Reggie Wilson has yet again provided his audience with a piece that displays active reflection and astounding presence through movement and media. In the world premiere of CITIZEN, Wilson explores the point where one’s cultural history and the informed body meet through a series of solos, dynamic duets, and trios between the five performers. The allusion to the past coupled with a glimpse of the present through the human body is a common thread through Wilson’s work, and his research has replenished his vision, giving the audience a reverent awareness of and solidarity with those visions and the discussions they inspire. Wilson reflects on past versions of the performers through repetition and movement in an ethereal collection of video projections and asks us what it means to feel grounded and connected to a physical location. This continual theme of return, or lack of return, poses the question for all of us: what does it mean to keep coming back?
The stage at FringeArts headquarters captivates as the lights rise and video footage of the performers in natural landscapes is projected in large format. This footage plays through the entirety of the piece, subtlety shifting our gaze to and from the dancers and their captured selves, as the soloists emote intimately and unforgivingly with the audience. Wilson and his dancers beautifully articulate humankind’s desire to belong. Solos and ensemble work interweave, and we are not introduced to the final, fifth performer until the piece is nearly over. The piece culminates with a large ensemble narrative, leaving the audience to ponder their own place in the physical, cultural, and emotional landscape of today.
[FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard Philadelphia, PA] September 8-10, 2016; fringearts.com/citizen.
The presentation of CITIZEN by Reggie Wilson was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts.