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For Body And Light (2014 Frigid New York Festival)

by Karen Tortora-Lee on March 5, 2014

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For Body And Light

For Body And Light is so ethereal that to try and describe it flows beyond the bounds of a normal review. It’s almost as if what is expressed cannot be caught – or recreated … or defined with enough fluency to properly convey the experience of this breathtakingly beautiful production from TRAVAIL ROUGE now playing as part of the 2014 Frigid New York Festival.

For Body And Light is directed and choreographed by Stéphanie Morin-Robert in collaboration with spoken word and music artist Ian Ferrier.  Together they have created a work so mesmerizing, so hypnotic, so trance-inducing that one hour with this talented group of performers will not only bring you the type of peace and calm that one usually seeks out in, perhaps, a yoga studio or a church  – or in other places of meditation — but it will also have filled you with a longing to stop your own world for a little while and just … be.  With phrases like ”Rosary of thought”  this performance is filled with prayer – not to a god, however, but to a state of consciousness.

For Body And Light is not plot based, but there is no denying the story: the rich sound design, the dulcet spoken words and the echoing movement all take you to a place that is drenched in waves, fog, and other forms of sea and tide and tide-pool and ocean.

Have you ever sat by the sea in silent contemplation?  The water – at once blank and vast – suddenly takes on subtleties and shadings which speak to you, inviting you to simply stay present in the moment.  And suddenly the repetition is no longer endless and monotonous but rather lively and versatile and filled with possibility, even as it repeats its ancient progression as it always has and always will.  This is what it is like to watch For Body And Light.

As Ferrier describes a world of stars, of torchlight, of “beauty and strangeness” with wondrous creatures and the water climbing over the edge we watch as incredibly graceful, lithe and limber bodies mimic the water, riding the waves, being the waves.  They are twisting and churning in a beautiful, tortuous undulating symmetry.

There is a moment in For Body And Light when the dancers move together on the ground like creatures who are bonded by something timeless and ancient and unspoken.   Saturated in both bright light as well as shadow, bodies roil and sway in an echo of the sounds of the surf which are played gently underneath the softly intoned words of Ferrier.  As he speaks of imaginative worlds which dwell in tide pools and the shapes that move within them, of the life that is both ancient and pristine, our own corporeal frames seem to become lighter, less “mine” more universal. Watching this show, you feel both at one with the performance as well as completely alone in your own solitude.

So much light your mind is almost purged of darkness …

We’re not meant to live without shadows

The source of light is a type of pail which swings from a long rope and is raised and lowered as the movement dictates.  Often it swings forcefully casting unpredictable, unexpected layers of shadow-play.  Sometimes it is beamed on the swaying bodies carefully, the way a silent midnight searcher would move their flashlight on the beach in the hopes of discovering something wonderful without disturbing it.   Choreographer Morin-Robert works this light expertly, part Kuroko, part ensemble performer.  She moves the light (as do other dancers) and so the beam becomes another character – moving, engaging with the swaying bodies, leaving some in shadow and burning others in a stark high beam.

The words are both philosophical as well as straight-forward: take this speech at face value or let the journey of light and movement and atmosphere allow the words to become a metaphor for your life.  However you take it, it remains breathtakingly beautiful.

Movement performed by: Alexia Martel, Linnea Gwiazda, Allison Burns, Marie-Pier Gilbert and Marie-France Jacques

For Body And Light

Directed and choreographed by: Stéphanie Morin-Robert
Spoken word and music: Ian Ferrier

Remaining Performances:

Mar 05, 5:30PM
Mar 06, 10:15PM
Mar 07, 7:05PM

Click HERE for tickets

Running time: 1 h 0 min
Price: $10.00 – $15.00
Seating: General Admission

The Kraine Theater
85 E. 4th Street
New York , New York 10003
2nd and 3rd Ave

Horse Trade Theater Group will present the 8th Annual FRIGID New York Festival at The Kraine Theater (85 East 4th Street between 2nd Avenue and Bowery) and UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place between 1st Avenue and Avenue A) February 19-March 9. Tickets are available for purchase in advance at or by calling 212-868-4444. 

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

czandraNo Gravatar March 9, 2014 at 8:44 am

lovely, sensitive review

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