This Saturday I was an usher at the UN/Stable Landscape performance. The work is collaboration between JoAnna Mendl Shaw’s company, The Equus Projects, and Carl Flink’s company, Black Label Movement. It also featured some of the BDF students! Woo!
The blazing day seemed to not bother the dancers or the horses, as all the performers had a simultaneous graceful elegance and wild abandonment while tackling the huge pasture, paddock, and boulder that defined the farm. The opening image was especially resonant, with the BDF students spanning over the vast hill in wind swept, floor-length evening gowns. Their simple, strong movement and dress contrasted nicely with the running and diving of the all red-clad Black Label Movement dancers.
The horses easily performed all of their movements on cue, circling and galloping in harmony with the dancers. They barely noticed the 200+ audience members while contacting with the dancers. Or if they did, they seemed to not mind being watched. Especially memorable was a moment of contact between three of the horses and BLM dancer Eddie Oroyan, which was too genuine and spontaneous to have been choreographed. That moment, for me, was a highlight and testament to the fun of improvisation.
Kudos to all of the performers, Flink, and Mendl Shaw for a thoughtful and distinguished performance. What a feat for being created in two short weeks!