I went through the Black and White Gallery in Williamsburg (manifestly in its white phase) beyond the white curtains into the white and off-white cinderblock courtyard to watch, hear, feel and participate in the WHITE BOX PROJECT by Noémie Lafrance. In the white-walled patio a crowd collected, slowly, of performers and guests, distinguishable only by footwear (or so I thought), though in the event the guests would become performers soon enough.

In what was for a September eve an unnatural swelter, the dancers at first straddled the corners with their hands or supine pressed the souls of their shoes and boots against the wall, as though to prevent them from closing in (yet there was no terror), and then orchestrated, first among themselves, then including us, a rhythmic involvement of running, walking, talking, standing silently, or calling out, in patterns that extended in all directions and then doubled back, saying something about how crowds can be made to act in unison and also the inevitable breakdown of such cohesion, for not all stamina is as strong, nor all kinetic memory as adept, nor the desire to participate as much.

The WHITE BOX PROJECT reminded me just how pleasurable it can be to move as one when you are many, even if it is ultimately impossible, and smile about it after, and during.

For more on events at the Black and White Gallery, click here.

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