Ballet Hispanico, Photo: Paula Lobo
Ballet Hispanico, Photo: Paula Lobo
The Dance Enthusiast

Sarah Skaggs is The New Ecstatic

Christine Jowers/Follow @cmmjowers on Instagram

By Christine Jowers/Follow @cmmjowers on Instagram
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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  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 participate in 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."
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.

" 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 that . I went to  do an MFA to graduate school to a really good program ADF: Hollinsm and I took a more philosphical, quieter relationship to dance after that."
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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