Imagine it’s February 7, 2013, and you’re leaving Miami after a monthlong visit with family and friends and resuming your dance career in Israel. At the airport, TSA agents repeatedly search and interrogate you, causing you to miss your connection. Why? Maybe it’s because of your Cuban passport and the many visas that mark your touring schedule. No one tells you.
These were the circumstances that began the cascade of frightening misadventures that inspired dancer/choreographer Lazaro Godoy’s solo dance performance,
A graduate of Miami’s New World School of the Arts and Juilliard, Godoy has resided in Europe and Israel, but two years ago, he and partner Carlotta Pradera
Godoy’s harsh treatment at Miami International Airport provoked a physical and mental breakdown that sent him to Brookdale Hospital’s emergency room upon his connecting flight’s eventual arrival in New York. Disoriented and reacting badly to an IV, he yanked it from his rapidly swelling arm. “They relocated me to the psychiatric ward because they believed I was a danger to myself or others,” Godoy wrote in an introduction to his work. “They put me in
Godoy’s ordeal provides the core narrative of
To create the piece, Godoy needed sufficient separation and healing “to be able to express what my body has
That surreal quality is effectively translated in both the dancer’s tangles with his own body and the ubiquitous plastic sheeting that entwines and nearly smothers him.
In the second half of the performance, the protagonist “loses his suitcase and finds himself in another place that is completely restricted, and there's no freedom whatsoever," Godoy summarized. He somehow extracts a diminutive puppet from his suitcase, which serves as a tender “mini-me” companion in a sensuous Latin dance duet.
During a subsequent grueling, sweaty, anguished interlude, Godoy occupies a platform that serves as both his hospital bed and isolation chamber. He
Godoy originally reacted to his detention by entering dreamlike states and sound memories “that connected me to something real.” Later he collaborated with fellow Cuban artist Eligio Omni to produce a video, which conveys his virtual escape through family portraits and alluring landscapes of Israel and Cuba, projected on the wall. “It was sort of what held me together — those memories and visuals,” Godoy said.
“The best therapy for posttraumatic stress is dance movement and sound,” he continued. “My body can heal by constantly visiting those places and thoughts and working with them and feel them and not to be afraid and allow them to enter me and come out.”
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The artist’s focus is not political, “but I cannot avoid it,” he remarked, “because we are all politics — our bodies, the landscape, where we come from, where we're going.” His goal is to inspire “a bit more compassion.” That compassion is hard-won.
— George Fishman, artburstmiami.com
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through June 25 at Miami Theater Center’s SandBox, 9806 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores. Tickets cost $25. Call 305-751-9550 or visit bit.ly/MTCBrookdale.