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Curator for Spark+Echo Arts and dancer Elizabeth Dishman responds to the theme of "Dancing" from Judges 21:16-24 with her company of dancers, Coriolis.

Judges 21:16-24​

dance in the dances


Elizabeth Dishman


Collaboratively Choreographed by Elizabeth Dishman + the performers: Leah Ives, Kaitlin Morse, Niko Tsocanos and Caitlin Yuhas
Music by Giuseppe Sammartini and J. S. Bach

Curated by: 

Elizabeth Dishman



Image by Giorgio Trovato

Primary Scripture

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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.

Spark Notes

The Artist's Reflection

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”.

Elizabeth Dishman

About the Artist


Terra Firma


Stranger Name

Elizabeth Dishman

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