Yesterday I was invited to watch the rehearsal for HEARD•NY organized by CreativeTime, Nick Cave, Ailey School and Shelley Burgon. Tthe performance felt like part of a cultural history, with elements taken from folk lore from some “Other” culture. The materials used for the horse costumes—thatch reed skirts, colorful lace patterned masks—remind you of Mexico, or some Pacific Island. The music has roots in Africa and the old world of Europe. However, the performance as a whole belongs to itself. It has the feeling of history without being historical. In that way it is actually heavenly, insofar as you feel like you’ve stepped into a world above our own.
In the beginning of the performance, the performers improvise a thoughtful meander as though they are horses at pasture. I watched a child in her mother’s arms point enthusiastically at one of the horses, and as the horse came over to them, she became frightened, unsure. I was reminded of the feeling when you step up to a fence and a horse comes over: a powerful, uncanny feeling comes over you as you interact with this huge animal. I loved the way this performance piece captured that.