It’s the hands that draw one in. Telling something about an old world lost and a new one coming into being.
In a Q&A session query about yoga influence in her piece, Before After, for Whim W’Him‘s Shindig IV, choreographer Alice Klock said, “there was a lot of finger languaging.” That was more or less “random” she added, “but for me it adds an element to communication. Might be a yoga connection accidentally, but not put in on purpose.”
Alice began with the idea of form out of chaos, and the expressive hands and arms appear to be searching for new language to express altogether new experience.
In a CityArts review of Before After, Kaitlin McCarthy wrote, “Alice Klock combines idiosyncratic gestures with extreme physicality in her work Before After. Each impulse, whether a flicking of the hand or a dramatic fall to the floor, manifests instantly in the dancers’ bodies, creating a cinematic effect as if cutting between images, an emotional portrayal of missed connections.” To me, it seems as if any missed connections are more in the spirit of new connections being forged, experiments attempted where the answer is not yet known, where as much is learned by apparent failure as by obvious success. The dancers are discovering, or perhaps inventing, the rules and parameters of their strange new world. Or, in the words of Chris Heide for Chosen Magazine, “Before After, is a beautifully haunting depiction of the ending of one world and the beginning of another. The piece is filled with staccato, disjointed movement that evokes truly apocalyptic change. It’s a piece that represents the uncomfortable movement of any paradigm shift.”
Rich Smith, recommending Shindig IV in The Stranger, quoted Dance Magazine, where Zachary Whittenburg rated “Klock as one of their ’25 to Watch 2018,’ calling her work ‘densely dimensional, unpredictable, strangely graceful, and wild.’ Couldn’t agree more. Watching her dance, the laws of physics seem to change every 20 seconds.”
One of the Q&A questioners asked about the power of breath. Jane talked about emotion and breathing in dance. It’s easy to see how they can sometimes be at odds at moments of intensity. “The question is great,” she said. “Breathing calms, directs, helps me find things, It’s a release or activation, it enhances the movement. In Alice’s piece, we find each other using breath.”
“I like to use all the dancers equally,” Alice maintains. “They are our greatest resource.”
When she comes into the studio with new dancers, as for this Whim W’Him show, “I research what their geniuses are.” For her, story telling and imagining are “an important tool,” strengthening her experience, the dancers’ and that of the audience.*
*For more on Alice’s process working with the Whim W’Him dancers, see my endlessly inspiring thought – Alice Klock post of August 28, 2018.
Photo Credit: Stefano Altamura