If you were at the season preview, you already saw this:
Ralph Lemon is an artist open about his process. Last summer he held an open rehearsal for the work-in-progress that would become How Can You Stay In The House All Day And Not Go Anywhere? The audience was invited afterwards to ask questions about How Can You Stay…?, even to be critical.
This openness—transparency of the work—extends to its very enunciation: a major section of How Can You Stay…? features pushing, pulling, and colliding as dance, which is clearly exhausting to the performers, but which reminds the audience of dance(rs) as labor(ers) and disconnects from any idea of a dance piece as finished commodity, ready for reproduction in performance spaces nationwide.
Lemon said in an interview with Shoko Letton (who is creating a non-documentary companion piece film for How Can You Stay…?) that “Relationships can create these collective vortexes, that are [more] powerful than a singular body and idea. So the work is very very much about that, the collective…” The dancers heave themselves against each other, but there is an interdependence and reliance on the pivotal support of each other’s material bodies.
The greatest challenge of this piece, as an audience member, might be in its final chapter, when bodies disappear and we are confronted instead by the corporality of the human voice, inscripting the stage and us with a ritualistic experience of lament. The anonymity of this duration (you’ll see what I mean) calls to mind a stanza from Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus:
“Jubilation knows and Longing grants—
only Lament still learns; with girlish hands
she counts the ancient evils through the nights.
But suddenly, unpracticed and askant,
she lifts one of our voice’s constellations
into the sky unclouded by her breath.”
Tickets are still available to Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night’s performances. The nights will include a reception with the artists, a Q & A with Senior Curator Philip Bither, and a post-show SpeakEasy, respectively. For more background info on How Can You Stay…?, check out the brochure created by the Congress on Research in Dance, which delves into the science fiction of the piece, among other things. Check back for a new episode of Talk Dance with Justin Jones and Ralph Lemon, to be posted next week. And don’t forget that Meditation, the coda of How Can You Stay…? will be live Sunday in the McGuire from 11:00 am-5:00 pm. AND that Ralph Lemon and collaborators are leading a workshop on Saturday from 1:00 pm-3:00 pm, $8.
New York Times arts critic Claudia LaRocca just said in her fall arts preview that “If I had to choose one show to see this fall, it would be How Can You Stay In The House All Day And Not Go Anywhere?”
Don’t miss it.
(photos courtesy Antoine Tempé)