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waiting for a passenger / ship go to sea

I sat, waiting for change, and waiting for stillness, and right when I eased into the comfort of passing time, change or stillness arrived. This was the road I traveled during Inkyung Lee’s work, “waiting for a passenger/ ship go to sea.”

The dancers worked their bodies like mathematical equations. They did not appear as emotionally exaggerated, nor did they take on the form of heavily weighted modern dancers. In their white sneakers and ankle socks, they were more like 1960s school children memorizing lines of poetry and ballet positions.

Just as I began to find comfort in the mechanical repetition of their movements, something incredibly human would happen. The jumping would stop and you would hear their heavy and unsteady breathing, or two dancers would join hands and look into the eyes of the audience, or a smile would appear on a dancer’s face as they began to circle their hips.

The movement had a steady and consistent pulse without syncopation. Their bodies become visible metronomes as their leg swings up for one, lunge out for two, three, and turns on four. The metronome drives the dancers to physical exhaustion, and the audience into a calm acceptance of the repeating patterns.

The work began with Inkyung Lee herself, and dancer, Lacee Garcia entering the gallery. Lee was visible in front of the gallery panels, and Garcia hid herself from the audience behind a panel. The two performers then began to jump at a steady rhythm. This continued for what seemed to be half of the hour long performance. Normally, steady repetition would phase from consciousness overtime, but I was constantly aware of their steady physical exertion while the other four dancers moved around the space.

The sonic and spatial relationships were more intriguing than the movements themselves. The voices of the dancers counting, the synchronized jumping on opposite end of the room, the heavy breathing, the recordings of Europeans talking about Americans, France, Lifts, and whatever else came into the sonic design. Spatially, the movements were aligned like the rectangular patterns of the gallery, but the bodies in space constantly shifted between congruent and non-congruent angles.

In the program, Inkyung Lee says, “This work has been a process of falling in love with (her dancers).” Love, trust, and honor between the creator and the dancers generated an environment of movers willing to physically exert their bodies to exhaustion. During the second half of the performance, Lee took on a motherly character serenading her children on the ground, and this character seems to represent the relationship between the performance group as whole, and the idea that after great work, comes great transcendence.

Photography Courtesy of Inkyung Lee

Review by Julie Akerly

February 27, 2014

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