Dancers from Liss Fain Dance in "The Imperfect Is Our Paradise" Photo RJ Muna

Dancers from Liss Fain Dance
in “The Imperfect Is Our Paradise”
Photo RJ Muna

The Imperfect is Our Paradise

3LD Art and Technology Center, New York, NY
January 16, 2016

Cecly Placenti

Out of stillness, slowly, like waking from a deep sleep, The Imperfect is Our Paradise didn’t as much begin as arise. An immersive performance installation that encompasses the entire space at the 3-Legged Dog Art and Technology Center in New York City, the 45 minute piece for 6 dancers creeps up on the audience like a whisper. As audience members circulate the perimeter of the dance space looking for a vantage point, the dancers traverse the marley floor, observing each other, the audience and the environment in quiet, meditative poise. From this reflective place, the piece rolls in like a fog, without the usual theatrical signals of lighting or sound cues.

Peppered with only a few chairs along 2 sides of the square dance space, the perimeter is unobstructed and audience members are invited to walk around at will throughout the performance in order to see the piece from multiple ranges and perspectives. The evening was a moving meditation, a lovely sigh, an intimate conversation, and 45 minutes seemed to go by in a heartbeat, leaving me satisfied but longing for more.

The Imperfect is Our Paradise is a feast for the senses and a symbiotic relationship between several art forms. For the eyes – digital projection on screens suspended in a square around the dance floor, and remarkably fluid and emotionally rich choreography performed superbly by each dancer. For the ears – a rhythmic, hypnotic sound score by Dan Wool and voiceover by Jonathan Siegel reading excerpts from William Fauklner’s The Sound and the Fury.

For the body – a rare chance in theatre to get up, move around, sit or stand, change perspective and see the work from many different angles. Structured around relationships, The Imperfect juxtaposes duets, solos, and group work throughout, highlighting the energy and dynamic that infuses our lives – sorrow, excitement, strength, and passion. Duets that begin on one side of the stage build in intensity and breadth as they travel to the center and across the space. Groupings come and go, merge and melt in a frenetic yet seamless manner.

While watching the show, I did not at first see a direct relationship between the text and the choreography. As an audience member, I instead allowed the text to wash over me, sometimes paying closer attention to an emotive phrase or particularly vivid word, other times just hearing it as background sound in a very rich and pleasing landscape. Upon further reflection, I see the connection between the often emotionally raw, visceral quality of Faulkner’s prose and the fearless physicality of the dancers movements.

I cannot say enough about how much I enjoy watching these 6 dancers- Jeremiah Crank, Aiden DeYoung, Katharine Hawthorne, Megan Kurashige, Shannon Kurashige, and Sarah Dionne Woods. Unique and distinct movers all of them, they each moved with a common sinuous groundedness, an organic sequentialness that is really lovely to watch. Athletic, technically masterful, lush and sinuous, they stood alone as emotive individuals and danced together as a cohesive ensemble. Tonight was my first introduction to Liss Fain Dance and already I am eagerly anticipating the next time.