By Alissa Cardone
Copyright 2003, 2018 Alissa Cardone
NEW YORK — During Obon, a very important annual ritual for the dead practiced in Japan, lighted lanterns are hung outside houses to guide the spirits of ancestors back home to visit the living. It is a ritual of many shadows, family reunion and much joy, filled with flickering candles, smoke trails, dancing and sixth sense, and like Eiko & Koma’s latest environmental installation performance “Offering,” it is a ritual for the living.
A dance conceived to urge regeneration after loss and, according to its authors, “to serve a communal need for a ritual of mourning,” I saw “Offering” Friday, during its free four-day run in the cemetery of St. Mark’s Church, where it was presented by Danspace Project. Staged last summer in six NYC parks, this time it was staged in the middle of St. Mark’s yard, atop gravestones (some containing the remains of celebrated NYC founding fathers), a few mounds of fresh soil and an awkward dirt-stuffed oversized altar sculpture that spun. Between two wise billowing trees, after a misty rain, dressed in fire colored sheaths, with Eiko dragging an arrow, the duo moved like fevered sleepwalkers in and out of the earth, towards and away from each other in magnetic indecision — do we sink or do we rise?
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