Before Francisco Avina and Stephanie Martinez Bennitt were asked by Thodos Dance Chicago to be the guest choreographers for the Tenth Anniversary of the New Dances series, they had already begun the discussion and reflection that would lead to "Quieting the Clock". When the work premiered it was an audience favorite, perhaps because of its embracing visual elegance, and a critical favorite, perhaps because of the integrity of its ambitious architecture. "Quieting the Clock" is inspired by a simple and profound question, or rather, by an endless series of interrelated questions. How does the passage of time effect who you are? As time progresses, what is the relationship between who you are now and who you once were --- and may never be again. As the passage of time changes what you are capable of, where do you find balance, and hopefully continuity, in a redefinition that is gradually forced into your life? Avina and Martinez Bennitt expand their exploration to embrace all of the ways in which identity is defined by the logistics of time, by the pressures of schedule and obligation, and more gradually, of age.
Avina and Martinez Bennitt weave a complex fabric of motion, with the groupings of ten dancers evolving continuously, sometimes imperceptibly, from solo to duet to ensemble, as movement follows interconnected movement. Constructed in two main sections, but embracing a series of distinct moods, "Quieting the Clock" begins with an opaque, blurry sense of quiet, with small movements, some barely perceptible, almost implying the first breaths of life. In a cathartic journey of interconnected movements and emotions, Avina and Martinez Bennitt go on to present an abstract but vivid exploration of the experience of time. Fighting to stay upright, as if the floor were being pulled out from under you, bowing ritually like monks in prayer, each moment, each mood portrays an aspect of the struggle to maintain what was once true, but is now uncertain.
In "Quieting the Clock" Francisco Avina and Stephanie Martinez Bennitt build a multi-textured experience, luminous and intricately conceived, in order to imagine answers to unspoken questions. Avina suggests that those questions for the most part must be left unspoken "because otherwise, they might become reality."