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A Response by Sook-Yin Lee to “Live Choreography: jes sachse & Alice Sheppard”

A Response by Sook-Yin Lee to Live Choreography
5 years ago


A Response by Sook-Yin Lee
to “Live Choreography: jes sachse & Alice Sheppard”

The last time I was at the Gardiner Museum was for my friend’s wedding
She did a dramatic dance with her dad in the banquet hall
A tango maybe, something with arm flourishes

I first met jes sachse five years ago,
Dancing in the dark with their friends from Peterborough
I was drunk. We were all drunk
They kissed me on the lips

In the Gardiner Museum
Surrounded by pottery from the Ancient Americas
The DJ cranked tunes
I thought about George and Helen Gardiner
And their love of European ceramics
I knew I could never be married
I would not want to be stuck

The next time I saw jes
I asked a lot of questions
About accessibility
And getting stuck on ramps
With no one having your back
Wanting to pee but you have to hold it in
In the name of “art”

And then there was jes at the Gardiner Museum
Live Choreography with Alice Sheppard
In the same place where the wedding once was
With chairs in a half-circle
Grapes, dessert, and sushi
I had no idea it would be so fancy
jes laughed despite nerves

Their silhouettes against back-lit windows
jes lying down, getting up, balancing on one foot
Pulling Alice across the floor
From the space where the wedding once was
jes bolted towards the hard marble stairs
Sliding down on a perfect ponytail
Alice, hurtling head over wheels
Is there anywhere that chair can’t go?

On a bench in the Gardiner Museum
Alice and jes
Touched each other
With warm looks and knowing eyes
Watching them
We all wished for the same

Sky turned charcoal and the wind blew
On the ramp under-construction
Outside the Gardiner Museum
Where jes and Alice climbed, danced, and rolled

People stopped
Some ran away
Many apologized, not knowing what to do
jes waved them through
A burst of energy in Alice’s arms
Hot on their heels
She chased them to the other side

Sook-Yin Lee is a filmmaker, musician, actor, artist, dance-maker, and three-time Gabriel Award-winning and New York Festival Gold-winning radio & TV broadcaster. This work was commissioned in support of jes sachse’s I wanna dance with some body, a Community Arts Space installation on view from August 1 – September 17. Community Arts Space is generously supported by TD Bank Group.

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