person into many contradictory positions where the destination you dream of and admire can also be your adversary.
Christmas Ballroom, Latin and Sequence American Supper Dance
Yet people risking their lives and freedom to immigrate, why would this be worth it? Risking getting trapped in between politics, in between cultures, a life in limbo. What is the initial motivation? Is this a leap of faith? The dance explores that moment of trespassing, the physical and emotional entanglement that derives of one decision, a leap of faith, this is the common experience that drives Supper, People on the Move. Artistically, it marks a return to a pre-immigrant place of grand production.
Before moving to Philadelphia my work was large: in Buenos Aires I founded an accredited dance school and owned and ran a theater, hosting national and international artists including myself. As an artist, I need to return to that level of production.