This week’s work was created by Elizabeth Dishman and presented during our live event last month. The piece is a response to the theme of “strangers” and the passages of Matthew 16:17-19, John 1:42, and John 21:15-19.
From the Artist:
Contemplating the theme of Strangers, I started thinking about how we can be strangers to ourselves. I’ve always been intrigued by instances in the Bible when God re-names someone, so for this work I focused on Jesus giving Peter a new name, and predicting both glorious and horrible things for Peter’s life. “Stranger Name” ponders what it could be like to receive a new name, to wrestle with a new identity, one that only God understands and aids us in developing.
Initially this was a solo work, the dancer engaging with the props on her own initiative. But something felt missing; I wanted to be more explicit about the relational struggle inherent in taking on, accepting, or being asked to accept a new identity. I was hesitant to introduce a God or Jesus figure, but decided to see what it would be like to have another person there, at first just witnessing, then assisting, then strongly shaping the action. The outcome, for me, reflects a very true scenario in which God is present in many different ways, some more welcome than others.
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.dishmanandcompany.org
Elizabeth Dishman is a Spark and Echo Arts curator.
This video is copyrighted by the artist and used here by permission.