November 4, 2012

SKIN: An Exploration of Touch Through Dance. ~ Cassandra Smith

Last night at the Dairy Center in Boulder, I went to see SKIN, a new choreographic work by the Evolving Doors Dance company.

The work, which can also be seen next week in Denver, was choreographed by Angie Simmons and is centered around an exploration of human touch.  SKIN features sound scores by Amy Shelley, costumes by Annabel Reader and lighting by Craig Bushman and Jess Buttery. On the stage is a seven member cast of breathtaking movers and eighteen community dancers from around the metro area.

“Why do we touch? How do we use touch to communicate and what are we saying when we do? Why do we long for human contact? How can touch be so universal and, at the same time, so uniquely intimate? What happens to the human body at the moment of touch? Our skin separates us from the world and is also our contact point for everything outside ourselves. What is your skin holding in?” ~ Evolving Doors Dance

These were the questions that guided the dancers through their movement as the touched each other, themselves and the world around them.

Sometimes their touch was soft and romantic, other times playful and energetic.  The dancers also expressed the negative experiences certain kinds of unwanted or forced touch can create.

By expressing the full range of emotions one can experience because of or within touch, I was reminded of the immense power of intimacy touch contains.

Whether it be labeled positive or negative, touch through the point of contact on our skin is an extremely vulnerable space.

It was interesting that simply by watching the dancers touch themselves or each other, I found myself experiencing the same emotions they were projecting. This was both pleasing and uncomfortable at times, but what was constant was a tone of raw human intimacy.

It is not often in our culture we see images of people touching without some kind of sexuality attached. It was nice to reminded of the depth and diversity of emotions and experiences we can have through touch.

I feel compelled to express gratitude to the dancers of Evolving Doors Dance for expressing vulnerability and dancing their own truths about touch through this piece; and also to the choreographer for bringing these experiences to the stage.

If you would like to see SKIN, it will be at the KRD Venue on November 8th and 9th at 7:30 p.m. More information and tickets can be found here.


Cassandra Smith was formerly an editorial intern at elephant journal.  She is a fifth generation Colorado native who believes dance has the potential to liberate human consciousness from its cultural prison.  Cassandra formerly trained at Boston Ballet and is currently a senior at University of Colorado Boulder studying journalism, sociology and philosophy. Visit her website at cassandralanesmith.com, and follow her on Twitter.


Editor: Kate Bartolotta

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