By David Walters

when the blossom passes, what remains? is live art as a top-notch happening.

This is more than dance. This is more than theater. This is a full-on experience. A calming, contemplative, thought and feeling provoking, all-around wonderful experience.

Through eight scenes utilizing all the senses (taste included), you will leave feeling as though you’ve been somewhere and experienced something that is both bigger and beyond self.

The HOLDTIGHT Company is an experimental dance theater company currently in residence at the cell on 23rd street. They pride themselves on focusing on the grey in life. The space where things aren’t only one thing, but many foldings on a single piece of paper, interwoven, and coming from both within and without of self.

Everything is recycled, the scenery, the costumes, the paper and twine you’ll use to express your thoughts about yourself, and leave tied and hanging above the theatrical space.

After clearing Covid customs at the door, you’ll be given a lighted woven twig basket to guide yourself up the dimly lit stairs where you’ll join your fellow audience members (25 max) on cushions on the floor where you’ll acknowledge where you are, breathe, listen to the calming tones of a guzheng playing (hauntingly so by Jett Kwong), and hear words of Carl Jung from The Earth has a Soul. After a water ritual, you’ll be given a truly lovely warm cup of tea to help clear you of the inner dust from outside and bring you to an opening of self to be present and able to take in the rest of what you’ll experience. All the while there is lingering in the background the calming sound of water being gently splashed.

I could have had another cup of tea (specifically blended for this performance at Furnace Creek herb farm in Pennsylvania) and stayed there for some time. Maybe still be there now.

But on we went down the stairs to the playing space where two cast members were contemplatively experiencing water in large metal tubs. Water is one of the themes throughout the night, in the tea you consume, in the stories that you’ll hear, and in the movement pieces that travel around the room. Music and movement flow like water as performers Gwendolyn Gussman, Nico Gonzales, and Xenia Mansour express physically the intertwining of life. Their personal stories that they tell (also joined by sound designer Odinn Orn Hilmarsson) become jumping-off points for the movement and blend the theater of the evening with music and dance to create a whole experience of connectedness for both those on stage and those in the audience. The question hanging in the air as we all shared in a second, different cup of tea in the garden space and writing our truths on small scrolls was, “When I feel connected, what am I able to offer?”

Direction, Concept, Choreography, & Performance: Gwendolyn Gussman
Musical Direction, Musical Co-Composition, & Performance: Jett Kwong
Sound Design, Musical Co-Composition, & Performance: Odinn Orn Hilmarsson
Creative Collaboration & Performance: Nico Gonzales
Creative Collaboration & Performance: Xenia Mansour
Scenography: Anna Driftmier
Lighting Design & Production Management: Alex Taylor

The show starts at 7:30pm with a run time of approx. 90 minutes

the cell theatre

338 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011

As always, this is just one man’s opinion in a world filled with them.