THE GOOD EARTH

 

Performance, Installation

Première Performance at Haute école d'art et de design, Genève, Switzerland

Opening Ceremony in 3 parts
1. Death march - Idioteque, Radiohead
2. Tribute to the Blues - I'll Drown in My Own Tears, Etta James
3. The Good Earth Is Rich - See Line Woman, Nina Simone  

The Good Earth is Rich (Opening Ceremony) is a 3-part dance solo and installation. The installation consists of a diagonal trail of ground coffee with a rich aroma that fills the performance space, and a grid of multicolored strings arranged in the space that forms a delicate but strong matrix.

 Part 1 is a solemn and percussive Death March, where the dancer marches across the coffee trail, making clear and linear traces in the trail. This part is choreographed in the spirit of military marches, with clear counts and militant robotic motions. Towards the end of this section, the dancer dramatically cuts the grid of strings in space, right in the middle of the coffee trail. The dancer removes her hat, cloak and gloves.

This is the beginning of Part 2, Tribute to the Blues, in which the dancer performs slow and thoughtful rotating arabesques on the coffee trail, leaving concentric circles from the movement of her foot as a trace. This section is soulful and circular, a direct contrast to the sharp lines of Part 1. By the end of Part 2, the dancer has crossed the entire diagonal of the coffee trail, leaving her traces throughout the entire trail.

Part 3, The Good Earth, is joyful and buoyant, with free improvised motion that goes all around the space and does not follow the diagonal trail anymore. The string grid is cut, the trail is dispersed, the space is open. Gone is the Death march, gone are the Blues. The dancer dabs perfume and throws on a bright green ceremonial robe. The space is filled with the scent of an earthy green bouquet. The dancer recites some lines from Charlie Chaplin's famous speech in The Great Dictator: "The good earth is rich and can provide for us all" "We have developed machinery that shuts ourselves in...more than machinery, we need humanity." 

The piece ends in a free-spirited, colloquial, improvised dance, that seems to signal or harken the beginning of something new and mysterious, something we do not yet know but something that we are left hoping for. 

Photographs - Ceel Mogami de Haas