Reflecting on "entangle unfurl: threads of our inheritance"
by Breanne Eickholt, an Ohio State intern at Urban Arts Space
In January, three MFA Dance students exhibited pieces at Urban Arts Space that delve into the idea of the self and how that self intertwines with the world around us. Each piece told stories through movement and allowed the viewer to feel connected to the work.
Mollie Wolf’s exhibition, entitled T H E W I L D S, demonstrated the collaboration between the body and nature—how they interact and mingle with one another. I found myself feeling a childlike giddiness while interacting with Mollie’s exhibition and connecting with her nature imagery. The motion sensor cast an outline of my body so I could dance among the projected forest scene, highlighting the connection between myself in nature and nature in myself. I was reminded that the two are almost interchangeable. Another portion of the exhibition combined and toyed with the idea of a man's hair being like tree roots. The link between humanity and nature was demonstrated beautifully and allowed for viewers to feel their bodies in nature and how nature connects, or rather is, their bodies.
Una Ofrenda para la Conciencia Mestiza by Jackie Courchene brought me chills of awe several times. Through the display of personal items, Latinx imagery, and three women dancing, the artists presented an elegant display of one's struggle with self-identity and the balance between two alternate sides. The movement and playing of the three dancers, with them being together and then falling apart—the way they supported each other while maintaining their individuality—was a touching display of how the two sides of one person can be explored or even felt.
I often found myself swaying along with the dancers or being totally entranced by one of the multiple stories told during the piece. Jackie Courchene was fully on display in this personal and intimate performance. Her storytelling ability profoundly moved me and even allowed me a moment of reflection. The emotional rawness made this piece the moving performance it was.
The last performance, I can’t remember when it started by John Cartwright, examined questions of queerness while growing up and the lens through which one can reflect on one’s past selves. This solo performance encouraged me to experience a full range of emotions, from a sad empathy for the performer to laughing along with his humor. I thought the use of confetti and bubble wrap was the perfect form for the demonstration of queerness and the fragile nature that can surround it.
John Cartwright moved through and manipulated the confetti in multiple ways throughout the performance. The moment that struck me the most was when they wrapped up the bubble wrap and confetti and attempted to shove their body through it. To me, this attempt was the artist trying to fit into places and forms that are uncomfortable or difficult. But, in the end, John adorned and rejoiced in the material that once made it difficult for them to stand. This performance ended with the audience being invited to play with John in the confetti, turning it into a celebration of queerness. The openness of the space welcomed all people to play with confetti and celebrate together.
The MFA Dance exhibition entangle unfurl: threads of our inheritance presented three equally moving pieces. All the artists showed how the body interacts with different themes of nature, ethnicity, and queerness.
Photo credit: Le’Ana Christian and Zainab Ali