The Huffington Post has included Nimbus Dance Works in it’s list of 2016’s Best Dance Performances. Congratulations to Director Samuel Pott and all the cast and crew!
In any given year there are thousands of dance performances to be seen in New York. Even if one managed to take in all of those shows, it wouldn’t be feasible to select the nine “best”. Rather than playing Alastair Macaulay and passing judgment over the entire field I will discuss the performances from the 2016 season that moved me most. This listing is in one definitive order: Random.
June 2016. Nimbus Dance Works at Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center
Nimbus Dance Works’ Geolocate offered two incredible pieces from the company’s artistic director Samuel Pott and Darshan Singh Bhuller. Pott’s Surface Tension presented the final moments of a dying woman as her life flashed before our eyes. What might have been maudlin, in this fantastic choreographer’s hands became life-affirming. Those threnody flashbacks carried the force of love, rage, joy, and hate from people who actually meant something to the dying; all the random, petty, ridiculous, and sincere moments that comprise a life were on full display before dissolving unto dust. Surface Tension perfectly encapsulated the feeling that we lost too many beloved people too soon this year.
Bhuller’s Mapping closed Geolocate with the promise of what comes after hard work; pure ecstasy. Inspired by his father’s journey from East to West, Mapping plays out like rushing home for a weekend of fun after having survived rigorous training at a martial arts monastery. Midway through the piece our perspective is flipped, converting the stage into a live-action film. In that one dazzling sweep, Bhuller reveals the truth about children: they will find a reason to play, whatever their circumstances. It’s an unadulterated joy that adults long for and instantly recognize because they spend their later years attempting to reclaim it. Bottom line: See this piece before you die.