The stage at Ming Studios was glaringly lit when Lydia Sakolsky-Basquill introduced the newest work from Project Flux
, "You__not__," on Jan. 15. Rather than discussing the content of the upcoming dance, she talked about the people and institutions who'd made what the audience was about to see possible. Space had been provided by Ming, Idaho Dance Theatre had loaned some equipment. Photographer Nate McIntyre had taken hundreds of photos of Project Flux during rehearsals, and prints of his work were hanging on the walls.
Opening remarks couldn't have prepared those in attendance for what they were about to see. "You__not__" is painful to watch—an emotional bloodletting that brought tears to the eyes of many in the audience for its harrowing treatments of emotional connection, missed chances and unrequited love.
A dance of rare impact and quality, it's also one of the few performances that has so successfully sold the unity and emotional rapport of its dancers in its first movements—and so devastatingly presented their fission by its conclusion.
In its first section, dancers Hunter Brewer, Barry Gans, Selby Jenkins, Isabel Machado, Paige Russell and Sakolsky-Basquill stepped onto the stage one by one, executing elegant maneuvers and composing themselves for the second section, in which they paired off for "hug wars," warmly embracing, then scaling each other as if they were mountains. These pairs slipped on and off the stage, and in the blink of an eye, its cast could go from crowded to spare.
Their romances began to decay in the third section as the dancers sprinted at each other full tilt, only to awkwardly hold back at the last possible second, avoiding each others' gazes. This was when the action on the stage began to elicit responses from audience members, who wriggled in their seats.
"You__not__" drew to a close as the dancers again paired off, leaving a lone performer, Jenkins, to wander the stage peering into the other dancers' motions, softly saying, "You. Not." The paired dancers gave her no response, however, and her plea became more fervent, building into a scream that rattled the audience.
Divulging what her plea ultimately became—what "You__not__" actually means—would spoil the performance, suffice it to say it's one of the more heartbreaking and pointed messages one person can convey to another.