Yasmeen Godder and a world gone mad

cinemabody’s blog

Last night I saw Israeli choreographer’s evening long-long piece, Singular Sensation, at The Kitchen Center For Video, Music and Dance (in New York City). I loved it. To me it was about something even more important and elusive than her stated theme: the current overload of our senses from the overload of technology,etc we experience. And while I persoally agree with her statements on this, I can’t articulate exactly what I think the piece is really “about”, but I’ll take a few stabs at it.

Part of the strength of Singular Sensation is that it’s not “about” something in any easy, conventional sense. Perhaps it’s “about” our desperate, disrupted, unnamable desire and efforts at contact our need for some kind of “glue’ to make sense of it all – communicating our own madness in a world gone mad. On one level the “glue” is intertwining simultaneous image events clustered and shifting, becoming progressively outrageous and sensation-al. On another level it’s the connection made through the constantly flowing and disrupted outpouring of movement, unpredictable yet coming from a root of passion. Roles are fluid and sexuality hard to define, but neither conventional or reversed. Elusive and wild both. Without judgement. The dancers can go from seemingly untrained natural-like movement, like children playing, to daringly flung virtuosity, but never technique for its own sake. They know just what they’re doing yet operate on the edge of something they can’t control.

Singular Sensation reminds me of the origins of Richard Foreman’s Ontological Hysrterical Theater. But Foreman’s Dada hysteria had a conceptual edge of distance. Godder’s is all involved hotness,and while there are men in her troupe, and they’re important, to me it’s very female.

As I was watching the performance I couldn’t help figuring out how I’d film it. It would be great to expand the space so that the camera could move freely among the events. To make the Dada/Surreal imagery cinematic would take a few directorial decisions, and a cinematic awareness on the part of the performers. Something she does that’s highly cinematic – instead of the choreographer making the performers into clones of herself, with the same body type, training and way of moving, Ms Godder uses them as individuals, with each contributing their individuality, their differences – hey, like a democracy – and like actors are used in cinema. Another cinematic thing: raw energy. Not the polished politeness of so much dance which somehow manages to distance us and deny the cathartic energy which is the life of dance.

This morning I woke up energized by Godder and her troupe’s singular sensation and instead of fragmenting in different directions, sat down and focused on writing about Singular Sensation.