We are all cautious by design. When faced with a life-changing decision, there is a moment of hesitation – our hearts race as we face an infinite number of thoughts compounded by a simple choice: to speak or to be silent, to help or to ignore, to act or not to act.
Through the Wall, created by DanceArtTheater, is best described as an exploration of the in-between. The project is based upon the on-the-spot moment of hesitation.
The show started strongly with an emphasis on the dance. Meredith Barnes’ ensemble of dancers kept the majority of attention throughout the performance. From the very beginning, the dancers displayed classic modern lines and movement strategies. Their usage of suspension, in particular, was well articulated and practical to the performance’s themes of indecision. Swaying and a motif of circular motion was prominent as well, seeming to allude to the cerebral gymnastics our minds handle when a significant choice must be made.
Additionally, the dancers performed with a wooden doorway and assortment of boxes. These props appeared to serve as burdens yet also opportunities for the advancement of various movement themes.
Mark Platenberg’s instrumental compositions worked well with Barnes’ choreographic style, best characterized as traditional and moderately academic in approach (Barnes earned a degree in choreography from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, after all).
Moreover, Chelsea Thaler solely maintained the role of the storyteller, weaving together three separate narratives into her monologue. It was an interesting literary choice. One moment she was talking about her relationship with her mother, and the next she was discussing roadkill. The words seemed to mirror the swaying of the dancers, suggesting the shifting of point of view which can occur when someone is challenged by a controversial issue.
Through the Wall
closes July 25, 2018
Details and tickets
My favorite part of the performance incorporated a musical composition with a strong, driving percussion. The intensity of the song was matched with a duet defined by jolting isolations and staccato locomotions. The fervent quality best represented my understanding of the internal struggle that is indecision.
While the three contributing artists were all excellent individually, I found their joint project a bit confusing to navigate. The emotional journey, portrayed mostly by the dancers, seemed to advance and withdraw without much explanation as to why. The direction was unclear until the very end when Thaler consciously decides to step through the doorway with a transparent attitude of acceptance.
I also felt that there could have been a greater explicit connection between Thaler’s words and the choreography, which was not fully realized in this Capital Fringe performance.
Overall, Through the Wall has potential and a lot of great moments, but a certain level of reciprocity was missing which made the show a bit difficult to follow. Nonetheless, the artists and dancers were all beautiful to watch. Their message just seemed a bit lost. These artists can certainly delve so much deeper into this topic, and I really hope they do.
For now, this performance is a fine example of what artistic collaboration looks like, incorporating the skillsets of three individuals and coming away with a complex, intriguing performance piece.
Through the Wall . Directed and choreographed by Meredith Barnes . Composer: Mark Platenberg . Featuring Chelsea Thaler, Mark Platenberg, Jessi Shull, Megan Ellard, Ashley Dobrogosz, Melissa Tubach, Alex Miegel, Andrea Cook, Kari Argabright, Lauren DeVera, Moira Regan . Produced by DanceArtTheater . Presented at Capital Fringe Festival 2018 . Reviewed by Arielle Ostry.