Dancer Elizabeth Dishman’s rich performance reflects on the exchange between the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon as recorded in 1 Kings 10:1-10:
When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the Lord, she came to test Solomon with hard questions. Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind. Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.
She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness.”
And she gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
Directed, filmed and edited by Elizabeth Dishman
Collaboratively choreographed by Elizabeth Dishman and the performers:
Julie Seal, with Larissa Asebedo and Corinne Shearer
Music by Giuseppe Sammartini, recorded by Camerata Köln
From the Artist:
I’ve always been fascinated by this passage…a big time queen decides to play tourist and ends up getting the wind knocked out of her. She had heard rumors but was totally unprepared for the wisdom, beauty and richness she would experience in Jerusalem. She came to test Solomon with hard questions, but instead she can’t even breathe for wonder.
I know the feeling. I was born with my arms crossed. I make up my mind about life’s hard edges, but I am more often than I’d like to admit humbled by its greatness, its kindness, the purity of delight that is available to me, but which I doubt or resist.
In this work I meditated on that moment of confusion when a belief is tested and found to be shifty. When a deeper truth asks to sit down at the table. The conversation is awkward and glorious.
Elizabeth Dishman is the Artistic Director of Dishman + Co. Choreography, a Brooklyn-based experimental dance company founded in 2001. Originally from Colorado, she studied Voice Performance at Emory University, and Choreography at The Ohio State University. In pursuit of ineffable junctures between the abstract and theatrical, the universal and deeply personal, Elizabeth and her collaborators devote themselves to scrupulous exploration and ardent play, probing the elusiveness of live performance in search of lasting things. Over 15 years and 40+ original works, Dishman + Co.’s choreography has been described by critics as “complex skeins and cerebral dreams”, “bodies in rigorous concentration”, and “playful and provocative…raw humanity seeps in”. www.DishmanAndCo.org
This work was curated by Elizabeth Dishman.
All materials are copyrighted by the artists and used here by permission.