Bodies in (Public) Space

This dance work morphs, mixes, and disorients constructs of what's typical and atypical in movement

Exhibitionism

Bodies in (Public) Space

Various locations, starting at South Congress at Monroe
www.hydeparktheatre.org
Final performances: Saturday, Feb. 1, 1pm; Sunday, Feb. 2, 3pm
Running time: 45 min.

South Congress and Monroe, Saturday, 1pm. We were lined up against the building behind Cap Metro's sleek new bus stop, watching four black-clad performers: one folded at the waist over the railing, one crouching behind it, one raising one crutch toward the sky, one staring at an imaginary watch. None of us were waiting for a bus. We were waiting to see what happened next, and the performers were waiting for our contexts to expand enough to let them in.

It happened, via the slow, subtle changes in their vignette, familiarity being the great leveler. When you repeat a word over and over, it loses the sharpness of its meaning, freeing you to notice its sounds, its qualities, your accent. When typical body positions, movement qualities, and utterances cohabit long enough with atypical ones, the sharpness of "difference" weakens, broadening what we effortlessly accept. Bodies in (Public) Space, conceived by Lucy Kerr, morphs, mixes, and disorients constructs of what's typical and atypical. Kerr's performers – whose first rodeo this was not, as most of them practice and perform mixed-ability dance with Body Shift (a collaboration between Forklift Danceworks and VSA Texas) – were intense and open.

When they left the bus stop, we followed, in a sidewalk trek that scooted by tables at Güero's and cruised by the interminable queue outside Hopdoddy, all the while disarranging locomotion and the language associated with it. Pauses for movement exploration and rule-breaking – dressing in public, crumbling muffins, sharing apparatus – suggested someday-freedoms from the constructs of "normal." Wishes aside, it still felt trite when an able-bodied performer appropriated the movements and behaviors of disability. What's most interesting is not what's different or the same, but what is new.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More FronteraFest 2014
Change of Venue
Change of Venue
This year, FronteraFest is takin' it to the streets – and a chapel, a bookstore, a home ...

Robert Faires, Jan. 10, 2014

More Arts Reviews
<i>Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents</i> by Isabel Wilkerson
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
In her second book, the author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines and breaks down the unacknowledged social structure baked into our country

Rosalind Faires, Nov. 13, 2020

<i>Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir</i> by Natasha Trethewey
Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir by Natasha Trethewey
In her book, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet is a daughter who returns to her mother's crime scene to reclaim herself

Barbara Purcell, Nov. 6, 2020

More by Jonelle Seitz
Blue Lapis Light's <i>Belonging, Part One</i>
Blue Lapis Light's Belonging, Part One
The work's dancers, whether on the ground or sailing through the air, were beacons of human hope and empathy

Sept. 28, 2018

Aztlan Dance Company's <i>The Enchilada Western: Texas Deep Fried</i>
Aztlan Dance Company's The Enchilada Western: Texas Deep Fried
In the troupe's latest choreodramas, dancing desperados persisted and partied

Aug. 31, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Bodies in (Public) Space, FronteraFest 2014, Lucy Kerr, Body Shift, Forklift Danceworks, VSA Texas

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle