Whenever we talk about self-perception and symbolic rebirth, we usually focus on the bigger picture. We pay so much attention on what we see at the moment, unaware of the forces that come into play to get to that outcome.
Daloy Dance Company tries to reveal these forces in “Reconfigure,” a twin bill production composed of “Dysmorphilia” and “The Sky Changed.” We were lucky to see the show last February 22 at the SDA Theater of the De La Salle-College of Benilde. It was part of Fringe Manila’s Arts Festival .
Based on Ea Torrado’s choreography, “Dysmorphilia” puts emphasis on the emotions involved in how we see our bodies. This is done with the sharp movements of dancers dressed in flesh-colored cat suits accentuated by different representation of body parts like genitals, legs, and cysts.
The dancers’ solo and group scenes show how the body is able to make us aspire for certain things. Warped or not, these aspirations–for perfection or for whatever we believe is desirable and satisfying–have the power to affect how we view ourselves.
Meanwhile, “The Sky Changed” exposes how dancers incorporate personal experiences with their works. A group of dancers, led by choreographer PJ Rebullida, confesses how personal experiences are used in the art making process.
It also reveals how even the most abstract of things like dreams and preoccupations can be translated into movements. No matter how complex the human mind is and regardless of its shifts in terms of preoccupations, there is still a way for artists like dancers to interpret them through their actions. In fact, even things as abstract as state of mind can be manifested through the use of physical space.
As a result, dancers are able to show how shifts in emotions and preoccupations take place as they move from one spot of the stage to another and by executing bodily movements. Repetitions and variations create meaning; stage movements push the message forward.
It is also interesting to think about how the complexity of these abstract things affect how the body is consumed and how the self is perceived. How do shifts in preoccupations and emotions such as passion and persistence, and being crazy—the three most powerful images in the dream shared by PJ Rebullida during “The Sky Changed”—affect the body and the self? Do these things work as catalysts that make symbolic rebirth possible?
Honestly, up until now, we still have mixed emotions in relation to the production. Neither do we have a coherent interpretation of the two.
Good thing, we have also realized that it is not about getting answers correctly. Definitely, questions and insights matter more. And, we are never short of these things. “Reconfigure” never fails to provoke thoughts and fuel meaningful discussions.
I swear that when you see it, you, too will be compelled to think a lot. It’s one of the great shows you need to see when in Manila.
Daloy Dance Company
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