Wild and Free
Finding my seat at Ohad Naharin and Batsheva Dance Company’s Decadance, the performance has already begun. In his own private world, on the stage of the State Theatre, Shamel Pitts, in a loose black suit and untucked white shirt, is dancing and I am so glad I have arrived with enough time to catch his playful, loose-kneed, liquid groove. To the side-to-side sway of early samba and late ’50s bossa nova, his moves call to mind how we might all dance if no one were watching. It is the contented, inward, and liberated dance of getting ready for a party, ironing one’s pants to the sounds of Jackie Davis at the console playing the danceable 'Glow Worm Cha-Cha-Cha,' and later changing one’s earrings as Peruvian soprano Yma Súmac’s pours her allure into the 'Gopher Mambo.' Unhurried, undeterred, pleasurable. The mood is smooth, ripe, and expectant. And as Pitts mimics a wriggly glow worm on the floor, the still-settling audience applauds. With house lights still on, the tone is set.
I am in the hip-swinging, toe-tapping world of Naharin, where movement is transmitted from one to another, from dancer to dancer, from dancer to audience, summoned from within the body to outside of the body. This is what movement looks like when the body does the listening and responds accordingly to its own secret writing at its core. This is freedom. This is unlocked expression. And it is euphoric. It, too, like our crooners earlier, ought be bottled and dispensed on grey-mood days. Watching Pitts, I want to shake like that. Moreover, watching Pitts, I want to be him, the embodiment of the John Buzon Trio’s 'It Must Be True;' and so it shall be, if this beginning is as true as it feels.