Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dancing With MARTA

Atlanta, Georgia, the middle of July: At the Lindbergh MARTA station, the daily mob of wage slaves heads off to their jobs to face the unrelenting tedium of another day of work.

The monotony of the routine is relieved only by the tender embrace of a loved one.

More relief is sometimes found in the tender embraces of many new-found loved ones.

The instant intimacy elevates the crowd, lifting them above the drudgery and despair of their daily lives.

But, wait! - What fresh relief is this heading our way?

Oh look, it's those dancers from the gloATL company, last seen at their May Day performance at the Goat Farm, putting on a free performance today out in the public realm.

The talented gloATL dancers mixed choreographed moves with improvisation, incorporating the ever-changing parameters of the public space and the crowd around them into an original, one-of-a-kind, spontaneous expression of sheer artistry.

They engaged the crowd, not through confrontation or pandering for applause but through eye contact, holding your gaze while they danced until you first looked away.  At one point during their performance, I locked eyes with one dancer and we stayed there for at least five minutes, her going through the same moves over and over, and me, still, quiet, and unmoving, both looking directly into each other's eyes.  We were less than a foot apart, and I could hear her panting breath.  This sudden and unexpected intimacy might have been uncomfortable in other situations, but I was moved both by the fearlessness and the commitment of the dancer.  I finally realized that she wasn't going to re-join the dance troupe, who were dancing on without her, until I broke the stare, and it wasn't fair to her as the odds were all in my favor (never get in a stare-down contest with a Zen Buddhist), so I finally broke the gaze and she danced away.

Anyway, it's wonderful that this city still has an artistic community willing to take creative chances and to put  on performances like this.  I took many more pictures, but to the relief and delight of my patient readers, don't have the time to treat them all tonight, so here's some of the rest in their raw form for your viewing pleasure.

Apparently, today's gloATL performance was part of a series called Liquid Culture, a 15-day "physical installation of 5 Utopia Stations in four Atlanta locations."  A previous performance was held on North Highland Ave., and upcoming performances are scheduled for Little Five Points and Midtown. I'm not even much of a fan of modern dance (or classical ballet for that matter), but gloATL's creativity is rapidly changing my attitude.

No comments: