Theory 1: Dance's I Want to Stop Wanting
had it's PDX debut last night at Disjecta—and the local company had its audience's full attention from the moment that dancer Lucy Yim first crossed the floor. "Is this real?"
a voice asks as Yim steps into a circle of light—an image that would reappear throughout the show—then, the voice reflected on how her childhood influenced her desires as an adult. Moments later three other dancers appear and it's obvious that something is weighing on them. They begin to march, but soon enough their graceful pattern is disrupted as one begins to pulsate on the floor, another starts flailing her arms and yet another gasps for air. Then everything stops. The light appears again. This time co-choreographer Tracy Broyles
takes her turn in the beam, her abrupt movements mimicking the frustration you can see on her face.
I Want to Stop Wanting
(the title itself is a paradox) grapples with that peculiar trait of wanting—that it can never be fulfilled. Broyles and co-dancemaker Meshi Chavez
have created a piece that isn't afraid to get right in your face, almost literally since the audience sits only a few feet away from the performers, who are at times throwing themselves on one another only to be flung aside. The movements, set to a mix of electronic music that is performed live by lyd, are heavy and primal. They explore how desire and want influence and limit our current actions and determine our future. The dancers maintain a solemn intensity throughout much of the show and there are points where it feels like what you are witnessing is too personal, particularly when Broyles and dance Mark Kline slide over each other in a close embrace. In these moments it's okay to look away and take refuge in the silhouettes that lighting designer Dug Martell has done a wonderful job of creating with warm and cold tones that not only narrate the mood of the piece but also serve as the essential prop (light).
Just when you feel as if you can't stand the intensity any longer, Chavez steps into his own beam of light and shouts, "I LOVE YOU!" "i LOVE you." "IIIIII love you." The audience, who hasn't dared to take a breath before this moment, laughs with the performers—who are now guiding Chavez through the painful and sometimes silly process of letting go. He fixates it all on a beam of light that he can hold. "Now, what are you going to do with it?" Broyles asks.
I Want to Stop Wanting takes place at Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate Ave., 286-9449. 8 pm Friday-Saturday, 2 and 8 pm Sunday, May 1-3. $12 advance, $14 door.
Image of Tracy Broyles and Meshi Chavez courtesy of Theory 1: Dance.