The Stairs: A Dance in our Space

By Manuela Hiches

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The sounds of gasping roared throughout the space. The dancers’ hands slapped against the walls and floors, making me wonder how they could continue despite their quite possibly throbbing hands. The odd yet satisfying combination of sounds consumed me while I was captivated by the movements unfolding before me. I tried to watch it all while focusing on just one dancer. I took a brief glance away as more and more people joined the ‘stage’ as an audience member. It made me wonder why this place was chosen as the “stage” to begin with. How could a flight of stairs be so beautiful?

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I was only able to attend to one of the four performances, but I know the one I saw was unique despite the one routine they performed. Each show is different because of who in the audience decided to walk through the performance. It was explained after the show that on one of the previous days, a man decided to walked through the performance without a care-proceeding to lead a pack of sheep behind him like a shepherd. The rest of the people followed him as if under some sort of spell.

The same happened during the performance I saw, but on the sidelines. All of us were ushered to the side once the dancers came up to the lobby floor of Diana and continued their performance there. I felt almost a part of the performances since the idea of a stage was not clearly defined. And yet, there was an imaginary barrier between my world and that of the dancers. Every aspect of the space was used in some bizarre but intriguing way; the dancers became one with the space, but also asserted their independence with attacks, like running and slapping. It was quite clear that this performance was like no other.

picture3The Stairs is a site-specific dance project which essentially designs a choreography inspired and affected by the space. To add to that, I truly feel that it also transforms the space of the performance itself. As I take the flight down the stairs to LL1 of Diana Center, I find myself reliving the dance in some form, despite the time that has passed. It is no longer just a flight of stairs to me; instead, it has become almost an exhibition of what once was.

I’d like to highlight all the dancers in the performance: Falls Kennedy-BC ‘17, Tamrin Goldberg-BC ‘12, Allegra Herman-student at General Studies, Julia Discenza-Barnard Alumn, Debbie Mausner-BC ‘16, Susie Barth-BC ‘18, Valentina Strokopytova-BC ‘16, Morgen Littlejohn-BC ‘20. And Gus Reed who worked on the film version of this project. Finally, Caitlin Trainor, the artistic director of Trainor Dance. I thank you all for making this project possible and allowing me to appreciate how beautiful dance can truly be.

Do check out more information about this project here.

Also check out more about Trainor Dance here.

Images courtesy of Manuela Hiches

Manuela Hiches is a senior at Barnard and Vice President/Treasurer for Barnard Bite.

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