Movement Always Survives: Displacement serves us with a human experience.
By. Megan Curet
Displacement by Mithkal Alzghair
The Invisible Dog
Sunday January 14, 2018 at 7.30pm
How does a body react when its movement is forced or it is halted? Which physical and cultural knowledge do people internalize in a country that is characterized by turmoil? With Displacement, Syrian dancer and choreographer Mithkal Alzghair examines the Syrian body in the context of war, migration and revolution.
On Sunday January 14th I entered The Invisible Dog upon recommendation by a fellow dance colleague. For a modest 10$ suggested donation I was able to enjoy an original work unlike any other I have seen in sometime. In an open setting with just a few simple dim lights to wash the space and a full audience with many left to stand I awaited for evening to begin. Instead choreographer Mithkal Alzghair came out and introduced his work Displacement. He then informed us that the expected trio would be performed by a duo. In the final hours upon arriving to NYC, one of the dancers was denied entrance into the USA and so the walls we are continuously striving to build around our own country mark an evening encircled by migrations.
Migrations took both the physical and metaphorical form in Displacement. One dancer then entered, beginning with a silent walk, and a stare out into the audience. He began a progression of stepping patterns, which would then turn into a sequence of repeated marching, and stomping. From a walk, the movement developed into a militant gesture or a sense of a calling to arms. From a gesture the dancer would embody energy of panic and sense of urgency. He would stop abruptly and the pattern would re-emerge as a new gesture. The foot patterns flowed in between militant marching and a folk style of stepping, I was immediately left to wonder if there was a relationship between the governed body and the traditional body.
Another body eventually joins the solo dancer and the story continues simultaneously, side by side, two bodies, and two stories. Alzghair plays well with repetition and the use of body percussions. The simple foot patterns vibrate through the two gentlemen and further stepping, stomping and walking challenge the stamina in the room. One dancer eventually emerges with a white fabric in the air. I immediately turn my thoughts to a blank canvas, a new beginning, the waving of a white flag, the yearning to surrender and finally to simply a blank flag. Just as the possibilities of this singular object flash before the viewers eyes is exactly what the evenings work imprints on the mind.
On an empty stage set with minimal lighting design, Alzghair’s Displacement invites the audience to witness the other. He examines the root of a simple movement and offers the audience goer a chance to do the same. For one hour you are sitting in your seat wondering, where is this going? Will they scream now? The room is silent and focused and for a moment I realize I have not witnessed another performance on the Syrian crisis such as this one. You place in your mind where the third member of the tribe might have fit in. I am then reminded of all the displaced bodies we so often miss on the news.
Alzghair’s Displacement is a reminder that the body is a resemblance of society. Eventually sounds of prayer and street movement fill the room, while the marching and stomping continue. Though you feel so resolution, you are reminded that movement still occurs and not only on the stage but on the streets Raqqa and though we can not see them now, the people of Syria will move as one, once again.