Having never experienced a show highlighting contemporary and modern dance I was not quite certain what to expect when I first took my seat at the Kshoy!/Decay! performance. What I was not anticipating was a spectacle that moved so quickly and fluidly rendering me unable to process the scenes moment-by-moment as they unfolded before me. It was a beautiful and moving experience that has afforded me many moments of self-reflection to decode and interpret what I was presented with.
There was one specific moment from the program that constantly replays over and over in my head. At this one given moment the stage is flooded with the diverse company of women, united in one rapid choreographed movement, when the mood is abruptly changed, the lighting dims to near-darkness, and the quick-footed women all flee, save one, which dramatically freezes in her position. It is silent. There she stands, this tall, statuesque woman. When you look upon her you cannot help but see her as the epitome of a strong black female, her posture suggests that she has labored very hard in her time and is all deserving of the respect that she has attained. She is fully in command of the audience and stage and has us all hinged on her impending movement. If you look closely you can see that from her pronounced forehead there is the tiniest droplets of perspiration as the result of her previous hypnotic gyrations, and you can see her breast breathing heavily trying to regain her breath and composure. Her garb is a bright magenta beacon in the dark room, and the slight shimmer of the cloth she wears can be likened to a dimly shining candle flame. At this moment you expect her to do nothing other than stand there in her immense pride and relish in the fact that she has everyone’s undivided attention, however, her next movement is so unexpected that it leaves everyone with disgust and confusion. Her eyes roll to the back of her head, her every muscle relaxes and lets go. She falls.
This sudden change in her position is united with multiple changes to the stage that cast an uneasy mood across the audience. The lighting, once dull, is shattered by hundreds of scattered beams that fall downstage left on the reflective black floor. The beautiful silence is broken, smashed with discordant wails and moans of what sounds like an injured woman. One would think that the ruined girl lying upstage center produces the sounds, but the entire room is flooded with this noise, and it comes from all the immense speakers that have suddenly had their volumes dialed up to levels that are uncomforting. It is at this moment that the woman begins to transform into something utterly disgusting.
She writhes. Everything inside her suddenly tenses and her very skeleton tries to escape from her body. She contorts her body into a disfigured curve of a corpse. Not only is her body revolting, her face has a look of pain and exasperation. Her jaw sits unhinged; lips peeled back...