Deborah Hay choreographed Fire to empty the dancer of previous perception. Adapted and performed by Ros Warby. Poem by Tim Hurst
Deborah Hay is committed to countering structure with the structure of infinitude.
Here in Austin, we return with her once again to experience the excellence of her movement, the excellence of her attention, the understanding of the full response of body in space.
Here before me is dancer, Ros, bared to basic white leotard and white head bandeau. White bare movement carries me where I knew not, to a clarity of line broken and unbroken, bent and rebent toward line of life. Stripped of intention, the bareness of life glows and shows clearly the stones on which we chew.
Dancer Ros’ eyes seek cells quirky pathways. Her unity of body quickly spotlight patterns of mind and body. Body parts wiggle out of habitual bridles interrupting movement patterns. Aberrant noises signal the escape from patterned movements hiding under the wires of dancer Ros’ cared for attention. Each body part is under examination and in the process mouth and cheeks and face and neck take a long unscripted journey through what must be reminiscent of a hurricane. Falls into a white abyss may follow and certainly songs.
Seeing, feeling, being, the chasm of my brain splays open letting whiteness spill inwards and outwards. The simplicity of the dancer Ros allowing all to be seen totally disarms me. Simply speaking these words, I must acknowledge that I as audience am being seen as well.
Sharing the space with the dancer Ros and with Deborah has the quality of the song she sings, an infinitude of clarity riding the moment asking only to see and to be seen. Where the dancer Ros travels can only be called dimensions or universes yet the simplicity of her sharing every process so visibly is inspiring. Dancer Ros takes us into the seen worlds beyond the cell to embrace the fractile, into the unimaginable connection of our ancestry with planetary molecules, and into the unseen worlds of which we would rather not speak.
Seems so absurd to say yet the simplicity of the human connection to life is visible here in the dancer Ros as she attends to all these universes within and outside herself. She assumes nothing, no absurdity, no importance, no comedy, no bondage to past present or future. And how can it be that all this simplicity can be seen.
The vulnerability of the dancer is complete. As audience, I the seer enter vulnerability completing some kind of union. The basis of the vulnerability is not knowing and yet knowing and attending to the complete spectrum of seen and unseen. The dancer’s vehicles of movement, stillness, and song give us the opportunity to stand in the moment together where our vulnerabilities guide us to listen and to see.
Within this vulnerability, Deborah is committed to breaking the patterns of mind and body. Dancer Ros moves seamlessly through attending to pattern, connecting to pattern, holding pattern in view, cleansing pattern, celebrating patterns release, testing new clean space, resting in new clean space, collapsing when necessary.
My memory can not hold the passing processes and grasps only a few images of awkwardness and clarity, moments of regurgitation or satisfied stillness.
Only songs hold a place in my memory. Somehow my brain comprehends the songs vulnerability, the open exploration, the balance of courage, fear, gentleness and boldness.
For me as audience, realizations and reflections break through constantly. The dance is insisting that my attention move through frozen patterns of my mind and body. In the visibility and vulnerability of the dance, my intentions are broken and I can not hang on to what is frozen and hardened within me. The dance is asking me to recalibrate at every level.
The feeling is like being on the ocean where I experience myself on one wave at a time. The memory of the wave melts into the memory of every wave. The immensity of the entire sea is overwhelming and calls me to recalibrate. I like the dancer send down echoes to the bottom of the sea. What resounds baffles me and opens me to vulnerability and exploration. With each new wave I choose to recalibrate, to regurgitate, or I crawl back in my cave to lick my cherished wounds so that I can reassure myself that I am in control. Only one look at the enormous waves of the ocean confirms that I am only a speck on a spectrum. So it is as I see Deborah’s dances. To cleanse or not to cleanse is always the question.
Dancer Ros as all dancers with Deborah Hay are claiming a necessity to enter life by sampling and savoring all reality known and not known, seen and not seen. As a willing audience participant, I can only respond with, “Thank you.”