What struck me most was the sense of community throughout the whole production. There was a great deal of love shared for those that had helped put this together, the people that worked with each other to make it happen, and everyone was very vocal about it as they introduced/closed the show. Moreover, this whole show was a love letter to Molly (Mary Sheldon) Scott. All of the pieces were inspired either by her or previous works she had choreographed and performed by dancers that have worked with her, been influenced by her, and have great respect for her.
One of my personal favorites was "hero and muse (an homage)", which was a piece choreographed by Amy O'Neal (AmyO/tinyrage) that showcased the idiosyncrasies of Molly, but also showed a great affection and admiration for the artist.
I've always loved the classical ballet, but I think contemporary works more easily showcase the power and raw beauty of dance. A piece called Horses that featured dancers Beth Graczyk and Corrie Befort to me exemplified the dichotomy of dance. One was the explosive power and energy of dance, while the other was power contained within the exquisite lines she created using her extended arms, legs, uplifted chin.
I would have loved to have seen more of Molly Sheldon's actual work to get a context of these homages, since I'm not familiar (unfortunately) with her earlier work. Luckily, the finale piece, an outstanding tour de force that included a group of dancers included Scott's choreography. The work, called Praying Mantis, was mesmerizing and powerful all at once, much like a praying mantis that both preys on other insects and then paradoxically offers its prey up in a meditative prayerlike pose.
In many ways, the night for me exemplified what art should be. The audience was a full house (which I love. I love the anticipation and the support and the excitement that crackles when the house is packed to the brim. I always enjoy being a part of it and I relish performing to one) and it was a full house of people that came either because they loved the art form or the people in it. And the art was there to express love, on so many different levels.
Who says the arts are dying?
In the opening piece, Jessika Kenney sang a translation of a Javanese traditional sung poem, saying that she had the power to dance. To speak. To scream. Or to be silent.
And I think this is what art is -- whether it's visual, dance, or music. We have a power to scream. Be angry. To speak our words. Or even to be silent. And sometimes being silent is the most powerful, simply because we have the choice to do so. Regardless of how we express it, art should always be there to aid where everything else fails and we need to transcend beyond it. And so we dance. We play an instrument. We put paintbrush to canvas.