Flash Response: The Captured Goddess

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

Photo by Raul Casares

Photo by Raul Casares

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.

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