Choreographed by Nina Haft & Company
It’s been a while, again.
On the recommendation of friends, I walked into the Joe Goode Annex. Before any dancing started, I saw this:
As I took my seat, I felt immersed by the visual and sonic representations of water. The title, King Tide, refers to what happens when the moon and sun align to bring about what is more commonly known as high tide. This theme of water was reflected in all aspects of the dance The three sections made references to water’s action: “ebb & flow”; “almanac”; and “shrinking ground.” Haft’s program notes referred to the crisis in our watersheds and climate change. The brief dancer biographies describe not their dance credentials, but their connections to water. Haft undertook extensive research (a 3 year process) to make King Tide, which was evident in what I saw on Thursday night.
The first section, “ebb & flow,” was beautifully composed and performed. The movement (and sound) expressed not only the ebb and flow of water, but also of time and breath. It all seemed deliberately slow even when the movement quickened. I found myself with time to consider how human bodies are also ebbing and flowing as the dancers breathed with their limbs, extending their reach out into the landscape. For me, there was something very satisfying to slowing down; a different way of being with time. For the second section, I was brought down to the perimeter of the stage with about ½ of the audience. Sitting so close it was not hard to notice the strength between the two dancers in “almanac.” It was striking to track their orbits and how they responded to each other. The last section, “shrinking ground” was aptly titled. The faces, movements, and lighting all contributed to a sense of closing in, of being pushed back by some force. The diversity of bodies on the stage added to the human realness of the piece. Sometimes when a piece gets worked on for a long time it looses its edge but this is not the case with King Tide. There is a maturity of thought happening not only in the choreography, but also between the dancers. I greatly value this kind of thinking through movement and the research that sits behind the piece. I wonder what’s next for Haft. Next time I won’t wait 3 years.