Liquidus is a series of solo dance performances, choreographed during New York City’s stay-at-home order, performed live on Tabula Rasa Dance Theater’s YouTube on four Saturdays, July 25, August 1, 8 and 15 at 7pm.
The dancers are Felipe Escalante (Mexican -American), Winnie Asawakanjanakit (Thai-American), Jonatan Lujan (Argentine-American) and Noriko Naraoka (Japanese-American). Two are COVID positive. We are not quite sure who is who in the photo which is odd for a Thai writer born in Los Angeles (East LA) who studied tango in Argentina.
Anyway, these are serious dancers with experience at Ballet Argentino Julio Bocca (Argentina), Ballet Víctor Ullate (Spain), Zurich Ballet (Switzerland), Slovak National Theatre, Joffrey Ballet School (New York). The performance is funded by the Ford Foundation which is as big as it gets.
Much of New York City’s artistic community is struggling (figuring out) how to survive without support, unemployment benefits or any kind of relief in a frightening time.
“Liquidus” is a scientific term that describes the temperature range at which a material can be both solid and liquid in rough equilibrium.
It’s a double-entendre “liquid-us.” That’s a pretty good description of where we are right now.
Coronavirus makes the dancers fear for their lives
Trying to survive, dancers can’t help their families and loved ones in New York and afar. Like everybody else, they are feeling everything all at once: hopelessness, solitude, depression, anger and hope. The COVID-19 virus messes with your head, and the lack of direct human contact messes with your head, especially a dancer’s head.
The one important thing we have is each other. “When you’re here, you’re a New Yorker (Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs). We are a community. When national governments fail, the people band together to survive. As New Yorkers, we have a lot to be proud of in the way we responded to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
These are revolutionary times and that’s scary, but we have hope. Americans believe we can do things. New Yorkers believe we can change the world. New York City is built on bedrock. So let’s do this.
Music by Felix Huerta. Costumes, coordinated by Executive Director Amy Fine Collins, designed by Geoffrey Beene, Noriko Naraoka and Sergio Perez.
Requested donation of $3.63 at donorbox.org
We couldn’t find the information again, but this odd number is based on something like the average pay of an incarcerated worker. Give what you can. This is great dance theater.
Tabula Rasa Dance Theater YouTube
Live Streams on four Saturdays, July 25, August 1, 8 and 15 at 7pm
Recordings rescreening at 2pm & 7pm the next day
Tabula Rasa Dance Theater
Tabula Rasa Dance Theater is led by Artistic Director Felipe Escalante. He was born in Querétaro in Central Mexico and was a protégé of Guillermina Bravo (co-founder of the Academy of Mexican Dance and Mexico’s National Ballet Company).
Escalante trained at Mexico’s National Center of Contemporary Dance. He’s a natural choreographer. A choreography award at the Series IV festival brought him to New York where he’s been working regularly for the Ford Foundation.
The Ford Foundation
The performance is produced with the support of the Ford Foundation. Now there’s a heavy-hitting organization that works for good. That’s so refreshing in this time.
Cuban-American Lourdes Lopez, Artistic Director of the Miami City Ballet (former NYC Ballet) is the first Latina on the Board of Trustees. Paula Moreno, the Afro-Colombian former Minister of Culture is on the Board.
The chairman of the Board is Mexican-American. They just added a Nigerian member. Whatever, you look like, there are people who look like you and come from where you come from on this Board. It’s a really exciting sign about the change that is coming. We are #AllInNYC.
Tabula Rasa is a psychological concept that we are born with a mind that is a blank slate molded only by experience. It recalls the Taoist idea of the “uncarved block” which can be interpreted as infinite possibility, something in its natural state, or a kind of wholeness.
An alternative concept is that some things are imprinted in our genes. We believe that to be true. Scientists have shown that fear of an experience can be passed through the generations. Something gets imprinted so that future generations express the same fear on their first experience.
Whichever is right doesn’t matter. We are definitely experiencing fear which will mark us for at least a generation. They are dying off now, but if you ever ate with someone who lived through the Great Depression or World War II, you notice that they never leave any food on their plate. The experience of hunger marked them for life.
Dancers digest their experience and reach their fullness of being by dancing.
You’re looking at a prohibited image. Instagram won’t let us post it. It lets us post others. It’s not that we can’t promote the image, the Instagram algorithm won’t even let us put it on our own channel. So what are we looking at? What is Instagram/Facebook/Zuckerberg afraid off?
First I see dancers. Then there is some kind spirituality going on. It’s not the star, cross or moon kind of spirituality, but something more earthy.
The first dancer smokes a cigar which in the Indigenous-African-Caribbean is used to enter a transcendental state. Smoking a cigar quickly can put you in another world. I smoked one on my Puerto Rican birthday and thought I was dead. Other people thought I was dead too. The owls can represent wisdom, fertility and renewal, the female aspect which is the creative part of a man. They can also represent death.
The second dancer reaches for the heavens. We’re not sure how the photographer created the smokey affect. But it resembles the spray pattern of a cough. These days a cough can send you to heaven.
Putting a light source below the face creates creepy images. It’s a fun thing to do on a sleepover. The last two dancer images have this affect. Sure enough they are COVID-19 positive.
The third dancer burns a cigarette, or it could be sage which Native Americans use to cleanse, or saraguey which is a plant burned in the Caribbean to cleanse a room of bad spirits. His hands are up which can be a sign of submission or acceptance. The blue can represent sorrow or the aura, the first layer of the energy field that surrounds all living things. It’s the corona of old religious art.
The last dancer holds a rose with body language that expresses triumph. We are not sure what the shadows on the left represent, but they look to us like shadows of a nose and a mouth. The rose can represent the Greek and Roman goddess of love. So love conquers all.
The art director and photographer did a great job building layers of meaning into simple images. But it seems that Instagram/Facebook/the Zuckerbergs don’t know love and spirituality when they see it.
“Liquidus” is dance for our times…