Ballet Hispanico, Photo: Paula Lobo
Ballet Hispanico, Photo: Paula Lobo
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IMPRESSIONS OF: Donna Uchizono - longing two

IMPRESSIONS OF: Donna Uchizono - longing two

Published on June 16, 2010

Baryshnikov Arts Center and The Kitchen, New York, New York – June 1, 2010 at 7pm

Choreography: Donna Uchizono in collaboration with dancers
Dancers: Anna Carapetyan, Hristoula Harakas, Savina Theodorou, Donna Uchizono, and guest performers
Baryshnikov Arts Center and The Kitchen, New York, New York – June 1, 2010 at 7pm

© Hannah Krafcik 2010

Part 1:
I enter the Baryshnikov Arts Center performance space and immediately pause to take in the unsuspected staging. The space has been divided in half by a hallway of paper. Two long, white sheets of paper hang draped over bars, which are suspended from the ceiling and run parallel to the floor—the paper sheets graze the floor and extend up to my ribcage. This hallway divides the audience. Half of the patrons sit on one side, peering over its edge at the other half. I slide into my seat and stare at the people across the way. A fixture of neon lights hangs in the center of the paper hallway to my left. The lights dim, and the dance begins.
 
Photo by Paula Court

Two young dancers wearing what look like variations on synchronized swimming apparel—white, sleek leotards adorned with a bit of sparkle—begin to float in between the hallway. I watch their faces, heads, arms, shoulders pass over the paper’s edge. They flip their wrists gracefully; they glide. One gasps for air. They gently nuzzle their necks together. They make eye contact with the audience and hum or sing. They are lovely. Meanwhile, Donna Uchizono and Hristoula Harakas appear in the far right-hand side of the hallway and begin progressing ever so slowly in the direction of the neon light fixture, whilst the younger dancers flutter about them. James Lo’s sound design—much of which seemed as if it had been recorded at a desolate beach—resonates in the background, contributing to the aquatic texture of the dance. Uchizono touches her chin gently. When she arrives the light fixture and melts to the ground…
Transition: I am ushered onto a large white tour bus. The bus departs, headed for our next venue—The Kitchen. I enjoy the passing scenery, the sunset, and the gusting air-conditioning. A girl walks by with a jug of water, drinking from it and offering water to others. I decline.
We arrive at The Kitchen.
 
Part 2: I enter into The Kitchen’s performance space to the sound of church bells. The two younger women are dancing frantically—tirelessly—a circular, synchronized phrase. They disappear. Ambient noise swells, and I again pause to take in the space. The audience is seated on risers this time, facing a deep stage with neon lights scattered in one back corner. A huge white stream of fabric rises about and wraps the periphery of the space.
 
Photo by Paula Court

Uchizono is on the floor. She leans back on her elbows with her knees facing up. Harakas stands beside her, occasionally putting one leg into the air—her inverted extension appears to defy gravity. Uchizono rises and performs a micro-solo: she shakes, balances, and hunches. She makes herself look contorted and arthritic, aligning her body momentarily only to crumple over again.
 
Photo by Paula Court

Uchizono and Harakas dance side by side, quietly. The younger dancers enter, singing and dancing together. They slip between the neon lights in the corner, behind Uchizono and Harakas. Uchizono rests her chin on Harakas shoulder and then leans against her back for support. Uchizono opens her mouth and looks as if she is screaming in pain, but no scream can be heard—instead, I feel silent empathy through the pain in her facial expression. Darkness overtakes the space as Uchizono and Harakas walk upstage together with their bodies canted to one side. They become invisible…
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