Space Flights

Two imaginative young choreographers test boundaries

Like Gill, Linehan is extremely smart about what he’s doing, and he’s mesmerizing to watch in what seems like an ordeal of discovery. His opening words, many times repeated with slightly varying accentuation, is “This is not about everything.” The litany of negatives and denials stall temporarily while he pulls a paper from his pocket and reads his thoughts about the piece and the act of performing it. In the background, we hear sounds of a truck revving, its door opening and closing, the engine humming down the highway. His own trip is more obviously circuitous, more fraught with the tension between success and failure.

Almost gabbling, he says that the piece is “not about me” yet “is about me.” Toward the end, he dismantles the sentence backward from “mmm,” until humming is all that’s left. He wonders what he wants us to think while he’s spinning. The task, which he once feared might be difficult to sustain, now strikes him as too easy. And if his performance is “an act of love,” mightn’t he better “help others in worse predicaments?” Having written a check to an organization for the defense of the environment (a different beneficiary gets his money each night), he wonders if sending money to worthy causes is itself self-aggrandizing.

No, he tells us, the piece is not about Iraq, Darfur, George Bush, Abu Ghraib, not about, not about, not about. . . .As Linehan reels off sites and perpetrators of horror, cruelty, corruption, and mendacity, Levasseur makes the lights repeatedly dim and then pop into extreme glare. And just before Linehan says “Your are free of this dance,” wheels of light rise like big, bright smoke rings and float away (amazing!). “This is spinning,” Linehan announces, and, finally, “This is everything.”

Daniel Linehan in his Not About Everything.
Julieta Cervantes
Daniel Linehan in his Not About Everything.

Jacket and trousers discarded, he stops caressing his body as the recorded truck door closes after what might have been a ride (in several senses). Finally he stops spinning, pulls down the tapes, and steps out of the cage they’ve defined. When the lights go out he’s slowly folding himself down to the floor, rising, sinking, rising, sinking. I’m almost surprised that this is the end. I’d begun to think he might never stop—that we’d leave and he’d still be turning in the wind of his own making.

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