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photo by Pierce Bounds
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE NEW ECSTATIC 
     
Premiered at Danspace Project Sarah Skaggs’s The New Ecstatic.  OCTOBER 3rd, 4th, 5th 8pm DANSPACE PROJECT  2013
     
Sarah Skaggs has developed her new work, The New Ecstatic, both as a forward-looking piece that offers a new meaning for the ecstatic in the contemporary moment, and as a retrospective understanding of her earlier work, which dealt with the ecstatic as part of her core movement vocabulary.
     
     
In The New Ecstatic, an evening-length piece, Skaggs weaves excerpts from her signature work, Higher Ground, a non-proscenium dance event that merged the concert and club format into a form of ritual, with her latest material titled “The New Ecstatic,” a duet made in collaboration with dancer Cori Kresge. The evening, culturally and temporally hybrid, is an examination of the changing nature of ecstatic dance forms, as impacted by cultural shifts in the meaning of the “out-of-body” in a post-disaster world. 
     
The duet draws from various vocabularies and cultural artifacts, such as the 13th-century French labyrinth at Chartres, the medieval dance form Danse Macabre; the woodcuts of Albert Durer; Martha Graham's “Steps in the Street;” and Joseph Beuys’s social sculpture, a radical utopian vision of the artist’s role in transforming society. Similarly, Higher Ground was a project in the mid-90s that was deeply influenced by conceptual artist Dan Graham’s essay and video documentary titled, Rock My Religion, an examination of ecstatic forms found in early American religious practices, such as the Shakers, and the quasi-religious expression of the ecstatic found in Rock and Roll. Though seemingly disparate, the jagged imagery of the medieval ecstatic and the spirited rock-inspired ecstatic converge to create an evening full of ebullient and vibrant energy.  
 
Choreographically, The New Ecstatic exposes the very processes of dance making. From walking, circling, crawling, turning and collapsing, Skaggs allows for the origins of the movement to be seen. “Pure,” unscripted improvisational passages, juxtaposed with extremely formal sections, allow Skaggs to investigate meaning making in her choreographic process. The result is an understated simplicity, and an arresting of the ecstatic in the everyday experiences of grief, joy, boredom, rage, and freedom. 
 
The New Ecstatic, the duet, has been made in collaboration with Cori Kresge. Emie Hughes and Meredith Fages and Joanna Kotze will dance excerpts from Higher Ground. The evening also includes documentary footage of Skaggs's 9/11 - A Roving Memorial, a movement installation danced on the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 and documented by filmmaker Heidi Scheuermann. Joining the film screening will be a cameo appearance of twenty-five dancers from the film.
 
Funding Credits: This project has been supported by Research and Development Committee of Dickinson College, the Friends of Higher Ground Projects, Inc. and private donors. Commissioned by Danspace Project. 
 
 "Sarah Skaggs creates dances that may look like an out-of-control game of tag but aren't" Gia Kourlas, The New York Times.
 
 
Press
The New York Times
A Transcendence Grounded in Austere Contemplation
Sarah Skaggs Presents ‘The New Ecstatic’ at Danspace

By Gia Kourlas
Published on October 8, 2013
 
The Dance Enthusiast
Dancing Up Close to Sarah Skaggs- "The New Ecstatic" Opens Danspace Project's Fall Dance Season (DanceUpCloseVideo)

By Christine Jowers
Published on September 26, 2013
 
offoffoff.com
Mysterious Energy
Sarah Skaggs Dance does The New Ecstatic at Danspace

By Quinn Batson
Published on October 8, 2013
 
Dickinson University
Focus on Faculty: Sarah Skaggs

by Christine Baksi
 
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