I bet the neighbors are still discussing in hushed tones the events of last weekend in their comfortable tree-lined part of old Alamo Heights. It was over at the place where apartments are let out to gay divorcees, furry sandal-wearing goat cheese-eaters, and people with way too many cats.
It is not uncommon for strange noises, bumps and grinds, to issue from the premises at various times along with the occasional strange visitor - generally looking a little too happy, if you know what I mean - coming around. Starting Friday evening, an assortment of cars, fashionable and modest alike was lining the street, and the folks who came this beautiful early summer night, of all races and ages; genders and class, were stepping lightly up to one apartment in particular. A stunning woman in an a-line dress, well over six feet in height, greeted the guests at the door, ready with an offer for drink or a knosh, and made sure everyone was seated and relaxed. At eight o'clock sharp the door was closed; locked; and bolted.
Swingers? Followers of the occult? In this post-911 world where you are either for'em or against ‘em, any meeting of citizens outside of churches, schools, malls, or a sports arena is likely a job for Homeland Security. Why would anyone leave the comfort and safety of their homes except for Christian fellowship? One can dial up virtually any type of "entertainment" or any other worthwhile human endeavor on-line or on TV. Praise His Glory!
A further discreet investigation on the strange event, mostly by peering inconspicuously through the slats in the window blinds, revealed two beautiful women standing together in the relative expanse of an empty living room wearing street clothes, and otherwise appearing non-descript but for a startling presence imbuing radiance, confidence and wisdom - not from years but rather a telling sagacity.
They began to dance.
The performance had the early mark of a passionately rendered pas de deux with movement and pace mirrored to one another. The music was a moderately tempoed suite of syncopated minimalist industrial-styled electronic music followed by an intensely lovely work for string ensemble and piano. There was no sense that this was a strictly physical exercise; strong, but not assaultive. After a few minutes the two began to subtlety depart from one another in executing the routine without upsetting the continuity or integrity of the piece. The choriography incorporated afro-centric and latino influences that did not overpower the mostly modern dance style the performers had plainly mastered with so much presence and facility. The viewers no doubt came to admire the mechanics of the performance, as the dancers tensed their muscles, reached and grasped at their clothe or the unseen oppressors, turning around their imaginary axis -- deftly balancing sublime dignity and humanity. Their faces cast in not only pain and pleasure, but understanding, determination and strength. As the piece went on, it was evident that the two were not dancing with each other, or around each other, but through each other in an expression of pure truth in movement.
This had to be subversive in some way.
Who are these high priestesses of modern dance possessing such mad skills and creativity? They are Brit Keel (B.F.A. in Dance SMU, M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Iowa; Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance) and Deborah Andersen, (B.F.A. in Dance from the University of Iowa) who have founded the Saint Lorraine Dance Company here in San Antonio (www.saintlorraine.com)
Yes, these mavens of modern dance have successfully committed an act of guerilla performance and they are not sorry. In fact, they plan to do it again. Stay tuned.