"Know Thyself" was Socrates' timeless advice for anyone hoping to understand the experience of life, and implied in his centuries-old wisdom is an understanding that our own awareness is an inevitable filter to everything we can know or be. Jacqueline Stewart explores this same idea in her new work "It's Not Enough To Close Your Eyes", which is part of the Joyce Theater Foundation's A.W.A.R.D. Show on Wednesday July 28 at 8PM at The Dance Center of Columbia College. Stewart includes an additional richness to her study of self-knowledge by placing it within the often-beautiful, always complex realm of relationship. If a relationship is the experience you share, who you are is fundamental to what you can be with or for another. How you learn to know yourself, to be challenged to look into yourself more deeply, is the study in light and movement that is "It's Not Enough To Close Your Eyes". It's a deeply textured work, an evolving story about the way that two people, each looking carefully into the other's perspective, begin to see themselves more clearly.
"It's Not Enough To Close Your Eyes" begins with the vivid image of a woman standing over a small, clear light, as if deep in the uncertain illumination of introspection. As the movement gradually broadens to include the more expansive motion of her partner --- her lover perhaps, but maybe her friend or even brother --- each of them becomes more occupied with an awareness of the other, and in so doing, with seeing themselves in the different light of what can be known together. Stewart alchemises space, movement and light, keeping the dancers very close to the illumination they share, as if that were the whole world.
Although set as a duet, somehow both stark and romantic, the interwoven intensity of two dancers reacting to each other and to a single, mysterious Fresnel light invokes a broader subject. "It's Not Enough To Close Your Eyes" is straightforward in its unadorned visual enchantment, but in its personal and intimate movement Stewart quietly implies all of the ways we might interact with, share with, and learn to know ourselves with someone else.