Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Desk of Silence: 9/11 Dance Tribute in NYC

The 9/11 dance tribute referred to as Desk of Silence premiered in 2011, a decade after the despicable assaults that toppled the World Commerce Middle’s twin towers in New York Metropolis. Conceived and choreographed by Jacqulyn Buglisi (Creative Director of Buglisi Dance Theater), the free therapeutic ritual was carried out yearly on the Josie Robertson Plaza at Lincoln Middle for 9 years – with roughly 150 stay performers highlighted in a single present. This text contains private perception in regards to the Desk of Silence piece from artists who participated within the work, in addition to an overview of the particular 2020 broadcast by Lincoln Middle.

Dancers collect in NYC for a 9/11 dance tribute by Jacqulyn Buglisi referred to as Desk of Silence.
Picture credit score: Terri Gold

Choreographer Jacqulyn Buglisi of Buglisi Dance Theatre

Buglisi Dance Theatre (BDT) was based by Jacqulyn Buglisi and three different artists, who carried out collectively as principal dancers within the Martha Graham Dance Firm. The fashionable dance firm has a formidable repertoire of over 100 authentic works – a few of which have been set on different corporations, reminiscent of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Richmond Ballet and North Carolina Dance Theatre.

Though based mostly in NYC, Buglisi Dance Theatre offers instructional residencies and participates in artwork outreach applications throughout the US. They’ve labored with the Joyce Theater Instructional Residency, American School Dance Festivals and New Dances on the Juilliard College Lincoln Middle, to call a number of. The corporate obtained the American Dance Guild Award for Creative Excellence, and Buglisi herself has gained Altria’s Ladies Choreographer Award for her physique of labor in 2007.

“Utilizing photos, literature, poetry, heroic archetypes and a consuming physicality, I craft dances that discover human relationships revealing the daring visceral strengths, humor and beautiful vulnerabilities of the person.”

– Jacqulyn Buglisi, Creative Director of Buglisi Dance Theatre

Dancers carry terra cotta place in Buglisi Dance Theatre’s ‘Desk of Silence’ efficiency for 9/11. Picture credit score: Paul B. Goode

Desk of Silence Artist Experiences

Buglisi’s transferring 9/11 tribute dance, titled after an set up by Italian artist Rosella Vasta, is a ritual that requires world unity and peace. Through the years, it has featured dancers from everywhere in the globe; and the transferring 9/11 memorial work has been carried out at Syracuse College in New York and Cathedral San Rufino plaza in Assisi (Italy), along with the esteemed Lincoln Middle. Listed here are three dancers’ experiences performing such a poignant work.

Meagan King, 22, first carried out Desk of Silence in 2018 and can dance the brand new Prologue this yr. Lauren Marie Jaeger, 34, has carried out yearly since its premiere – as has Shaun Parry.

Thanks a lot for taking the time to mirror upon your expertise with us. Do you keep in mind the way you felt whenever you had been invited to take part Buglisi Dance Theatre’s Desk of Silence?

Meagan King: I felt honored to be a part of a name to motion that was larger than me. When the world is in want of therapeutic, typically it may well really feel like a frightening process as a person to make a major impression. Although it’s absolutely attainable, there may be nothing extra highly effective than artists becoming a member of collectively to make an announcement. [I felt empowered] to bop alongside unimaginable artists and, collectively, name for peace on this planet.

Lauren Marie Jaeger: As a Buglisi Dance Theatre firm member, I’ve been an assistant rehearsal director for this piece since its inception. It felt wonderful to be creating a bit that was to carry collectively over 100 dancers, musicians, and artists, to advertise peace and therapeutic on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 assaults. I keep in mind being profoundly moved by the expertise of so many people coming collectively to create one thing we believed in.

Shaun Parry: In 2011, after I heard this was being conceived, I used to be thrilled. I used to be at Floor Zero looking for survivors for per week after the assault. Each 9/11 after that was extremely tough for me. I felt guilt and all the photographs from the rubble and wreckage would come flooding again. The Desk of Silence 9/11 Challenge grew to become an attractive place of therapeutic and peace for me.

You all knew that this may be such a significant piece, and it doesn’t appear to be a coincidence that the themes of neighborhood and therapeutic emerged in your solutions.

Does it really feel totally different performing the work vs. rehearsing the work?

Meagan King: As is widespread with each efficiency, there may be an additional trace of magnificence and exhilaration in dancing stay. Each elements of the method are equally essential – the attractive discoveries we make in rehearsal and the ultimate second of letting your fruitful work blossom to life in efficiency. I typically join extra deeply with the emotional side of this work when I’m performing. Since we so meticulously work out all of the kinks in rehearsal, my spirit has the house to permit me to lose myself within the work, in one of the simplest ways.

Lauren Marie Jaeger: It does really feel totally different once we are performing relatively than rehearsing, however that’s not to say that there should not equally profound moments in rehearsal.  Because the rehearsals change into bigger, and Paula, and the opposite musicians be part of, there may be an growing feeling of oneness. 

The distinction with performing it on 9/11 is two-fold. The primary cause is like with another efficiency… Now we have to work collectively with out the steerage of an out of doors eye. Our connection to the musicians and each other turns into palpably stronger. The second cause is as a result of it’s the anniversary of an unlimited occasion.  Most years, the climate has been similar to the best way it was all these years in the past: shiny, sunny, calm.  These of us who keep in mind, or who possibly misplaced somebody that day, by no means fail to make the connection. 

Shaun Parry: Rehearsal is by and huge in regards to the technicalities and formations and getting all of it proper. After we get to the efficiency, we get to let all that go. Now we have practiced it sufficient that the method and our spacing and placement change into second nature.

In the course of the efficiency we get to transcend the nuts and bolts and create a second of ephemeral and ineffable magnificence. There’s a energy within the piece that solely comes once we are performing. All of the rehearsals are main as much as that second of fact. 

Dancers’ reflections present within the fountain by the Lincoln Middle in New York Metropolis after they carry out the Desk of Silence 9/11 memorial dance.
Picture credit score: Asterix

I really like the way you all inspected the entire creative course of and defined how the rehearsal course of contributed to the stay efficiency.

Yet another comparability query for you: how do/ did you’re feeling when performing the piece? And the way does this expertise differ from watching the work?

Meagan King: After I carry out on this undertaking, I really feel like an actual peace warrior… I really feel that dancing the work differs from watching the work as a result of the artist has a deeper connection to the center and pulse of the drum… To maneuver in a big ensemble to the beat of the identical drum, you’re feeling an excellent vibration of affection and belonging. It’s then our job because the performers to radiate this sense to be shared with the viewers as greatest we will.

Lauren Marie Jaeger: Being amongst so many individuals (most years now we have had over 180 dancers, musicians, technicians), all transferring collectively, with the identical intention, on the anniversary of the date when the world modified for me (I used to be 16, when the assaults occurred), and feeling all of those individuals with me, is each humbling and empowering.

One particular person might be such a small a part of one thing so massive, however every particular person’s contribution is of the utmost significance. Each single particular person should commit and be targeted and fill each second with intention. That dedication, and intent is tangible all through Desk of Silence.

Shaun Parry: Feelings properly up and surge via my soul like waves as I carry out the piece. I am going on a non secular and emotional journey from the horror and chaos of the assault to the rescue effort at Floor Zero to the unity and love that transpired in NYC and throughout our nation after the very fact. It has come to imply way more to me over time because the message of hope and peace isn’t solely about 9/11 but additionally responds to each human wrestle, ache, prejudice, battle, injustice and trial we take care of as a human race.

The distinction between watching it and performing it’s the identical for me as watching a film and doing what is going on within the film. I can expertise it vicariously via the display but it surely can not examine to experiencing it with my entire physique and soul in actual life. 

It seems like the sensation of connection permeates the piece – from transferring to a unified beat, to sharing the identical intention and remembering the unity that adopted the assaults.

Are there any photos that come to thoughts whenever you dance? From nature? Or from information protection of 9/11?

Meagan King: I think about that the processional of dancers represents continuous hope. Our stroll is militaristic and structured, symbolic of how we as a persons are constructed to beat. The visible of traces of dancers transferring ahead is the picture of the human race transferring ahead, regardless of the turmoil we could face.

Lauren Marie Jaeger: The picture of the dancers in the course of the second of silence has at all times popped into my head when occupied with the piece. I wish to think about us as a large amplifier sending out peace, compassion, and hope to the universe.

Shaun Parry: The attractive factor about historic ritualistic motion is that it may well have so many interpretations… I, personally, join to photographs I noticed whereas at Floor Zero; shards of sunshine piercing via a crag within the rubble as I’m peeking via a small opening to see if anybody alive is within the subsequent cavern, … day after day [of] digging within the hopes of discovering that one soul who managed to outlive, pleading to heaven for these struggling and begging for steerage… the enjoyment of discovering a survivor, the apple that was the one factor we obtained to eat in a 24-hour interval—taking a little bit of it and sharing it with a fellow employee.  

Dancers in white carry out Jacqulyn Buglisi’s Desk of Silence undertaking, commemorating the victims of 9/11.
Picture credit score: Paul B Goode

These are actually highly effective photos that each emerge from and improve your efficiency, together with metaphors and recollections.

Do you consider anybody particularly whenever you dance the piece?

Meagan King: This undertaking is especially essential to me as a result of I really feel it’s the most tangible connection I’ve to my Uncle Barry, captain of his police pressure on 9/11, who handed from most cancers 10 years later, on my thirteenth birthday. He’s the one I’m dancing for. I really feel his superbly pure spirit with me as I’m wearing all white. I keep in mind his pleasure, optimism, and total love for individuals within the motion. He cared for individuals so deeply, so becoming a member of on this undertaking to name for peace is one of the simplest ways I do know to honor him.

Lauren Marie Jaeger: This piece has advanced quite a bit for me over time. After we first started, my focus was largely on 9/11 and the aftermath, and my very own lack of innocence. Nevertheless, all through the years, different issues have change into a part of this piece. Sandy Hook could be very close to to the place I grew up, in order that can also be a vital a part of that piece for me now. Generally I mirror on private experiences, and different instances issues which are extra world. In the course of the minute of silence, I’m at all times pondering of sending goodness, compassion, and therapeutic out into the world.  

Shaun Parry: The individuals who survived and people who died at 9/11.

Performing the peace ritual for a cherished one have to be so significant, and it’s attention-grabbing that the fashionable dance work can have such particular person and world meanings. I can see why it resonates with so many individuals.

Once you carry out, do you’re feeling the presence of the viewers surrounding you?

Meagan King: The presence of the viewers is likely one of the most magical elements of this expertise. After my first stay efficiency, I used to be strolling within the processional with tears streaming down my face pondering of my late uncle. But, it by no means felt to me like a second of disgrace or embarrassment to be susceptible in entrance of the viewers. As a substitute, as I handed by unfamiliar faces, I noticed smiles and nods of encouragement despatched my approach. The viewers is simply as concerned within the work as me and my fellow dancers.

Lauren Marie Jaeger: Sure, particularly if I do know my family and friends are current. In a extra literal interpretation of this query, many instances over time, now we have needed to transfer via the gang to get to our locations.

Generally individuals want a bit assist determining which option to transfer, and we attempt to information them by how and the place we transfer. Generally individuals get wrapped up in what they’re watching and are stunned when there’s one other group of dancers abruptly behind them.  The group has grown and change into increasingly more supportive with every year. 

Shaun Parry: I can inform their vitality is flowing into and thru us. They change into one with us as they really feel and expertise it in actual time. The vitality of the piece is exponentially heightened when the viewers joins their life vitality to ours in the identical craving for peace, love and unity. 

It does sound just like the viewers performs an integral function, as witnesses to the 9/11 dance memorial occasion.

How do you’re feeling on the finish of the work? Drained? Relieved? Uplifted? United?

Meagan King: After dancing this work, I really feel extra related to my divine energy. Dancing in such a robust ensemble leaves me with a bit extra energy than I’ll have felt after I got here in. To be within the presence of nice energy conjures up precisely that. Performing this piece jogs my memory that nice energy lies inside me. 

Lauren Marie Jaeger: On the finish of the work, I are inclined to really feel reflective. I believe most individuals really feel reflective. Everyone seems to be fairly quiet. It often takes some time for individuals to begin having conversations once more. I additionally really feel impressed. I really feel impressed to attach extra deeply with individuals. I really feel hopeful that we will impact change.

Shaun Parry: I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and hope after performing the Desk of Silence. I don’t speak to anybody for a short while afterward as I mirror deeply in my soul about what simply occurred and the way I can take that vibration with me into my life. A therapeutic has taken place for me and each particular person concerned, whether or not watching or performing. There’s a tranquility and a pleasure that I carry with me lengthy after the efficiency ends. 

Anybody who doubts the ability of dance actually must learn this. I can think about it might be an emotionally demanding piece to carry out, however very rewarding.

Is there another side of the expertise that you just want to share?

Shaun Parry: The Desk of Silence is an attractive and profound expression of unity, peace and love spawned out of the horrible, devastating aftermath of the 9/11 assaults. It’s the realization of the collective cry of humanity for Oneness. As we breathe as one, mourn as one, pray as one, and transfer as one, no matter colour, creed, orientation or affiliation, we create an area the place all are welcomed, acknowledged and revered.

The impressed sacred mandala of concentric circles imprinted across the fountain on the Josie Robertson Plaza at Lincoln Middle offers an ideal setting for this one transcendent drop of hope to land, reverberate, ripple and vibrate throughout the globe and into the cosmos. The Desk of Silence is a cry for peace, a confluence of affection and therapeutic.

Meagan, Lauren and Shaun – thanks a lot for taking the time to share your perception and experiences of this transferring 9/11 dance tribute and therapeutic ritual that may apply to many diversified, world occasions.

Your solutions have actually touched me and can stick with me after I watch Desk of Silence for the primary time; and I’ve an inkling that different readers will really feel the identical.

This photograph seize the 2016 efficiency of Buglisi Dance Theatre’s Desk of Silence piece exterior of the Lincoln Middle.
Picture credit score: Lincoln Middle

Desk of Silence 2020 Digital Program

This yr, the Desk of Silence efficiency goes digital. 24 dances from Buglisi Dance Theatreand a handful of different NYC dance organizations (reminiscent of Ailey II, Ballet Hispánico’s BHdos, The Juilliard College, Limón Dance Firm and Martha Graham Dance Firm) will carry out Jacqulyn Buglisi’s newPrologue, adopted by welcome remarks from business leaders.

Subsequent, on-line viewers can be handled to an excerpt of Buglisi’s Requiem, which was choreographed as a direct response to the 9/11 assaults in 2001. Then comes the three-minute Études movie world premiere by Nel Shelby Productions. It’s going to characteristic 100+ dancers from across the globe who’ve been impressed by the Desk of Silence Challenge 9/11beforethe full 2019 Desk of Silence Challenge 9/11 efficiency, marking the tenth anniversary of the work.

This system begins at 7:55am EDT on Friday, September 11, 2020. As a part of Lincoln Middle at Dwelling (#LincolnCenterAtHome), the providing can be streamed at LincolnCenter.org and on Lincoln Middle’s Fb Web page. The video can even be accessible on-demand on Buglisi Dance Theatre’s YouTube channel following the premiere.


Have you ever seen the Desk of Silence efficiency stay – or on-line? How did the dance make you’re feeling in the course of the piece, and the way did you’re feeling after it ended? We look ahead to listening to about your expertise, watching Jacqulyn Buglisi’s 9/11 tribute artwork.

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