There’s No Rest “Dancing in Snow”
Mary Jane Agnew
Choreographed by Roderick George and performed by the L.A. Contemporary Dance Company, “Dancing in Snow” is an investigation into how Black, brown, and queer people exist in white spaces.
The dance starts with the cast head to toe in white, dressed in suits, dresses, and gloves. Only their faces are exposed, covered with a sheer piece of white fabric and smiling wide. Smiling but not happy. Their unsettling demeanor is embodied in their direct and specific movement qualities, like they are dolls on a string. The music is layered and distorted, switching between songs reminiscent of popular music from the 1950’s. Certain melodies or phrases sound clear before they are masked by static and white noise.
This paints a picture of suppression. Suppression of identity, individuality, freedom of expression, and the ability to have contact with others and with one’s own body. As the sonic distortion swells, the size and intensity of the dancers’ movements increase. They are jumping, moving in and out of the floor, and lifting each other.
The lighting also adds to this story. It changes constantly, emphasizing the dancers and their pathways. But this haste also creates an air of instability, like the dancers are not in control of their space.
In the second part of “Dancing in the Snow”, the dancers strip off their white costumes and are left in clothing that matches their skin tones. We see them more for their humanity than the characters they are playing. This section’s movement is extremely physical. There are long phrases of the dancers moving across the stage engaged in challenging floor work, straight into a partnering, sharing weight in ever-changing combinations. The unrelenting nature of the choreography leaves no room for rest.
Mary Jane Agnew is studying dance and journalism at the University of San Francisco. She enjoys exploring how art can further the conversation around social justice issues.