In Whole or in Part | Dance review
In flashes of dance and visual imagery, an abstract utopia transforms into seedy grounds for destruction, while its inhabitants progressively turn on each other. It’s wonderful and unexpected.
I don’t presume to know much about the atrocities of genocide, but I see how Kate Corby’s latest work relates to the issue. In Whole or in Part—now playing at the Fasseas White Box Theater at the Drucker Center—expands on Corby’s travels and her research of the subject. I was skeptical at first. How does one avoid trivial assumptions and conclusions when dealing in such difficult subject matter?
But after watching, Corby not only succeeds in what she wants to accomplish, she avoids being preachy or bluntly overselling a highly delicate, highly site-specific issue. This piece isn’t about Rwanda or Uganda or even Syria, rather it’s about primitive instinct. What happens when you get pushed around? You push back.
Clad in white garb, the members of Kate Corby & Dancers move amid a backdrop of black and white imagery, among trees and cascading sunlight. The images later transpose to water and rocks, fences, walls, barriers. We essentially move from open space, to constricted space. The performers evolve, too, dancing with, then against each other. Their acts become more aggressive, more primal. In one sequence, an all out shoving match occurs. As their moods change, so does their clothing—from white to red.
With an assist from the beautiful visual designs of Orit Ben-Shitrit, only overshadowed by the raw athleticism of Corby’s dancers, In Whole or in Part is a well-crafted, well-executed exploration of human impulses. Violence often begets violence, and that's a relatable message.