OF RUINS OR SOMETHING
LAUREN GRACE BAKST
An ending. Two empty, grey chairs. Effie sits in one and I sit in the other. Effie knits for an extended amount of time while I repeat the phrase, “There are an infinite number of ways to get down and get back up again.” (Effie would knit every rehearsal, now we have a shawl.)
Sitting side by side, each half holds the other. We get down and we get back up again, but the undercurrent is always a crossing. Moving through and under and over at the same time that everything is going up and going down, falling apart and coming together, coming together and falling apart. In our own ways, we get down and we get back up again. Infinite tragedies and small joys abound within this simplicity, full of potential for something I don’t know.
The piece has these things: kitchen timers, a sheet, two chairs, yarn, knitting needles and a television. The objects’ echoes are domestic, feminine. Let’s leave some room for these ghosts—I live them everyday and I wonder how they will inform this dance. On the television screen, images repeat, reverse, speed up and slow down in silence: an iceberg crumbles, women soldiers perform training exercises and my grandmother speaks. You cannot hear her. She gestures emphatically with her hands. There are an infinite number of ways to get down and get back up again. These cycles persist. Histories, fictions and narratives unfold and collide. This is the constant; this is the context. The landscape of skin. The ground always shifting. My grandmother’s hands are scarred but they also have the power to heal. If we created new myths, what would they look like?
For the first third of the piece, Brandon is curled up under a baby-blue satin sheet. Rihanna’s “We Found Love” comes on a little too loud, and Brandon rises. He shows his ankles; he shows his sneakers. Brandon’s spine undulates from within the sheet in slow motion. Impressions form in the fabric. Sheet wraps around neck, breath, wrist, hip. He is a freak—and it is strange and violent and familiar. Effie’s hands pull her legs across the floor. I slowly sink into a grand plié. These are difficult positions.