"Let us read and let us dance - two amusements that will never do any harm to the world." Voltaire
Meghan Frederick / Practice Project's "Soft Blue" at Green Space
Meghan Frederick / Practice Project’s Soft Blue
As part of Take Root presented by Green Space
February 10, 2017
Soft Blue explores modern day womanhood through both a sensitive and tenacious lens. Frederick, an astute dance maker, creates a work pregnant with vividly stirring imagery. At the outset, death casts a thin veil over the trio as Elisa Davis retells a story of her mother giving her the news of a family friend’s late-term miscarriage. Later, Carlye Eckert and Davis methodically cover Frederick’s prone body like a cadaver in a TV procedural. While towards the piece’s end, Eckert is displayed on top of a sheet. With her long hair fanned around her face and alabaster skin, she resembles Sir John Everett Millais’ haunting painting Ophelia.
As in real life, the artists continue on even as they experience death’s omnipresence with moments of both absurdity and beauty. The dancers, each under a sheet, undulate and shift, allowing us to take in the beautiful contours of their bodies. Removing clothing from under their makeshift cocoons, a bare arm soon escapes and a breast is revealed. This act of what we choose to display and what we keep hidden hits the gut with its poignancy.
The trio, unabashed in their nakedness, take turns speaking into a hairbrush. Quotidian and silly statements such as “This weekend I gave my boyfriend the silent treatment” and “This weekend I went on a bar crawl and couldn’t remember anything” give the work a jaunty perspective. Laughs from the audience pepper the score as we see ourselves in their words.
In a culture where the state of women’s bodies is under constant scrutiny and attack, three women in Queens allow themselves to be vulnerable and free. It’s an empowering sight.
Photo by Alex Dolginko