Responding to Melinda Ring’s Strange Engagements

I felt the internal sloshing, bumping, thumping of bone and flesh and breath on floor and skin and air. I felt the sweat dripping off his nose. I felt the squeak of the floor against her thigh. 

Us, the audience, were let into a secret world of five people who flop, hump, and slap with a sumptuous uninhibitedness. Despite their seeming freedom to play, they also had urgency, like a child waiting in line for the bathroom. Twisted up and slightly uncomfortable. The thing about pleasure activities is that they aren’t always leisurely. They’re a little frantic and frenetic when infused with passion and a certain seeking seeking seeking to feel a rhythm, seeking seeking seeking to get on the same beat with another human. 

I watch the dance waiting for meaning to dawn on me, waiting for some sort of completion to settle. I love dances that get to a level of exposure that feels new, or at least make me, or the dancers, feel a little changed. Ring’s Strange Engagements had no transformation, for me. But I was held so tightly by these dancing humans, their electric movement, that I didn’t check my watch once. 

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