Strange Engagements, 2020, Danspace Project, New York
photographs: ©Paula Court
Strange Engagements is a highly physical, exuberant, and uninhibited work made for, and in collaboration with, an extraordinary group of dancers: Laurel Atwell, Talya Epstein, Paul Hamilton, Sam Kim, and Rainey White. Constructed from the dancers’ improvisations — research in which Ring asked them to act as a conduit channeling complex shared rhythms and inner music — this work is driven from within.
The dancers plunge into private combinations, often with separate agendas, while flashes of form and pattern illuminate the deliberateness of the polyrhythmic chaos. Like Ring’s X (2010), which premiered 10 years ago at Danspace Project, Strange Engagements is deeply musical, yet danced almost completely in silence — its unheard anthem loud and driving. The thrill of Strange Engagements is in watching the performers navigate its considerable performative demands. This dance is monstrously intricate.
Danspace Project, January 30 - February 1, 2020
Lighting Design: Kathy Kaufman
Costumes: Melinda Ring
Review - Dance Enthusiast
Preview - New York Times Instagram
21 Questions about Strange Engagements
Video - Excerpt