Review: “Blinking” at FirstWorks
Monday, October 18, 2010
Jamie Jewett, the Providence-based choreographer and director of Lostwax Productions, has placed this squarely in the center of "Blinking," his new provocative and voyaging piece that combines dance, video projection and music, in a premiere run as part of the FirstWorks 2010 Festival.
The full-length performance piece in five sections marries the movements of six female dancers with blinks of varying kinds rendered in breathtaking video projections that fill a looming screen and sometimes crawl and slide along the stage. What begins the piece - a seemingly casual video of women watching two young boys cavort in a museum lobby space (that of the RISD Museum's Chace Center, in fact) - closes in on the arresting eyes of Crystal Gandrud, as she watches the children. Her eyes, as luminous as those in a 17th century Dutch oil, fill the screen, as live dancers enter and inhabit spirited movement clearly emulating the boyish gestures of play projected behind them.
Visions behind the eyelid
But it's more than that. Soon Gandrud's eyes are projected downward onto a large, pliant circular scrim that dancers carry, slide, and fling around the space. The eyes of the mother, the watchful eyes, become part of the play. Another
There are many arresting moments like this in "Blinking," and Jewett and his musical collaborator R. Luke DuBois (who created original soundscapes for the piece) have compellingly combined movement, projection, and music to braid in a seamless plait.
From eyes in a museum, to glancing through windows and in mirrors in a car (and the rhythm of a turn-indicator taking over) to the blinks of virtual fireflies, the piece reflects and refracts these small rhythms into large, compelling life.
And yet, perhaps the most compelling section of "Blinking" may emanate from eyes closed in sleep ("one long blink," Jewett has called it). Here, as a projected Gandrud sleeps in perfect stillness as backdrop, a dreamy duet unfurls between a live sleeper and her doppelganger. It's one of the piece's most sensual sections, and a fantastic realization of what happens when our eyes close.
"Blinking" finishes its run Saturday night at the Pell-Chafee Performance Center in two shows at 7:30 and 9:30pm. For more information, see the FirstWorks Web site and get tickets via ArtTix, here.
- “Coming Out” Exhibit at URI’s Feinstein Campus
- Jamie Jewett’s “Blinking” at FirstWorks
- Review: Pilobolus Opens FirstWorks Festival
- FirstWorks Festival Line-up Announced