bird woman

bird woman (2009) – 10:36

Movement 1
i) the dream of flight
ii) enrobement

Movement 2
iii) the procession
iv) greeting the moon
v) the procession part 2

Movement 3
vi) flight

Movement 4
vii) casting shadows
viii) bird woman

bird woman is a ten minute multi-media dance piece written and directed by Freida Abtan. The piece incorporates electronic music, lavish costume, video projections, and an original choreography created and performed by Meg Weeks.

Thematically, bird woman draws on notions of anima and of spiritual transformation. The narrative of bird woman expands upon, and is inspired by traditional Yoruban mythology in which a woman’s spirit may leave her body to travel outside in the form of a bird. The piece is divided into four movements that evoke a narrative in which a woman longs for flight, discovers a bird costume and ritually transforms herself with it so that she can fly. In landing, the woman becomes aware of her new state through her unfamiliar shadows, within which she sees the flapping wings of birds. She discards the costume but leaves on the mask, symbolic of her transformed spirit.

The video documentation of bird woman is from a performance which took place in Grant Recital Hall at Brown University, May 2009. An author’s analysis of the piece is available.