A photo essay. To view all 28 shots, check out the email version.
Luis Antonio, Lindsey Bauer, Tara Burns, Nikki Carrara, Kellie Ann Lynch, Alicia White are running, leaping, sliding, lying, crouching, grasping. Most of all, they’re looking—into themselves, into their pasts, into memories they might rather have forgotten.
They’re members of the Elm City Dance Collective, and they’re performing If You Knew You Then, a beautiful and vulnerable meditation on late adolescence—or, as artistic director Lynch puts it, “a hard time [when] a lot of shit happens.” Using the ages of 16 and 21 as bookends, the six thirtysomething dancers, who choreographed the work together, have tossed the struggles and trials of that period of their lives—coming out of the closet, or being socially betrayed, or experiencing generalized angst—into a pot that stirs up your “shit,” too. If you’re watching If You Knew You Then, you are the “you.”
But on the other side of this crucible, whose four remaining showtimes happen this weekend at Lyric Hall, are feelings of relief, even redemption. The dancers say it’s been therapeutic to share the painful stuff this project has conjured—that their pasts have emerged with less power over their presents.
That was the effect of the show on this viewer as well. Kept hidden, including from ourselves, our old mistakes and embarrassments weigh heavily. Shared even if only with ourselves, in a room where we know others are doing it too, the grip is loosened, the dam is cracked, the cloud begins to break.
Written and photographed by Dan Mims. Image depicts Lindsey Bauer.