AUDIENCE REVIEW: Finleigh Zack Dance Inc. presents "Another Meaningful Moment"
Finleigh Zack Dance Inc.
January 20, 2023
“Breathe in… and out.”
Finleigh Zack’s most recent show “Another Meaningful Moment” took a different approach to world building than most. Instead of reeling the audience in with astonishing feats of the human body that one may expect from a dance show, Finleigh focused in on the breath — a simple yet extremely effective approach.
To begin, three dancers take the stage and start to move to a guided meditation by Headspace. Each mover embodies a different quality of gestural movements, demonstrating various mental states that one may experience when trying to meditate. This invocation instantly sparked a connection between the performers and the audience, creating a relatable environment to sink into and connect with. Not to mention that the house lights were left on for the performance, creating an intimate environment of reaction, connection, and trust. Upon entry, audience members received a small booklet to capture any notes, thoughts, feelings, or doodles throughout the show. Having the house lights up made it possible to journal but also forged a connection uncommon even in black box spaces. I even felt a bit exposed, not shrouded by the protective shawl of darkness, but the performers assured me through their movements and meaningful gazes that all was well and that this would be another meaningful moment I could carry with me beyond the walls of the theater.
I was moved by Finleigh’s unique choreographic style which combines gesture and play. The dancers genuinely seemed grounded and connected to one another through the work, as though they’d shed an external facade and allowed us in. I was interested in the theme of connection, both through physical touch and emotional relation. It was apparent that hours of choreographic research and collaboration had gone into this work, creating what seemed like effortless fluidity and ease. Additionally, I appreciated how Finleigh’s movement allowed each dancer to breathe within their own style of moving. Even when moving in unison, it seemed like ideas were being exchanged and echoed but weren’t identical.
The cast was made up of three dancers: Rachel Calabrese, Catheryn Clifford, and Sara Fox. Though Finleigh Zack Dance Inc. is made up of only three dancers, Finleigh is not limited by numbers. She pushes the form of the trio to new heights, exploring moments of unison, duet, solo, and more throughout the work. My favorite moment in the show was when all three dancers came down stage as though they were about to confront the audience, but they each placed their hand on their chest and just started to breathe slowly and with intention. This moment of near stillness brought me chills and gave me a true moment to reflect before the dancers began to ride a wave of organic improvised movement. This exploration of interconnectedness even through tumultuous shaking was extremely powerful and left me on the edge of my seat. By the end of the evening I still found myself wanting more, to continue to get lost in the meaningful dreamscape FZD had created for us.
I was left swimming with thoughts but it all boiled down to a brief verse I jotted down in my journal during the final section of the show:
Hold now, be still
Breath caught in my lungs
Breath held in your arms
And I notice
There is room for love
Past the lack
And I know
Our paths will cross again.