“Light and desire” calls upon family history, social politics, and personal experience to tell and uplift the narratives of women who have resisted oppression by creating their own forms of radical expression. The central question it addresses is how women hold, embody, and express power. Conceived and directed by Colleen Thomas, who also performs in it, “light and desire” features Carla Forte (Venezuela), a dancer-choreographer Ildiko Toth (Hungary / Germany), dance curator, critic, and choreographer Joanna Leśnierowska (Poland), filmmaker, dancer, and choreographer Ermira Goro (Albania / Greece), and teacher, dancer, and filmmaker Rosalynde LeBlanc (USA). The piece is an homage to Women’s History Month and a celebration of the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Thomas, whose work often focuses on women and human perception and perspective, has been developing similar international collaborations since 2016. Most recently, her work “but the sun came up and we were here” was created during residencies in Poland, most specifically, the International Dance Theatres Festival in Lublin, and presented as an opening night work at the 2019 LaMaMa MOVES! Dance festival. The piece gathered performers from Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, and the USA. This current project extends into three continents, featuring artists who often share their time between more than one country of residence.
“The dancer’s individual experience of war, immigration, racism, and sexism are at the core of this work. I have known all of my international collaborators and worked with these women for years. Their strength lies in the extraordinary, poetic vulnerability and compassion they convey to the audience,” says Colleen Thomas. “I began creating ‘light and desire’ with a lot of anger and concern over the misogyny I saw in our country in 2016. Sharing through dialogue and movement with women from other countries has been and remains a cathartic adventure,” she further explains.
Additional performers include 16 women from the Lublin dance community who act as a chorus of women’s protest. “Light and desire” features lighting design by Stacey-Jo Marine, intricate floral masks designed by Rebecca Makus, and original music composed by Robert Boston with Jo Morris as a vocalist.
choreography: Colleen Thomas
dance: Carla Forte, Ildiko Toth, Joanna Lesnierowska, Ermira Goro, Rosalynde LeBlanc
reahersal director of chours: Mikołaj Karczewski
chorus: Magdalena Ciupa, Justyna Ćwiklińska, Ida Dunder, Agata Jonasz, Sofiya Kiykovska , Iza Kukier, Agnieszka Litman, Natasza Marczak, Sitnik Natalia, Marina Sato, Olesya Seraya, Agnieszka Sikorska, Anna Staroń, Mercedes Szulen, Kornelia Tofilska, Emilka Zaprawa