This week’s work was created by curator Elizabeth Dishman and her company of dancers, Coriolis. Responding to the theme of dancing and Judges 21:16-24, in which the tribes of Israel discover a loophole around an old vow forbidding themselves to gives wives to the tribe of Benjamin.
Music by Giuseppe Sammartini and J. S. Bach
From the Artist:
I initially found this passage really funny and bizarre: the Israelite tribesman make an oath not to give their daughters to the tribe of Benjamin for wives, but later feel sorry for their brothers, whose clan will die out. So they come up with this great idea to have the Benjamites SNATCH and marry the young women who go out to dance in the fields. That way no one breaks the oath, and Benjamin lives on. Such a good idea… It struck me as hilarious, so I imagined a light-hearted dance of joyous, unsuspecting young ladies being watched by a man with marriage on his mind.
However, the background story to this scene is horribly grim, involving gang rape, murder and a hideous call to justice from a man bereft of his concubine (Judges 19-21:15). Saving this darker content for a future dance, I decided to create the work based on my initial response to the dancing in the field scenario, but I also thought about what it would be like to try to build a real marriage out of this abrupt and non-mutual courtship. Hence the second section, which reflects the awkwardness and struggle that might have ensued (“so…now what do we do?”). In that culture the groom may not have tried as hard to become a good friend and lover, but I imagined a more present-day pair honestly searching for their footing in an intimate, stolen dance.
Elizabeth Dishman Originally from Colorado, Elizabeth lives in Brooklyn with her deep-hearted husband and two unfathomable sons, who provide more joy and challenge than she could ever dream…or wish on anyone. She began choreographing professionally in 1996 and earned her MFA in Choreography from The Ohio State University. She is the artistic director of Dishman + Co. Choreography, a nonprofit dance theater company based in New York City, where her work has been presented at Triskelion Arts, BRIC Studio, Marjorie S. Dean Little Theatre, and 100 Grand, among other gracious venues. She has received numerous grants and fellowships in support of her dances, which have been described by critics as “complex skeins and cerebral dreams”, “bodies in rigorous concentration”, and “playful and provocative…raw humanity seeps in”. In her work, Elizabeth seeks intersections between the abstract and theatrical, the universal and deeply personal, and thanks/blames her family members for most of her recent source material. www.coriolisdance.org
Elizabeth Dishman is a Spark and Echo Arts curator.
This video is copyrighted by the artist and used here by permission.