Jonah Bokaer: Other Myths

Every busy Monday should end like this one. I went to a dance performance choreographed by Jonah Bokaer in the elevated patio above the courtyard of the Contemporary. The slight chill in the air was so fitting for the piece. The dancers were dressed in shades of gray, black, and white. The music was a rather generic sounding, though effectively used, collection of softly spoken words on a background of electronic noise.

Throughout the piece I kept coming back to a notion of rumination. I’m not sure if what I was getting from it was really in the piece or if I was bringing it in with my mindset: each new scene would seem to bring me away from the idea but then I’d slowly slip back into it. It was like a series of events, encounters, and conversations from which nobody could walk away. The perspective seemed to fluidly shift from the individual stuck within a thought and the observers contemplating the individual or encounter. Sometimes the observers seemed to be the cause of the individual’s rumination and others the observers seemed to want to avoid being drawn into the individual’s mindset. In the end, it seemed as though everyone was on the verge of breaking free — emerging from the prison of their minds — only to find themselves caught, drawn back in as they curled up into balls on the pavement, with the exception of one dancer who managed to find herself back in the world and who, with the perspective of her freedom, was able set everyone else to rest. As the sun set, the yellowish lights gave the piece even more of a feeling of being a part of someone’s memory. It was such a wonderful piece; I wish that I could write more so that I would be able to remember more of it but the only way for me to do that would to have been less engrossed and more analytical, defacing the work in my mind to deconstruct it, which is the worst thing that I can imagine doing to beauty right now.


Note: The below is taken from a description of the piece on the event’s page.  I don’t believe that I even knew the title of the piece when I went to see it.  I have to admit that I like my interpretation better.

“Each of the performers provided Bokaer with a chosen Carpathian myth from their country, which he had interpreted and structured choreographically, weaving them into a single work designed for the Ludwig Múzeum. The music is by Soundwalk Collective, with field recordings from the Black Sea.”

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