DANA RETIZ: LATITUDE
February 13, 2018
The sound of weighted, bare feet upon a smooth, cool stage. Earth tones rooted in airy garments. A careful silence. These sensations open the work of Dana Reitz’s Latitude and conjure a grounded presence infused within the life of the piece from start to finish.
As the work unfolds, the dancers methodically displace long wooden dowels across the stage with a carefulness akin to the precise strokes of calligraphy executed by the paintbrush of an artist. Magic tricks of light and shadow grace the floor with transparent honesty and patient intention. These luminous illusions are results of deliberate decisions and attentive artistry which retain a wit that is both satisfying to the eye and filling to the soul. Through her play with darkness and light, Reitz reminds the audience that it is not always the light alone that casts the shadow, but the shadow that may also draw the light.
Latitude is performed entirely in silence by Reitz and her two dancers, Elena Demyanenko and Yanan Yu, a decision which has a profound effect on the atmosphere of the performance space and the audience members within it. With the lack of external sound, the audience becomes scrupulously aware of the minute noises it produces and immediately transforms into an almost collective organism, seemingly newly aware of itself, and freshly trepidatious with each audible breath it draws. This hyper-awareness brings a sensitive focus to the energy of the room as well as to the meticulous nature of the performance onstage.
The floor becomes a koi pond whose tranquility is gently disturbed by the placements of the dancers’ bodies as well as by the wooden objects into which they infuse their energy. This serenity will not be disturbed by the natural follies of the rapt audience, but rather breathed in and diffused through respectful witness to such languid waters.
Within the hour-long piece, there is a moment in which the swaths of light strewn along the floor begin to shrink, reducing to a thin, rectangular shape resembling that of a coffin. As the length of these lights decreases, so increases the awareness of the finite nature of earthly time. As humans, we are drawn to light and ever aware of its presence, its heat and its absence. Reitz is clearly aware of this human attraction and possess a crystalline talent for using the magnetism of light to weave relatable and kindred human narratives.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Brandon Kazen-Maddox