Duncan Dancers Cast Their Spell on Jerash
By Serene Serhan
Moving tantalizingly with the grace of the wind, the young dancers of the Duncan Center Conservatory in Prague swiftly gained the admiration of their audience at the North Theater in Jerash.
Free flowing movements, expressing inner emotion and inspired by Isadora Duncan's school of natural dance gave the night an enchanting atmosphere on Wednesday.
With each one of the three pieces, the modern dancers mesmerized their audience.
One attendee described the performance as an experience which was "magical as much as it is memorable."
The first sketch, Ruffled Fledge, interprets a parallel between nature and man, in which man is seen merely as another facet of life and not its center.
Dressed in white the young dancers chirped their way onto the stage from their perches on top of the auditorium, tiptoeing with a poetic spirit only known to the wind, sea, sun and moon.
The second piece, Walking All the Way to the King, was a fantastical interpretation of human nature.
Bare footed and cloaked in free flowing costumes, six ladies-in-waiting glided onto the stage to play a game of chess for the amusement of their king.
However, the king is not what he seems to be, and disappoints them by revealing his true self and inflicting a fatal wound on their friend.
"What we are trying to say," explains the group’s teacher, Eva Blazickova, "is that even in play, there will always be someone with an evil will."
"They are all happy, playing joyfully; then, without warning, the king decides to deflower one of the girls and he does," she said.
The piece, according to Blazickova, demonstrates that the true nature of man will prevail and that "at the end, we are all the same, evil or good, we are all made up of the same elements."
The final part of the night was yet another fantastical sketch depicting the frustration of the five brides of Charon.
Charon, a character from Greek mythology was a boatman ferrying souls, through the river Styx to the empire of the dead.
The piece, entitled 'The Brides of Charon' was simply magical.
Five young women, dressed in black, took over the stage and expressed, with every subtle move, the frustration of living in the netherworld.
"It is hard not knowing where you stand in life," said Blazickova, " and this is where most of us live our lives," she added.
"This piece depicts the frustration of every natural being," she explained.
Meanwhile, the dedicated teacher took no credit for the immaculate performance.
"I only show them the path," she said, "they walk their own way."
Blazickova, who is also a dancer, founded the Duncan Center Conservatory in Prague.
The Center bases its philosophy on the ideas of famous American dancer Isadora Duncan.
The conservatory draws on Duncan’s idea of dance as a complex expression of the dancer.
Through a six year program, the school bases its teachings on the conviction that modern dance abolishes cultural and social borders of the contemporary world and that it helps recreate common respect to man, to our world, to the past and to other cultures, reads a pamphlet distributed by the group.
Born in San Francisco, Duncan is the founder of what is now called Modern Dance.
She based her theory on the fact that dancing should be part of nature and not a separate art.
She was fascinated with ancient Greek ideals of human form and beauty.
At first, Duncan was met with strong opposition; but through perseverance, she prevailed and became one of the most famous and admired philosophers/dancers in the modern world.
During her struggle as a young dancer, Duncan once said "most human beings today waste some 25-30 years of their lives before they break through the actual and conventional lies which surround them."
The twenty-some-year old dancers of the center took her words to heart, and are now fulfilling her prophecy of freedom from birth.
Meanwhile, Blazickova described the experience of choreographing for the North Theater as "magical."
"To dance in such a space, intertwined with the mystery of history is truly a privilege," she said of the first of two nights her students are scheduled to perform.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)