War Dead Dance
Originally uploaded by Center for the Study of Ethics at UVSC.
While the bulk of the 2007 Conference by the Faculty consisted of rational discourse, a special treat this year consisted of several "arts" presentations. This image is a capture from one of the most poignant dances I've ever seen, titled 2,500 Dead and Counting.
Back in April of 2006, that was the number of American soldiers killed in Iraq. The number has since continued to grow to 3,188 as of this writing (source: http://www.antiwar.com/casualties/).
A description of this dance will be woefully inadequate, but I wanted to try and convey what was going on in this powerfully moving piece. As a voice intoned the names of soldiers, one after the other (without any pause, just a stream of names articulated) the dancers emerged from the wings and began to lay down small white cards, about the size of a business card, as the names were read. Each time a card was laid down I felt a powerful reminder of a person who was loosing his or her life. It was profoundly moving. The most amazing portion of the dance to me is rather difficult to describe, but this photo illustrates it well, I think. The dancer laying her card down was part of a sequence of dancers that moved through a line of dancers that were supporting them as they struggled through the line, finally laying their cards down as if in death agony.
The dance was choreographed by new UVSC faculty member Angie Banchero-Kelleher. I've since since it a second time. It didn't fail to move me then, either. My thanks to the wonderful students who performed so flawlessly in this performance, and to Angie for her overwhelming use of dance to make a social and ethical comment.