“Higher Ground” Butoh Dance Theater By Helen Thorsen
With dancers: Mary Cutrera, Briana Jones, Lin Lucas, Alan Sutherland
Thursday Sept 20th 6:00 pm
Friday & Saturday Sept 21st & 22nd at 7:30 pm
Sunday Sept 23rd 5:00 pm
This dance takes a penetrating look at mental illness in contemporary society. Higher Ground the dance explores the struggle to maintain control in the face of madness, and the humanness and vulnerability of a soul coming to grips with their own unraveling. The inspiration for the work comes from the documentary “The Library of Dust” based on photographer David Masiel’s photos of the Oregon State Mental Hospital. Masiel’s photos document the decay of the hospital and the 3500 copper canisters which hold the remains of residents of the mental hospital who were unwanted in life and in death. The dance honors the journey for wholeness, and explores the interior life of our most vulnerable, and the resilience of our human spirit, and the courage to go on in the face of adversity.
The human shape is a ghost
made of distraction and pain.
Sometimes pure light, sometimes cruel,
trying wildly to open,
this image tightly held within itself.
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They tell how it was, and how time
came along, and how it happened
again and again. They tell
the slant life takes when it turns
and slashes your face as a friend.
Any wound is real. In church
a woman lets the sun find
her cheek, and we see the lesson:
there are years in that book: there are sorrows
a choir can’t reach when they sing.
Rows of children lift their faces of promise,
places where the scars will be.
We would have spent sharing it
You have made a capsule
You have wed yourself
I try to pack
My nest of thought
into your capsule
we find no room
One step back
and the night licks it’s
sealed eye like a lover
Yet instead of pleasure
It is a stance
More solid than
stone of white marble
the rim of night