Ballet Hispanico, Photo: Paula Lobo
Ballet Hispanico, Photo: Paula Lobo

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Sarah Skaggs is The New Ecstatic

Published on November 30, -0001

"The New Ecstatic" opens Danspace Projects Fall 2013 Season

Sarah Skaggs has always been drawn to ecstacy and spirituality. In the early 1990's she explored the joy and spirituality of non-proscenium work by creating Higher Ground, a dance piece that that merged planned performance with a social dance party. Today we talk about immersive art works as if they are a brand new discovery, but Skaggs was inviting audiences to be a part of  her work back in 1993.

A Minute in rehearsal with Sarah Skaggs Dance

Travels to Bali and Indonesia were  monumental to this choreographer's personal evolution and explorations of art. "In  Bali and Indonesia ... I was really taken away by how there is not a word for “art”. Art and life and spirituality all mix together. That was a big paradigm shift."

Higher Ground

To open Danspace Project's Fall Dance Season, performers Emie Hughes, Meredith Fages and Joanna Kotze will dance dance excerpts from Higher Ground.

The New Ecstatic is re-think of what ecstatic dancing can be in a post- September 11th world. This premiere, performed by  Skaggs and Cori Kresge draws from various vocabularies and cultural artifacts such as the 13th-century French labyrinth at Chartres; the medieval dance form Danse Macabre; the woodcuts of Albrecht Durer; Martha Graham's Steps in the Street; and Joseph Beuys's social sculpture, a utopian vision of the artist's role in transforming society.

Sarah Skaggs on Ecstatic Dancing

"After 9/11, it was a time in my life where I started to reconsider, I wanted to keep dancing, really dancing more purely, if you will. Running a dance company has its own  headaches in terms of constantly managing. I attended  graduate school, a really good program (ADF at Hollins) and  took a more philosphical, quieter relationship to dance."

Sarah Skaggs on Where She Comes From and What She's Passing on

The evening also includes documentary footage of Skaggs's 9/11 - A Roving Memorial, a movement installation danced on the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 and documented by filmmaker Heidi Scheuermann. Joining the film screening will be a cameo appearance of twenty-five dancers from the film.

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