Washed Up (ensemble, 2000)

washed up ensemble“It’s warm, it’s inviting, and you can almost smell the salt in the air.” –Sanda Aberkalns, Dance Insider

Jody Sperling’s ensemble version of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid luxuriates in an aquatic ambiance. A shipwrecked prince interrupts the dreamy interludes of the mermaids and awakens a yearning lust in the heroine and her sisters. Their antics with the comatose Prince betray an underlying aggression mixed with sexuality. The dance explores the connections between femininity, pain, loss, and bodily transformation. Drawing on imagery as varied as Classical Greek motifs, Korean shaman rituals, Renaissance court dances, and cinematic water ballets, the movement has a timeless quality. In its approach to this popular fairy tale, the work is complex, inventive, original, edgy and poignant. Quentin Chiappetta’s score, with it’s liquidy echoes of gamelan and cello, fully immerses the viewer in a rich underwater landscape. (Full group work is 60 minutes; ‘Dance of the Sisters’ excerpt is 18 minutes)

DANCERS: Molly Rabinowitz/Jody Sperling (The Little Mermaid); Henning Rübsam (The Prince); Karen Bernard (The Shaman); Graceann Dorse, Kate Garroway and Ashley Sowell (Mermaid Sisters); Emily Fraenkel (The Bride)
ORIGINAL SCORE: Quentin Chiappetta

“…the audience is seamlessly transported to the exotic depths of the ocean. …Sperling ingeniously creates movement for the mermaids, which brings the story to life… [Rabinowitz] exudes an intensity that would be rather disconcerting if it weren’t so perfect for the role. …It is this kind of attention to detail by Sperling and the entire cast that make this work such a gem. …Sperling’s final effect of projecting a video of the mermaid…twirling, floating, suspended in time and space on a trapeze against a shredded white cloth lifted against the backdrop (like the tattered sails of a ship) is wonderfully conceived. It is a beautiful, poignant ending to this story and to the evening.” –Sanda Aberkalns, Dance Insider