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04/20/2018

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Kristin L.

This collaboration draws upon the diverse experiences of women to illustrate that neither victim nor perpetrator is alone in these infractions. Though focused on the vulnerability of the female experience, it calls out multicultural perspectives that give breadth to the spectrum of encounters we face. Though enlightened, I left still wondering what else could be done to change the societal mindset in addition to the dialogue.

Annamarie

Poignant glimpses, humor-laced reality bombs, and simple gesture offering personal (and yet universal) experience.
The collaboration between kaneisee and Cat Call Choir beautifully combined the power of speech and movement to the anger, despair, and silence heavily carried in the topic of sexual harassment. I appreciated the encouragement given at the start of the show to laugh along and take in whatever is appropriate for each person. The overt opening sections broke the ice well for me; the shared laughter with audience members around me established a safety net and commonality—we were praising, clapping, snapping, and joining into the events on stage because we shared a mutual occurrence, and I wasn’t left to feel alone in the audience to (re)live what can already be an isolating experience.
The trio mid-way through the show was particularly striking to me. It was a beautiful reminder of how impactful a gesture can be. The gripping of each other’s and their own vaginas felt like an attempt to reclaim our targeted sexual bodies, but also a concealment of our sources of shame and embarrassment. It hit hard. Based on the sniffling around me and the inconspicuous eye wipes, I didn’t seem alone...but this time it felt like a personal moment—I wasn’t sharing this with the people around me like I was when we were laughing. Why?
The ending section left me with much to chew into—the perpetual demand to look and be a certain way, the nuisance others can be with their unrealistic and outdated expectations, the drain of energy caused by these standards, and the varying (c)overt acts and aftermath of violence and violation. The all too familiar last moments of the work left me contemplating how much I fall routine to the same/similar response to trauma, and reminded me of how easy it was to commune over humor in the beginning and then retreat to our own when shit got really real—how can strangers and friends come together when the shit gets really real?

Kassidy

Albeit struck by the wit, warmth, and humor of CatCallChoir, I left 'Nevertheless' underwhelmed. The work delved into the white/cis/female experience around harassment (and perhaps even rape?). But the work only scratched the surface, and grossly neglected the narratives of women of color and queer folx. It's gratifying to see dance work blatantly addressing these issues, but the whitewashing is concerning. The white/cis/femme narrative is only one among many narratives that urgently need to be heard. Kaneisee clearly has a platform in the sf dance community, and as white folks, it is our responsibility to spread the love and uplift qpoc folx.

Many moments in the show struck a definite chord. For example: the use of bodies to portray the threat of harassers on the street, this feeling of being 'caged-in', any semblance of vulgarity (vagina/breast touching), the durational moments, the humor, and of course the rape finale at the end. I would love to see a full show filled only with these more radical aspects of the work.

The intense thought and craft that Tanya put into the show was obvious and felt. I enjoyed and was intrigued by many parts of the work.

I'm eager to someday see this piece expand and truly delve into the underbelly of rape culture.

Dawn

I know from experience that collaboration is hard, hard work. It takes shared intentions, clear communication, and ongoing cooperation. With Nevertheless, ka-nei-see | collective and Cat Call Choir created a fuller and more nuanced experience than I think either of them could have done alone. They are both powerful ensembles with strong, fierce directors. They both have unique artistic voices, and both are exquisitely well-rehearsed. Merging their completely different methods of tackling the same subject matter was a brilliant decision.

In addition to the constant interplay between song and movement, the sheer volume of women inhabiting the stage was essential to the power of the piece. I found myself trying to peg the performers the moment they stepped onstage--dancer, singer, singer, dancer--and I loved how many of them there were, and how easily they bent those roles. Playful, explicit singing had the audience giggling in rueful recognition, and then the lyrics lingered in the ether during less literal moments of surprising and enigmatic pure movement. And, oh, the movement! Two of my teen children have danced with Tanya at SADC, and they were thrilled to see her deliciously quirky and intensely challenging choreography performed by such polished, powerful dancers. Nevertheless gave us laughter, lightness, frustration, familiarity, pain, anger, recognition, and so much more.

The last image was haunting. A repeatedly violated woman carefully putting herself together again. We do not get to forget what has happened to us. We do not get to go backwards. We are marked. We are changed. And yet...nevertheless...we button up the shirt. Tie the bow. Lift our gaze. The signs linger, if you know where to look. The stories of abuse and harrassment are epidemic. But we no longer believe that we are alone in our suffering, or that we are irreparably damaged, or that it wasn’t that bad, or that it was ever our fault. In the last light, the dancer left alone onstage turned her eyes on us, the audience. It didn’t feel like a challenge to me, but a very real act of solidarity. She witnessed us witnessing her. She was alone, and she was not the only one. I have been her. So many of us have. And we put ourselves back together, and we persist. My goosebumps lingered through the long applause.

In 1994, fresh out of college, I came home to the Bay Area and started making dance. The first two pieces I performed in San Francisco were “bound,” a trio I created for three topless women who never exposed their nipples, and the Fear Project, a quartet directed by Kimiko Guthrie and Eric Kupers before they were officially Dandelion Dancetheater. In the Fear Project, Kimi & Eric mined our lives for scary stories. Mine was simple--a moment of street harrassment that had been benign, but that left me, I thought, disproportionately afraid. Obviously, I was very concerned about and interested in what it means to inhabit a female body in a world that controls, shames, and belittles women and girls. With that in mind, you’ll understand that when we left CounterPulse after Nevertheless, I felt the weight of history. Twenty four years later, and nothing has changed. Except that I think it is changing. I think that there are more of us now telling these stories. Nevertheless had a huge cast and sold out performances. The very important things that I was just figuring out how to articulate and address when I was twenty two years old are now easily understood and discussed by my teenage children and their friends.

We needed Nevertheless. We need art that looks at what is hard, and artists that are willing to do the challenging work of collaborating in order to share their stories on a larger scale. Tanya, thank you for your courage and your integrity and your artistic voice. The dance world is so much better with you in it.

Amanda W.

"Nevertheless" was beautiful, funny, right on target, and very hard to process. Thank you for it!

I loved the costumes - flattering to the dancers, vulnerable without excess, and with the slyly referential and elegant bow at the neck. I loved the editing and pacing, the staging, and the individuality among the performers. As always, it is such a pleasure to watch movement be executed by such a fabulous cast of dancers. They are drop-dead gorgeous technicians, and subtle and magnificent actors. Catcall Choir is fierce and penetrating, and the combined staging was excellent. It really felt like an ensemble.

Your touch was surprisingly light, considering the material, and I think it was right on target. It was not less effective for being light. The ensemble kept me right on the edge of receptive - anything more explicit or brutal and I would have shut down. But the images and sounds burrowed straight down into my brain and heart and have stayed there.

Jill Homan Randall

First, I want to thank Tanya, Heather, and all of the performers for Sunday night's performance. Thank you for your commitment, presence, extreme vulnerability, and the invitation for dialogue and reflection on a very tough subject. The content is one of my biggest fears in society - this underbelly of aggression and sexual abuse.

When I was a sophomore in high school, my brother was a freshman in college at Johns Hopkins. That year there was a gang rape on campus. In my 15 year old mind, I couldn't conceive of such a savage activity within this supposedly elite school. Seeing Nevertheless triggered this memory from decades ago.

Both in content and in craft, Tanya and Heather made some really smart choices for the project. To name a few....

-The use of CounterPulse - this white cube of a space - worked so well to highlight, amplify, and spotlight these stories, movement phrases, and vignettes. (A dark theater with black marley and black curtains wouldn't have worked, I feel.)

-The ping ponging back and forth - these quick transitions - from humor to darkness worked to really FEEL the highs and lows, twists and turns of the thematic material. It embodied the "edge" that many of us can deeply relate to with the topic - that moment of intimacy with someone....and will this be fun, or a potentially dangerous and scary encounter?

-I thought about shadows - literally and figuratively - throughout the work. What becomes our shadow? What is in our darkness? When are we stepping up, and when do we fade in moments of crisis, or incidents in public? And literally in the work, those few moments when I caught the artists' shadows in the space....chilling.

-The big, dancey phrases near the end of the night aptly captured the sense of exhaustion and endurance needed - to persevere, to reflect, to change patterns and our stories....to change THIS story.

At age 42, I felt and took away so much from Nevertheless. This piece would have been a gift to me at age 18 or 20....I hope that lots of 18-20 year olds got to experience it this past weekend. If not, please consider bringing the work to more young people. Seeing Nevertheless would have deeply impacted my 20 year old self for sure. And at age 42 - living in a major city, raising two young boys - it gave me a lot to consider on many levels.

Thank you -

Jill Randall, Blog Director of Life as a Modern Dancer

Dana Lawton

I am actually at a loss to find the right words to express the multitude of emotions, thoughts, images, questions, glaring answers, disgust, pride, humiliation, knowing, shock, challenges, appreciation, wondering, bewilderment, worry, gratitude, repulsion, reverence, commonality, solidarity, dissolution, weariness and hope that art give voice, articulates, pokes and prods.

Maybe that's why we make dances about those that we don't have words for.

Kalani Hicks

A beautifully crafted mix of art disciplines. Finding lightness and comedic relief in the darkest of subjects was a breath of fresh air- it reminded that the harassment that women have to experience on a daily basis is so ridiculous, outdated, and uncalled for that it is almost laughable. The closing image left me unexpectedly crying- I realized that the show portrayed everything that most women want to explain but cannot always verbalize. I am excited to see how the show matures as it is continually performed. Thank you for creating this work and sharing it with your community.

For the questions posted in the forum, my feedback is:
- Social media is often the best form of communication with your audience and community. It is a platform that is easy, familiar, and used on a daily basis by many people.

Mariah S.

Fierce choreography performed by dancers and singers alike who faced a difficult topic unflinchingly.

I appreciated that the humor and lightness at the beginning of "Nevertheless" metamorphosed into grave situations, revealing the slippery slope of how daily verbal harassments that many accept as normal can lead to a wider culture that accepts or down-plays the gravity of sexual assault. I also appreciated that "Nevertheless" depicted several instances of how women perpetuate the culture of harassment just as much as men do, by how women talk to and about other women. These were important points to raise with the larger discussion of harassment and assault.

Choreographically, the section that stood out to me the most was the section in which two dancers paraded down a make-believe fashion run-way. On each pass, other performers placed more and more hangars with clothing attached around each dancer's neck. By the final pass, the dancers flounced around with about ten layers of bulky clothing plus winter hats and ski goggles, making a mockery of all the dress codes -- both spoken and unspoken -- placed on women at all different times of their lives. The hyperbole of the props plus the driving movement of this section blended together in such a way that provided me new insight into societal expectations of women's clothing. Whereas other sections related emotional experiences, this section went above and beyond to coalesce a new perspective in the best traditions of satire.

Allison Bouganim

A brilliant collaboration of performance arts. The striking and emotive choreography mixed beautifully with the satyr, humor, and power of the songs. Taking nursery rhymes and reimagine them into satyrical harassment protests, is so powerful. Not only is it doing a really great job in engaging the community and sharing a very impactful and relatable message, but it also subtly hints upon the fact that street harassment starts from a very young age.

The show in it of itself took me on an emotional rollercoaster. I was laughing and smiling- and other times I was silent and encompassed by goosebumps. However, the rollercoaster ended- and I was filled with inspiration and motivation to continue to educate myself and speak out about these issues. I left with a very real and powerful visual depiction of harassment. In addition to spreading the universal narrative of harassment, and how we as women need to come together, speak out, and work with each other to stop it.

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