This amazing thing happened at the end of Heather Kravas’ Visions of Beauty tonight. After a rigorous, often gorgeous durational performance, the 9 performers were all clustered in one corner standing in releve, each one leaving the cluster, coming to center for a bow, and then exiting the stage. When a dancer needed support to stay elevated, he would reach out to his neighbor, holding hands or onto each other’s arms. Long pauses between each one. Like minutes. People started to leave, other shows to get to, friends to meet, totally get it.
By the time there were three performers left on stage, there were only a few of us left in the house. A man in the front row came and sat in between me and another remainer and reached out to hold our hands. Such a beautiful, simple gesture that he left his seat to perform. 3 dancers supporting each other, 3 witnesses supporting each other.
I missed my next performance and I’m sad about that, but it felt good to see something through to the end. It felt good to actively choose to stay every minute. It felt good to hold hands with a stranger. And I got to cheer for Andrew Champlin in all his glorious presence.
It’s so easy to be passive. So easy for that man to stay in his seat, or Andrew to just call it quits when they started setting up a reception all around him. But I think we can resist the easy, look for the places where some active gesture is aching to be found. The three of us – one from Seattle, one from Montreal, one from Chicago – were the last ones to go, supported by each other, drawing strength from the dancer.