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ABSORB (2020)

This dance film was created during the COVID-19 pandemic to deeply explore and express the depths of exhaustion, loneliness, and depression through the lens of emptiness. It was featured in the first-ever Virtual Dance Performance I - Primetime Series (2020) produced by the John F. Kennedy Theatre at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and later selected in 2022 to be featured in the "Creativity in the Time of COVID-19" project and online collection at Michigan State University

What does exhaustion look like at this time, in this era? How does depression manifest in my body, when pushing it to move? How does the body fill, take up, and move through space as it holds on to the remembering, that the same space previously hosted more people? How do we navigate the shock of emptiness?


These are some of the questions I asked myself throughout the progression of this project. Prior to the pandemic, exhaustion looked and felt different. It was identifiable and obvious, but the cure of rest was out of reach or neglected. In such a short time, many people were closed off from the outside in their homes, in close vicinity to beds, couches, air mattresses... and yet, rest could not cure this exhaustion. For many, including myself, depression took over, and "the new norm" felt like it would carry on forever. Between constantly checking the latest statistics and the massive loss of life on a global scale, grief was/is widespread. Some of us lived with other people, and others were pushed into a very lonely and isolated existence. Some of us ventured outside to see what it looks like, to take a break from the inside. For me, the shock of empty streets, empty roads, empty parking lots, empty, empty, empty... was overwhelming. 

Utilizing house and hip hop movement vernaculars, the dancing was completely composed of freestyle. As my body moved through newly emptied spaces, my mind was flowing through liminal space, containing the before and after memories. Even though my hand seemingly touches the emptiness, the memory of other bodies once in that space exists simultaneously. From my perspective, my hand reaches for someone I used to see in the courtyard and the empty air at the same time. The "here and now" becomes relative and the present moment becomes multi-dimensional. 

ABSORB, 4 minutes (2020)

Virtual Dance Performance I: Primetime Series

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
John F. Kennedy Theatre, Honolulu, HI

Choreographer // Dancer: Cherie "Breezie" Gendron

Videographer: Serdar V.

Editor: Cherie Gendron

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