Created for Ballet X (2009)
Choreography by Alex Ketley
Music is a Collage by TAR@JMB
Performed by: Tara Keeting, Colby Damon, Jennifer Goodman, Jesse Marks, Anitra Nurnburger, Eric Otto, Brad Schlagheck
Broad Street Review
“Alex Ketley’s mesmerizing Silt expressed more about the human condition than most playwrights achieve with two hours of text.
Here, five dancers sat in a semi-circle of chairs, surrounding two dancers standing rooted to the floor. A feeling of group therapy permeated; the pair in the center slowly revealed their torment in trying to lift a leg, or twist their hips, and succeeded only in small movements while occasionally opening their mouths to voice silent cries.
As a selection of Chris Clark’s electronica music began, the five pulled their chairs to the rear of the stage, then returned to form couples dancing slightly staggered patterns of the same movements. Slowly, individual gestures disappeared, and the routines of everyday life eroded any romanticized sense of uniqueness through these similarly enacted sequences.
Explosions punctuated the music before it shifted into an aria by Giovanni Pergolesi. The dancers returned to their chairs. Some hid their eyes, others watched the painful personal exploration between Damon and Keegan, who collapsed to the ground after a harsh series of movements. Still seated, others raised their hands as the pair moved, as if to acknowledge that, yes, we’ve all lost and suffered, and no routine can conceal our anguish or obscure what’s personal in our universal search for meaning.
The frailty of Godot
The short piece ran deep with human frailty, and as in a production of Waiting for Godot, I wondered what compelled any of these characters to go on. Damon and Tara Keating balled their fists at their sides while executing contorted, tortured gestures, and they stamped the percussion of their anguish as the counterpoint to the soft, irregular piano notes in a piece by Arvo Part. Like Beckett’s hobos, they railed at life for robbing them even as it doled out their only possibility for joy and consolation.
Although Billiau’s lighting painted circles of isolation on the floor, the dancers ultimately re-partnered in movement to find release. The message seemed to be: Torment and grief may be felt individually, but it’s alleviated in the arms of another.”