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Savion Glover and Maria's Voice turned a spotlight on effects of abusive behavior

by Rita Kohn
October 10, 2014
Madame Walker Theatre Center
617 Indiana Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46202
(317) 236-2099
This review was originally published in NUVO Newsweekly, Indianapolis, IN.

Rita Kohn is a member of the Board of the Dance Critics Association.
Maria's Voice premiered at the Madame Walker Theatre Center on Oct. 10 initiating a month-long national tour to bring attention to abusive behavior and its intergenerational affects. Maria's Voice is a collaborative project between playwright Marcella Goheen, granddaughter of Maria Salazar who was murdered by her husband in 1931, and tap dance artist Savion Glover.

Savion Glover moved onto a raised platform, in low light he began with slow-paced staccato tapping interspersed with punctuation—as if he is working out what to say and how to make a point. His absorption intensified, gained speed and momentum.

With Glover rooted in one spot, we felt the struggle, we connected viscerally—how to get out of this tight situation—his eyes were closed, his head down, upper body hardly moving, just a slight thrust of each arm as the tapping traveled upward. His feet hardly visible, he effected a halting percussive interior conversation slowly layering a snatch of melody atop the rhythm. He sliced his right foot across the platform causing a reverb, like a fingernail across a chalkboard. It's pain beyond comfort, fear beyond mitigation, loneliness as dark as moonless night. And then a guitarist slid into his seat. He matched his playing with Glover's beat; Glover took notice—a bit of fancy footwork, and with a spin he was on the other side of the platform—release!

The mood slowly evolved—the interior monologue found its way into a conversation between strings and taps. And then a woman's halting words changed the paradigm –"I am you/you are me/ she is…"
Silence. Long, long silence. We hold our breath waiting for more words. Glover and guitarist never stop their visceral beat.

Everything intensified and then a tumble of words, cascades of words, faster, louder, cutting, slicing, slashing—physically, emotionally upsetting—the pain travels into our bodies, minds, hearts—we feel paralyzed. Silence. Silence. Silence. And then a new beat, a new melody, a new speech.

Like a threesome operatic aria Glover, guitarist and woman expanded into an uplifting song. The transformation traveled through us. We were compelled to our own silence before we could stand and clap.

Now the work began to recognize our cultural denial regarding physical, sexual, emotional abuse between people, no matter their relationship to each other or their status.

With Maria's Voice Goheen and Glover were asking us to open the conversation to find ways to effect change from an attitude of acceptance to one of awareness.

More at: http://juliet-griego.squarespace.com/this-maria-project-history/
Savion Glover

Savion Glover

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