Dawn States’ Healing Connections | Movement is A Biography

Dawn States Company

by Gina Palumbo for The Dance Journal

Dawn States Company began its run of the film Healing Connections for the Fringe Festival on Thursday, September 10th. I had the following day off from my 9-5, and I spent it wisely tuning in. There were two versions of the film offered, one with the performance as it would be seen on stage, and the second with audio description. As musician Izzy Kaufman played music that sounded similar to a flute, three dancers, Dawn States, Jamie Ray-Leonetti, and Dynah Haubert, commanded the glowing white space of Location 215, with beams of sunlight spilling in from the elongated windows behind them.

Dancers Jamie and Dynah executed choreography that was different from Dawn’s, and the narrator was able to encompass everything happening at once so that nothing was amiss to the eye or ear. Instead of using directional language with words like left, right, down, and around, there was rhythm and a tangible design in the words as there is in poetry. The description became not just an aid, but another artistic element, echoing and enhancing the movement present.

The formation that the dancers were in was a triangle. Dynah used a power wheelchair, Dawn used a cane and Jamie used a motorized scooter. The narrator was precise in her words, telling us when one arm was raised higher than the other. She said, “in unison, turn in a circle,” and the three dancers did so, adding their own layers to the unified movement, but together, they were one.

While in formation, the dancers were given the space for solos. As each dancer finished her movement, they reached out to the next dancer, as if to pass on their movement and strengthen the connection in the space between them. Dynah exited as all three dancers circled their arms. Jamie stood as Dawn stood in relevé, each reaching beyond the corners of the room. The trio returned and began moving again, passing their movements and voices like their own biographies right along to one another.

I had the privilege to attend Temple University’s MFA Thesis Concert earlier this year where I first saw States perform, and once again, I was overcome with emotion at the community and connection before my eyes. She has created a cornerstone where movers can use their voices to create the shapes that lie within their souls.

Dawn States Company
2020 FringeArts Festival
September 10 – October 4
Free. Flexible Run Time.
On Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/456727382

About Gina Palumbo

Gina Palumbo is a native of Philadelphia and has a passion for the arts. She has received her B.A. in Dance from DeSales University in Center Valley. She has been spending post-graduate life practicing ballet and yoga, as well as working in a library as an assistant. She resides in Northeast Philadelphia with her mother Joanne, her brother Anthony, her Nonna Carmela, and her pet bunny, Phyllis.

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