In solo moments, people sometimes spread their arms like wings, aspiring to freedom. Jumping, too, pulls them away from the earth. Nimble young Mufutau Kehinde Yusuf (Junior) repeatedly vaults straight up, high off the ground, and others face off with him and jump too. We can only guess at their histories. Tkabo could be writing words on the air, Patience Namehe scratching them on her body. And amid the falls and the silences and a passage of wild staggering, they also sing and dance. Usually one person starts, and others join until they become a joyful, swinging, stamping procession, their voices in gorgeous, lusty harmony.

Scott has composed Fall and Recover with sensitivity, skill, and astute theatricality, weaving culturally diverse people into an ensemble, while honoring their individuality. All those onstage (that includes Francis Acilu, Faranak Mehdi Golhini, and Solomon ljigade) set their imprint on the work. And they perform not only together and for us, but with and for remembered others. An unattributed quote by one of them is printed in the program: “When we dance, I could say I’m in heaven because I’m mingling with so many people others can’t see.”

In the end, they all lie down and trace their outlines with salt, going over and over the pattern. Under cool lights, the drawings are almost phosphorescent, and when the cast exits, they remain there, shining.

Juilliard Dance in the final tableau of Bronislava Nijinska’s Les Noces
Rosalie O'Connor
Juilliard Dance in the final tableau of Bronislava Nijinska’s Les Noces
John Scott’s Fall and Recover
Chris Nash
John Scott’s Fall and Recover

Details

Juilliard Dances Repertory
Peter J. Sharp Theater
March 23 through 27
Irish Modern Dance Theatre: Fall and Recover Ellen Stewart Theatre at La MaMa
March 25 through April 9

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After the bows on opening night, Scott attempted to thank us for coming and to say a few words about the event, but he was drowned out. From backstage, there erupted such jubilant singing that you could swear those vanished others, wherever they are, could hear it too.

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