The Captured Goddess: A new music-dance video
A Flash Response by Neil Ellis Orts
On Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/142698454
Misha Penton, soprano and director
Dominick DiOrio, composer
Toni Valle, dancer and choreographer
Bright green foliage, radiant yellow flowers, sunlight through a red parasol—the opening moments of “The Captured Goddess” is awash in color.
It is only momentary.
Less luminous images soon overtake the natural world. Half-lit close-ups on the hands of musicians and soprano Misha Penton in near-silhouette match the ever-darkening chords of Dominick DiOrio’s score and Amy Lowell’s 1914 poem.
In the market-place I came upon her,
Bound and trembling.
Then we see her, embodied by Toni Valle, creating a new iteration of a character she has danced in more than a couple dance productions over the years. Covered in white make-up with a red painted mask, she moves with primal energy. Sometimes like a prowling animal, at other times, quick like an insect, Toni dances in a feathered, in the darkness, feeling the oppression of industrial progress. It’s a stark image, alternately frightening and pitiable.
In the seven-and-a-half minutes of this video, we are given a glimpse of the gifts that the natural world offers and also the threat of a market-place that does not value them. Lowell’s text is just as urgent as it was a century ago, this enchanting video offering us a way to hear anew its warning.