Some thoughts about Chris Schlicting’s show

1. This is a big show. If you care about dance in the Twin Cities, go see it.

2. What’s happening: hard to say: a new state is being reached, each time, each piece.

3. Schlicting’s work is fundamentally masturbatory, and I mean that in the best sense. Like any artist with a vision, he’s making what he wants to see, feel, be—but he casts forth these wishes not from a disembodied “pure” self, but from an embodied and desirous self. This work is sexual and intellectual and emotional.

4. Schlichting has a genius for motions that can be repeated over and over without becoming tiresome, motions that change radically as they speed up, slow down, distend, or angle, motions that with a slightly different inflection become entirely new. He passed his hand around his face and it was spiritual, a greeting in some better place; he circled more quickly and I thought he was making himself a halo, temporary, warm; he circled more quickly still and I was afraid for him. —Often the speeding up follows a sexual rhythm: not a steady increase but slow, slow, a little faster, then suddenly faster and faster to the breaking point.

5. Seeing and being seen, voyeur and exhibitionist, the eyes the eyes. Dancers wear the glazed gaze then look, look at me. There is an almost touching faith in the magic of looking, that it can make us lovely.

6. And speaking of lovely—Schlicting’s into the beautiful, a certain type of it, perhaps helpless? Like #5 above, this seems to me to be in the air: the desire to abandon oneself to the beautiful, abandon oneself to be beautiful. The emptying out that precedes revelation, the lovely vacancy of just-before.

7. Stay for the repeat show. The night I went the bleachers emptied out prior to the repeat, but really, why wouldn’t you stay? Think of it as a chance not so much to see the dance again as a chance to see yourself see the dance. The second time through is more sensual, less anxious and obligatory—like a train ride through a foreign country that is just on the wonderful verge of becoming familiar.

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About lightseydarst

Originally from Tallahassee, Lightsey Darst writes, dances, writes about dance, and teaches in Minneapolis. Her book Find the Girl was published by Coffee House Press in April 2010, and her awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Minnesota State Arts Board. She also hosts the writing salon “The Works”.
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