‘Leaning into the Unknown’: Mignolo Dance and The Moving Architects

Mignolo Dance. Photo by Carolyn Herring.
Mignolo Dance. Photo by Carolyn Herring.

September 26, 2020.
Streamed on YouTube.

Ramapo College’s Berrie Center presented the second act of its livestream broadcasts spotlighting New Jersey-based artists this Saturday. The performance included dance pieces from Mignolo Dance and The Moving Architects, as well as spoken word by poet Dimitri Reyes.

First up was Mignolo Dance’s De-Eschatology, danced and choreographed by Charly and Eriel Santagado.

Mignolo Dance. Photo by Carolyn Herring.
Mignolo Dance. Photo by Carolyn Herring.

The Santagado sisters sit wrapped in plastic from the tops of their head to their ankles, mermaid style. Only after the limitation — on range of motion, on breathing — of each piece of plastic has been fully explored do they cut or rip through it. Charly and Eriel started the piece at the beginning of quarantine and evolved it throughout the course of the pandemic, adapting and continuing it through the phases of reopening. A contemporary corps de ballet of two, they move seamlessly from elegance to groove (of the “ugly” sort that, when performed sincerely, is made better than beautiful) and explore the range between. As they remove layer after layer of plastic, bare hands explore the negative space between them, then touch, then lead into partnering work like it’s a relief. De-Eschatology is an entrancing and honest study of starting at the end and moving forward.

The Moving Architects. Photo by Carolyn Herring.
The Moving Architects. Photo by Carolyn Herring.

The Moving Architects’ Jubilee and Knell, was choreographed by Erin Carlisle Norton in collaboration with dancers Caitlin Bailey and Maggie Beutner.

In true COVID style, each dancer is contained within her very own blow-up bubble, a plastic tent sheltering them from the outside air. The dancers feed off of each other’s movements from their respective spaces. When one exits her space, the music and movement quality shift. The air around her seems to invoke a serene floating feeling. The duet continues, now through a plastic barrier, with contact improv and weight sharing. When the other dancer exits her bubble, the reaction is spastic, the open air initiating convulsive movements until she’s exhausted, breathing heavily, peeling her mask away from her face momentarily to catch her breath. 

Support this and future performances presented by the Berrie Center by making a donation to the Contemporary Arts Fund or the COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund through the Ramapo Foundation, here

By Holly LaRoche of Dance Informa.

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