Unpredictability and uncertainty mixed with complete bliss are the emotions that are brought to the audience’s conscious when experiencing the performance that is “Figure a Sea.” Choreographer and director Deborah Hay and composer Laurie Anderson, two iconic American performance figures, collaborated for this production.
While watching the dancers move around — seemingly unchoreographed — the audience is trying to find its way through the mass of people, just as they seem to be. The feeling is not too dissimilar to being lost in a crowd. The 19 dancers on stage move apart and come together over and over like waves of the ocean.
However, even when they were together, they seemed lonely and apart. There are also moments of embrace between two or three of the performers and you feel as though you are intruding on an intimate moment. However, as soon as this moment begins, it ends, leaving the audience wondering what happened to finish such a beautiful moment. It evokes feelings that parallel real life relationships.
However unchoreographed “Figure a Sea” may seem for a while, the dancers are surprisingly coordinated are when they suddenly come to formation. These moments of formation are quiet which beautifully contrast the frantic movements and gestures that were the precursor. Although it was a bit jarring at times, every moment was unpredictable and there was something refreshing about it. Audiences are so used to large, precise dance numbers, and it is rare to see the dance form free to breathe and flow.
An avant garde form melds with an artful freedom of expression to create a hard to miss show that will leave you speechless.