If anyone wants to discuss Reggie Wilson and Andréya Ouamba’s The Good Dance: Dakar/Brooklyn, I think I’ll start things off with a question:
What do you go to dance for—and to what extent did this dance give you that?
And I’ll give a partial answer. One of the things I go to dance for is kinesthetic pleasure—the feeling of the imagined body, the mental map of the body, moving along with the performers on stage. You’d think after five years of being a dance critic, not to mention twenty-five years of dancing, my system would be jaded, responsive only to the most unusual or extreme movements. But as far as I can tell, the kinesthetic sense doesn’t work like that. It’s one of the basic, inexhaustible pleasures of life, like sex or eating. Any time I see an arm reaching to the sky, urge spreading out through the ribcage, I feel the same thrill. Even the minute, waving permutations of a hand are magic.
The Good Dance definitely gave me that—all those sweeps and reaches, plus tiny engines of fine-grained coordination. But the pleasure wasn’t unadulterated. Wilson and Ouamba intentionally (I believe) cut through that pleasure in order to find another aspect of the dance.
I’ll stop there. But what other aspects were you looking for? And what did you find?