Falling for After the Rain

October 4, 2007

If I close my eyes, I can still see Wendy Whelan dancing After the Rain. I can see her being lifted in the air like a floating tree branch. I can see her unfolding like a butterfly and reaching out and forward like the prow of a ship (sorry about the mixed metaphors). I can see her being lifted in a bridge position with flexed feet, as flat as if the floor is still under her. I can see her encase Craig Hall’s face with her hands and pulling them away, pressed together. I can see all these after images, but I can’t understand why tears came to my eyes the minute the Arvo Pärt music started and she did a simple little sway. Watching the dance, every thought was blotted out except, “This is soooo beautiful.”

The duet, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, seems to be about different ways of touching each other, of connecting. She links a foot to his arm; he slides under her arched back. She embraces Hall while his arms are raised, and he lets his hands lilt down to his sides. It’s not an obvious cause-and-effect relation, but it feels like some kind of spiritual connection embodied in these gestures.

I promised myself I would not blog about any of the performances at Fall for Dance (now wrapping up at City Center). That’s because I am an artistic advisor to the festival, and I like to keep things separate. But After the Rain is a piece I’ve seen before, so it’s a little like a treasure that’s just  resurfaced.

Anyway, there have been many wonders each night of Fall for Dance, and I hope that some of you have been enjoying them.