The show had been advertised through an email received a few days ago announcing this event at one of the small theaters in the old Mission district of San Francisco; a work in progress from the studios of noted choreographer/historian, Joanna Haigood, whose artistry has played out in the back of my mind as a theater experience I've wanted to see shared ever more broadly -- one of the uncompleted projects on my life's agenda. Haigood's "Invisible Wings" was performed some years ago under the auspices of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) of the National Park Service, so this isn't so far-fetched as one might think at first blush. After several attempts -- the cost of production and lack of budget has kept that particular dream from being considered in any serious way. But it still haunts me from time to time.Experienced a visit to an earlier time yesterday afternoon (echoes of the Nu Upper Room) ... .
If you've been reading this blog for a while (or if you'll enter Joanna's name into that little search bar above the banner to bring up earlier posts) you'll know that I've entertained visions of having her dance company, Zaccho, performing on the SS Red Oak Victory -- high up in the rigging -- for what seems an eternity of changing park staff personnel and budgetary cutbacks.
Lately I've been finding that vision rising to the surface again, and there is a real possibility that there may be another opportunity to bring it out again for consideration, and I've been taking informal steps to re-start the conversation. This time it might be as the centerpiece of a future Home Front Festival.
It was because of this renewed interest in that project that I called my friend, Jennifer, to arrange to attend an emotional and somewhat disturbing afternoon of Joanna's deeply-moving new work-in-progress based on W.E.B. Dubois's book, "The Soul of Black Folks."
"It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness -- an American, a Negro, two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder."
The title given to yesterday's workshop production is "Between me and the other World." It will probably be at least a year in development, and if that experience was a forerunner of its power in a more completed form, this important piece should place solo artist, Robert Henry Johnson, among the dance world's most celebrated masters.