What makes you feel whole? As a person? As a community? How do we find rootedness in the wake of
destruction, tragedy, or the plain old everyday grind? Whole Sky threads responses to these
questions through Jaroslow's captivating choreography and a dynamic multimedia landscape.
Community groups, including senior adults, gay and lesbian teens, and survivors of domestic
violence, along with Jaroslow's professional dancers, created a dance that the New York Times
called, "exquisite, like a drop of air suspended in honey."
The cast of six professional dancers, including Jaroslow, slip effortlessly from support to flight to complex partnering. In Whole Sky, dance becomes a communal and supportive act, an expression of total contentment, a struggle to find a comfortable resting place, a search for solid ground. Again and again, the dancers turn to each other for completeness.
The company is joined by three guest performers drawn from the community groups Jaroslow worked with. Adwoa Akhu, a psychologist and survivor of domestic violence, dances and tells the story of how she claimed a new name when she emerged from her abusive relationship. Lt. John Regan of the Fire Department of New York, describes his work on the September 11th recovery effort as well as the joy he finds in ballroom dancing. Midwife Nancey Rosensweig dances with Jaroslow while describing her experience of the beginning of life.
The dance is buoyed by an original score by Steve Elson, which ranges from the soulful sax to lilting calypso to the lullaby of human breathing. Barbara Bickart's video projections, which The New York Times compared to the work of Milton Avery, evoke a world both dream-like and instantly familiar. Her images are drawn from the stories shared by participants in the community workshops. They are projected onto costumes by Clint Ramos that transform the dancers into a worn armchair or a field of wheat, or allow them to literally disappear into a handwriting-filled sky.
Whole Sky is the culmination of The Becoming Whole Project, an ongoing initiative investigating the sources of resiliency and strength in ourselves and our communities.
Whole Sky was commissioned by the Bessie Schonberg/First Light commissioning program of Dance Theater Workshop.