Related Features


Your support helps us cover dance in New York City and beyond! Donate now.

IMPRESSIONS: Rachel Gill's "The Eight Positions or Could This Go On Forever?" at Arts On Site

IMPRESSIONS: Rachel Gill's "The Eight Positions or Could This Go On Forever?" at Arts On Site
Kristen Hedberg/ IG @kristen.hedberg

By Kristen Hedberg/ IG @kristen.hedberg
View Profile | More From This Author

Published on May 14, 2024
Rachel Gill (facing us) and Chelsea Hecht. Photo: Anna Witenberg

Choreography, Video and Text: Rachel Gill
Performers: Chelsea Hecht and Rachel Gill
Video Performer: Gwendolyn Knapp
Music/Sound: L'Île re-sonante by Éliane Radigue, The Psychologically Ultimate Seashore (16rpm) by Environments, Slowed-Down Solo Whale and Three Whale Trip by Frank Watlington

Date: May 4, 2024

In The Eight Positions or Could This Go On Forever?, Rachel Gill and Chelsea Hecht demonstrate intention and spontaneity. Throughout their 35-minute duet, which oscillates through choreography, improvisation, video, and text, they remain acutely aware of one another’s choices and energy. The rich landscape they create — fast-paced, authoritative moments contrasted against slower, tender connections — serves as a testament to their characters’ trusting partnership, allowing the set and the unplanned to blend indiscernibly.

The two enter individually, but it quickly becomes clear that the piece emphasizes togetherness, and the inevitability of reconnection after separation. The beginning feels like the calm before a storm, with Rachel lying center-stage in darkness. Her feet strike the marley insistently. The sound of lapping waves accompanies this image, as does a large, projection screen that hangs upstage.

Gwendolyn Knapp (on video), Rachel Gill (left) and Chelsea Hecht (right). Photo: Anna Witenberg

Chelsea hops onstage from the downstage left corner, purposely allowing audible landings to her jumps, before traversing around the stage on forced-arched feet. Rachel rises, dancing along her own pathway, and the duo suddenly arrives side-by-side. Rachel tugs Chelsea, and they descend to the floor, the transition smooth and swift. The atmosphere shifts as their movements slow.

In a way that feels exploratory and tender, the pair navigates the eight different positions a duo can create in relation to one another (such as face to face, back to back, back to face, etc.). Each arrangement occurs unpredictably yet naturally. The flow of it all offers a curiosity of how two bodies can connect, and what feelings and energies they can create together. Are they meeting for the first time? Are they connecting with another body for the first time?

Rachel Gill and Chelsea Hecht. Photo: Anna Witenberg

Videos of seemingly unrelated scenes project offering something whimsical, emphasizing the humanness of the duo’s movements. We see a floating jellyfish, a piece of glass against green leaves, and a blonde, long-haired character (performed by Gwendolyn Knapp) commuting on the subway. A new scene displays Gwendolyn seated on a bench next to a beach. Narration echoes: “I made my way from the Pacific to the Atlantic… I took a seat on the bench… I spoke to my dead Grandmother… [she told me to] enjoy the beach [and] get on with my life…”

The video ends, and the music morphs into two tracks from Frank Watlington’s album Songs of the Humpback Whale, the sounds of water and whales increasing in volume and insistency. The duo dictates the rhythm; their energy builds, their movements quicken. The meetings and separations flow organically, and the energy feels playful.

Video sentences. Photo: Anna Witenberg

Short sentences project on the screen: “Two are not one,” “Civilization is noisy,” “Do not muscle it,” and one that perhaps sums up the work best: “Language spoils. It falls out of your mouth.” Without words, the pair establishes a deeply orchestrated exchange.

In Gill's  Eight Positions or Could This Go On Forever? seemingly unrelated elements speak to the Rachel and Chelsea's shared curiosity of each other.  Deliberateness and care are constants of the work.  No matter what pathways  their spontaneous play takes them on, they continue to gravitate to one another.

Gwendolyn Knapp (on video) , Chelsea Hecht (left) and Rachel Gill (right). Photo: Anna Witenberg

The Dance Enthusiast Shares IMPRESSIONS/our brand of review, and creates conversation.
For more IMPRESSIONS, click here.
Share your #AudienceReview of performances. Write one today!

The Dance Enthusiast - News, Reviews, Interviews and an Open Invitation for YOU to join the Dance Conversation.

Related Features

More from this Author