“Bindings” by David Jhave Johnston, et. al.
This powerfully expressive nonverbal poem builds on the title, with the dancers’ actions and movements in front of a video produced by Jhave. The first meaning of bindings is clear as the dancers come on stage boung by strips of fabric or are bound by other dancers. This act is portrayed in different ways— forcefully, gently, voluntarily, but never cruelly— yet the soft materials seem very effective in handicapping the dancers, who continue to dance oddly, as if exploring their new bodily conditions. As the piece progresses they are all freed, yet this seems to bring no solace to their bodies, which continue moving awkwardly. Why?
The answer lies in the video and its slow process of coming into focus until it clearly depicts an important facet of the title’s meanings. The last part of the video packs an emotional wallop, as the concept behind the interpretive dance comes into sharp focus and ambiguities become resolved.
This piece is very much in tune with Jhave’s poetics, and awareness of his goals and strategies enhances appreciation of this piece and how he uses video, music, and dancers to write a poem on that stage. Click on his name below to access more postings about his work.
Choreography: Brianna Jahn
Dancers: Kate Kenyon, Ashley Peters, Holli Simme, Samantha Will