On Not Bowing
by John HoobyarEditor’s note: thINKing DANCE is excited to be sharing articles with our friends at Culturebot. Stay tuned for future cross-listings.
On Thursday night Moriah Evans presented an incredibly strong work, Social Dance 9-12: Encounter at St. Marks Church as part of the 2015 Danspace Project season. At the end the dancers left the stage space but stayed in the room. There was no bow. The audience, clapping vigorously, sat looking directly at the performers as they sat and drank water. The dancers stopped accepting the objectifying gaze of the audience but the audience wasn’t done imposing it on them. A tension and awkwardness emerged. Are they going to bow? No, they’re not. They’re going to tensely wait until we are done clapping so this liminal purgatory between art and not art can be over. They’re going to endure this awkwardness.
But maybe it’s worth it.
I am against bowing at the end of dance performances as an unquestioned default. I’ve been to many shows that have ended with a bow that compromised the work. Something magical and specific is created in the time and space of the art.
By Guest Writer
November 9, 2015