Pure Alchemy from Dana Reitz, Sara Rudner, and Jennifer Tipton
An oasis of calm, light, and exquisite simplicity. The quality of attention is intensified by the silence. You notice every second of the light changing and the hands gesturing. Necessary Weather, at Baryshnikov Arts Center this weekend, is a revival of the extraordinary collaboration between two dancers and a lighting master spearheaded by Dana Reitz in 1994.
A beautiful restraint guides all decisions. As in a Japanese tea ceremony, each action is completed before the next action begins. You can lavish your attention on each movement as it happens—so different from other artistic and social stimuli these days. This one-hour piece gives us the luxury of basking in a single light or shape at a time. Circles of light divide the space or sneak up on the dancers. The shadow of one dancer consumes the dancing of the other. Light/dark is a third character, so this really is a trio, not a duet.
A narrow beam of light falls into the bottom of a straw hat, turning it into a pot of gold. Although the ray comes from above, it seems to emanate from the inside of the hat, casting a glow on Sara and Dana’s faces. And just so it doesn’t get too precious, too magical, the two dancers start murmuring to each other, barely audible.
Another luxury is watching Sara Rudner dance. She’s dreamy and creamy and full of pleasure. Her physical, emotional, and spiritual selves merge into a single harmony. One’s eyes and heart follow her, whether she is just pushing a palm forward or flailing limbs in all directions. Sara is lit from within.
Photo of Dana Reitz and and Sara Rudner by Julieta Cervantes, courtesy BAC