Atlanta continues to prove itself as a do-it-yourself grassroots city of creators, and René Nesbit and Beth Fajardo are two major contributors. In their latest partnership, Through Deep Waters, both directed, danced, and choreographed.They shared statistics about the world’s lack of clean water and donated the entirety of their ticket sales to the charity of cause, Charity: Water. The result felt like a deep passion project and an outreach effort that stretched into the corners of the Atlanta dance community by providing performance opportunities to a range of different artists in different mediums.
As with many DIY projects, there were technical difficulties.Through Deep Waters’ biggest issue was a projector that never quite focused properly. René realized this however, and sent the ticket holders the videos after the show, allowing us to watch them at home in full splendor. And, at times, it didn’t even matter, as the voices of Tyler Kidd and Jordan Gonzalez were strong enough to transport us even without seeing them.
Dancing in a mask is difficult, both physically and emotionally, but there were certain moments that stood out in the best way possible. Page Yang’s solo was absolutely breathtaking—I could have watched her for hours on end. She masterfully paired fluidity with sharp precision, smoothly gilded across the space as she went in and out of the floor, and had the audience in the palm of her hand for the entirety of the three minute work. The final work, Holy, choreographed by Beth Fajardo was energetically synchronized between the three dancers, and all were up to the task of the rapid fire material. Each brought their own individuality to the movement, but their connection—clearly they have worked together before— brought a strong finish to the night. Choreographer René Nesbit is clearly well trained in Horton, and her dancer Olivia Gelfand grasped her material with ease. Gelfand was in three works, and in each she brought an energy that reached beyond the confines of the blackbox space.
It was a treat to see the community involved. From A.M Collaborative projects to Gwinnett Dance
Theatre, the diversity of lineup was rich and satisfying. The evening began with a Sign Language specialist reminding us that movement language can be found in a variety of ways, and Sania Robinson eloquently and passionately delivered a poem by René Nesbit. The biggest concern of the evening was the close proximity of the audience to one another while COVID-19 was still at large. Audience members were assigned seating along bleachers that were less than the typical ‘6 feet’ we have come to grin and bear over the past year. Productions need to be extra creative in these times and aware that the comfort levels of viewers will always vary. A show needs to be marketed properly so the audience knows exactly what they are getting into. If the ticket reads “socially distanced,” we expect six feet. It is possible to have a performance safely for even the most Covid cautious. Potential solutions could have been seating along three walls to provide more distance between chairs, or more shows over one evening to allow for smaller audiences.
Nevertheless, Through Deep Waters was successful in its mission, and I commend anyone bold enough to create a production from the ground up. We need more individuals that just go for it without inhibitions, creating spaces for work to be shown and introducing us to standout performers.
This is the opinion of one writer from our team. If you wish to add your thoughts, please comment below or use our rapid submission option on our homepage of the website. Thank you!
Photos by @cody.j.jacques