Upping the ante on dance coverage and conversation

Join thINKingDANCE this Spring For In-Person Events in Philly!

tD is partnering with Philadelphia Dance Projects to host THREE WRITE BACK ATCHAs this Spring! Our next  is on Wednesday May 22nd  at 7pm after Dance Up Close: Joe Gonzalez. 

Then, join us the next day at  drINKingDANCE, a  social gathering at Dahlak in West Philly on Thursday, May 23rd from 6-9pm.
We hope you can grab a DrINK with us!

Growing the home within
Photo: Richi Devon and su guzey

Growing the home within

by Charly Santagado

Self described as an artist constantly in transit, su guzey’s interest in Glissant’s concept of errantry––a practice that seeks sovereignty in all aspects of motion––purfuses their solo work, 'rattling'. From sudden music cuts to the use of analogue media and recycled materials,  guzey doesn't hide the mechanisms of their perpetual moving from place to place, instead exposing their jarring effect. Within the complex experience they portray, everything is transparent, even the plastic makeshift blanket they cover themselves with.

Cardboard boxes of varying shapes and sizes litter the stage, and the dark soil of a plant being repotted stands out against the white background in the video projection. Behind the audience, guzey’s silhouette hastily arranges structures from similar cardboard containers; aggravation builds as they repeatedly topple and guzey's forced to begin again. They use one hand to simulate an earthquake; the hand that builds also dislodges.

Donning a large backpack, guzey moonwalks in place to ambient music until the backpack eventually weighs them down. They fall back on it, crushing parts of the paper cityscape in their wake. guzey backflops over and over until they're jumping athletically onto their back, seeming to crush the past behind them.

Covered in a sheet of plastic, they fumble beneath it with a flashlight, rising slowly until it billows out like a ghostly skirt––to me, a symbol of their motherland. They thrash the plastic with equal parts exhaustion and frustration, whipping boxes out of the space violently, an act they instantly regret as they reset the boxes to their original position.

They take a pillow and mat from their backpack but are too restless to sleep, and their reaches for comfort prove useless. It seems the only solution is to dance through it. guzey's flurry of tiny retrogrades make it seem like they're second guessing themselves, and their baggy layered clothes and loose hair amplify the expansiveness and release of  their movement.

Too soon it is over and they must again rebuild. A lamp. A delicate strip of lace across a folding chair. As they struggle to wedge more boxes than they can hold under their chin, I notice that only one of the two lamp bulbs is lit, perhaps signifying all the half successes of their efforts.

A green spotlight follows guzey as they walk to the edge of the space. When they undress, step into a large pot, and pour a watering can over their head, a nude figure being pummeled by shovelfulls of dirt is projected onto the back wall. The footage is lush compared with the stark palette of the opening image, and guzey lounges and watches it, carelessly cracking sunflower seeds in  their teeth. When they get up, they offer a handful to me.

rattling, su guzey, The Icebox Project Space, Cannonball Festival, Philly Fringe Festival, Sept. 16, 25, 30.

By Charly Santagado
September 20, 2023

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