Author: Siobhan Burke
“A woman stands onstage, hunched over in what looks like a bulky snowsuit, the outer shell of many layers soon to be revealed. In a meticulous undressing, she peels away items of clothing, pulling a yellow sweater over her head like taffy, nesting her legs in a stretchy blue shirt on her way to taking it off.
This is the opening of Beth Gill’s exquisite and enigmatic ‘Brand New Sidewalk,’ which I saw in its New York premiere at Abrons Arts Center in September. Wide open to interpretation, the solo, danced by Danielle Goldman, is on one level about nothing more (or less) than color, shape and texture.
Yet in Ms. Goldman’s metamorphosis, I also found a potent, if oblique, political statement — about a woman’s control over her body and her subversion of any expectations we might have for it. At no moment could you say with certainty, ‘This is who she is,’ because she never stopped transforming.
In watching dance this fall, while rounding the corner of the first anniversary of the 2016 presidential election, I’ve been struck by the political resonance not only of Ms. Gill’s work, but of, well, just about everything. Even dances with no obvious agenda have seemed like quiet protests, simply by virtue of staking a claim to space, time and the attention, amid so much urgently vying for it, of the people gathered to watch.”