Imagine stepping into a gold shipping container in Times Square and interacting live with dancers in similar shipping container in Gaza. The Times Square Portal is a project initiated by Shared Studios, and the dance experience is part of a partnership with NYU's Translucent Borders project, a research group that observes the effects of dance and music at borders.
On Thursday November 2nd, an adventurous group of third year Tisch Dance Department BFA students volunteered to enter the Times Square Portal to dance with members of the Al-Anqaa Dance Company, who specialize in Dabke dancing. We arrived to discover that there was an audio issue: while we could hear Gaza, they could not hear us. But we rose above the technical difficulty. Our dancers set about learning a few key dabke steps. In reciprocation, Tisch dancers offered a phrase from Paul Taylor's Promethean Fire. On one side of our dancers, folks in Gaza followed along. On the other side, the door of the portal was opened onto Times Square and passersby.
Participants included Bethany Puente, Sabrina Karlin, Miranda Vilars, Zuri Noelle Ford, Polly Jacobs, Ayala Abrams, Grace Stingle, and Annalise Van Even, and musician Kane Mathis, on oud. Faculty incuded Professors Patricia Beaman and Andy Teirstein.
Bravo to our dancers for volunteering for this extraordinary opportunity.
Here is a clip of Mariel Roberts (of Mivos Quartet) sharing a little Bach with Gaza, as a part of Music Professor Andy Teirstein's Translucent Borders.
To learn more about the Times Square Portal Project: https://www.sharedstudios.com/times-square/
To learn more about Translucent Borders: http://www.translucentborders.com