Performing Dreams and Demons

“Dreams are manifestations of our deepest desires, anxieties, and fears. When we experience bad dreams, our natural instinct is to break free of them and struggle back to consciousness. But, if we give in and allow our dreams to take over, only then can we delve into our innermost thoughts and confront our demons.”

On January 19th, fourteen dancers bared their souls on stage. Shaping Sound dance company, a single unit composed of distinctively sculpted bodies, told a story in black, white, and red. The narrative seeped out of them and they were simultaneously performers and storytellers. Their bodies illustrated a love story.

Under the haze of the lights, the dance bled out from behind the curtain until I was steeped in the life that emitted from the story. I was invested in the joyous ruckus to the verge of tears, brought on by the seductive beauty. The performance was sexy and raw, flirtatious, but emotionally naked. I was close enough to hear the puffs of breath propelled from the dancers’ bodies. They left me breathless, too. They released not only air, but also emitted the feeling of the piece: the pain and tension of abuse and the hope at the opportunity for a new love. Exhale. Then they filled themselves up again, ready to keep going. Inhale. It created a process of osmosis between the audience and the performers: they released the story, and we absorbed it in exchange for a sense of awe that floated almost palpably in the air above us.

The show was violent, hopeful, desperate, and – above all – lovely. The dream state created by the dancers and the props was a perfect setting, and the passionate physical confrontation of demons made for a finale that was nothing less than inspiring.

Ultimately the show left me thinking about the quote from the program, and contemplating dreams and demons. I realized that if battling ghosts looks like that – tough and elegant – and feels that raw and hopeful, then maybe everyone could benefit  from trying it more often.

Learn more about Shaping Sound at their website:

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