June 22, 2019
The first version of Glory, danced by Jeremy Wade and Lyndsey Karr was premiered back in 2003 at The Kitchen in New York as part of Dance Works in Progress. Further versions followed in 2006 with Marysia Stoklosa, which won him a Bessie award; and 2007 with Jessica Hill, seen at Tanztage Berlin. For this fourth incarnation, he pairs up with dancer Sindri Runudde and music by Brendan Dougherty. It’s a revision that explores the interface between Queer Theory and disability studies.
The duet smoulders tension and vulnerability. Starting with a long moment staring with spectral eyes and smiling forcefully at the audience, the two bodies show firstly empathy, compassion and solidarity; then switch to anger, aversion and provocation.
Wade and Runudde seem to experience a metamorphosis becoming something that resembles lost people consumed by opiates, a very present issue in Berlin and elsewhere. Lost minds and souls in abandoned, dysfunctional bodies come to mind. They contract all their limbs, faces too, repeating convulsive little movements. Their eyes are semi-closed. Their gaze seems unfocused. They squeeze their jaws causing veins to show as their faces and necks contract. Yet, as unstable as they are, they appear in the highest state of pleasure, ecstatic even. It is remarkable how vividly they are able to represent such conditions.
They go back staring at the audiences before and after they take their clothes off, and before finding a smooth way on the floor. Movements are precisely studied and realistic, vivid. Their beauty is underlined by some low lightening on the dark stage. Transformed into worms-like beings, they crawl across the stage. Their accurate, suffered motions, moving as conspirator-mates, are strong and extremely physical as, fatigued, they seem to be searching for or trying to reach something.
Wade and Runudde’s constant torment gives life to more anguished movements that strive through a space that now seems infinite. The loud, repetitive, electronic music envelops the experience. Crusading against the brutality exerted on their bodies, they move one next to each other in search of support and communal strength.
The performance reaches a peak with a long kiss, not sexual or tender, rather an indication of survival, resistance and perdurance. They keep rolling on the stage generating beautiful physical moments while they breathe and mumble in each other’s mouth; symbiotic beings where one can’t survive without the other. It makes you think about connections that become essential and vital, like an addiction that cannot be controlled.
Glory runs around political-sociological and ethical reflections on boundaries and critical care of bodies in need; bodies that transform, bodies in agony. It is a striking duet pregnant of tension, anger and disruption where the impressive dancers are very much individuals, but necessarily depending on each other. Updated to present day issues, Glory is once again forceful and poignant.