Dance Assessment: Megan Kendzior’s ‘Witness,’ a Dance Invoking the Holocaust

December 21st, 2013

Ruby Washington/The New York Instances

Witness Lindsay Head thinking about footwear, an apparent reference to Auschwitz, in Megan Kendzior’s perform at Danspace at St. Mark’s Church.

At the coronary heart of Megan Kendzior’s dance “Witness” is a query: How can we notice atrocities and seem absent? The production, an exploration of indifference and trauma, was impressed by her analysis into the Holocaust and her pay a visit to to the Auschwitz demise camp. Her equipment are bodies — fifteen dancers, to be exact — the plaintive sound of the accordion and many pairs of sneakers, which refer to the horrifying area of victims’ footwear at Auschwitz.

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Done on Thursday at Danspace Task at St. Mark’s Church, “Witness” begins with the solid scattered all through the sanctuary. The 1st seems we hear are gradual, regular footsteps as dancers decide up pairs of shoes, lined up on the ground, and then cross the floor to location them on a pile of clothes, a makeshift memorial.

As Terrence Karn plays the accordion, ultimately shifting into the space’s balcony so that the wistful songs envelops the stage, Lindsay Head, a fragile kid-female in a pale blue costume, is poised in a spotlight on the altar. Kneeling, she strikes her arms challenging on the floor later, rising up, she lifts her arms overhead, as if standing before a firing squad, her shadow spookily mirrored on the wall guiding her.

Ms. Head, a loner and a spirit, is the witness. As a team of men regularly lurch to and absent from the pile of footwear — they stagger with a recurring sample of awkward leg swings and sideways somersaults — Ms. Head hangs her head mournfully. (At a single position, she picks up a pair of little children’s boots and holds them to her chest.) When half the forged leaves, walking somberly off the phase, the remaining dancers eliminate their sneakers, an ominous sign. In the finish they lose their garments and wander across the stage, exiting by way of a doorway that could only direct to a gasoline chamber.

In “Witness,” Ms. Kendzior contrasts stillness with spastic eruptions: kicks, stomps, falls to the ground. But her subject matter issue is tough, and she does herself no favors by currently being overly literal. Although the dancer Sarah Konner is in a position to demonstrate what it’s like to be swallowed up by ache without having showing up mawkish, most of the performers go through room as if they’re examining off emotions: Fingers are held lower as they walk with tender, fearful steps. They shiver. They stare imploringly.

“Witness” is way too external: We see it, but we really don’t really feel it.

Megan Kendzior’s “Witness” will be done by means of Saturday at Danspace Venture at St. Mark’s Church, 131 East 10th Street, East Village 866-811-4111, danspaceproject.org.

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