THERE ARE MOMENTS when words, movements, sounds and sometimes smells, collide; space shifts and the air around me feels charged and electric. These instances can last for a few seconds, or even longer, and often they make me imagine that I am time traveling, without knowing what era I’ve traveled from.
I immediately determine that the visions and aural reverberations are uniquely familiar—eerily so. When they happen, my senses are amplified. Time and vision decelerate to the point that it could be described as either slow motion or time stopped. My heart races as my mind quickly and vividly recalls the same images and words I know I’ve experienced somewhere, sometime before: déjà vu.
Did you imagine I was describing viewing a dance performance? A shifted reality can certainly be an indicator that an artist has done their job, and taken the viewer to a familiar place that speaks to a shared reality.
I recently read that one explanation of déjà vu is that we attribute the feeling to something we have dreamt. We have forgotten the dream until some trigger brings back the memory that reminds us of the situation or place when we are awake.
A short time ago, I experienced an occurrence that seemed more sensationally heightened than others, and in the moment I silently asked, is this really happening? Am I having a stroke or is this really total recall? The familiar colliding with the present-day meets the dream world. How does anyone describe a hyper-real instance that might be explained away as a psychic, embodied feeling, or, at best, artistic, amplifying a remembered event?
Memory does what it does, fades and returns, and the flash of seemingly important perceptions dissolves as we question ourselves. Did I really hear the exact words of “you’re going to have fun on television,” with three people in the room, that I’ve heard before? Experiencing the same room that mirrors the office I’m standing in, and yet when I originally remembered hearing “you’re going to have fun on television” with three people in the room I didn’t know that in this present time those three seemingly random looking people are my staff standing in front of me. Freaky, brilliant, and unexplainable— and like a performance, so alive.
It’s the unexplainable interests and intrigues that provoke one to look closer, and dig deeper into the memory of the moment, the instance of heightened awareness. Artists, and these articles about them provide additional insights into the inspirations, and often obsessions, that drive their work. Highlighted within are four dance-makers, Alleluia Panis, Lenora Lee, Amara Tabor-Smith and Joe Goode, who are presenting projects that draw on themes of place, the unknown, the unspoken, and how each are personalizing the audience experience.
This month launches another busy performance season, and there is so much joy to reap in deciding when and where to fulfill cravings for exceptional dance. Features this month compliment the phenomenon of experiencing a sensation with ones we have experienced before—history.
Viewing a performance is something we have all done, and yet each artistic team creates a new opportunity to be renewed and refreshed within a familiar concept, and yet, wholly another.
Enjoy the transformations, and the beguilingly captured moments; get lost in the experience—past meets present, déjà vu.
I really did have fun on television.