Dance provides me access to my own vulnerability.Often when I watch it, I notice that my breath deepens and I settle into my seat with a kind of active passivity. I am a spectator but I never know what the dancers are going to trigger inside of me. So, I sit still but attentive.
Watching Exit 12 perform, took this to an entirely different level. It gave me a window into war in a way that I had never had access to before. War is something that I have trouble processing. But, held safely in the theater and watching Roman Baca”s story told through dance opened me up to a deeper understanding of a soldier’s process, the loved ones that they leave behind and then return to and the children who are affected on both sides of the field.
As part of the piece, there are Iraqi children that Roman had taught when he returned to Iraq as an artist. The children were projected onto a screen and the dancers danced with them. I thought how cool it was that the children could be watching somewhere in Iraq. They could be watching themselves, on a computer as we watched them in the theater on the screen. Our souls connected through dance and through technology, and indirectly connected through war.
The piece opened a dialogue that we facilitated between our in-theater audience and our online viewers via facebook and twitter and our social chat room. I couldn’t help but think, if we could engage in these difficult conversations through art, then maybe we would remove the need for war. Naive, I know, but it could definitely be a healing process or a trigger for conversation. Imagining these conversations happening globally, at the same time, because we are able to view it live together, is a powerful possibility that could inspire, heal, and possibly change the way that we see each other.