Modern Dance Reviews

Cynthia Gonzalez: The Last Breath

Dampfzentrale Bern (Switzerland), May 2009

Cynthia began her performance with a recitation, standing beside the stage in a cone of light while clouds of artificial fog were passing around her. Her speech, in which she addressed dragons, fairies, nymphs and other mythological creatures, was a

condolence in memory of a deceased unicorn. Cynthia praised her strong wings and ebony fur (obviously it was a female unicorn), paid tributes to her speed and the beauty of her body, recalled her kindheartedness and faithfulness.

Cynthia Gonzalez: The Last Breath

During a few seconds of darkness Cynthia took off her coat and entered the stage. Clouds of fog were spreading over the stage illuminated in mystical blue while Cynthia embodied the dying creature. In contrast to the spiritual and mysterious atmosphere

created by her speech, her unicorn was a real animal, made of bones and muscles. She suffered physical pain, was breathing stertorously in anguish and struggled to stay on her feet.

Cynthia Gonzalez: The Last Breath

The unicorn moved along the illuminated diagonal first and than circled around the stage. Cynthia revived the now rare skill of transforming animal characteristics into dance (I cannot help recalling Asadata Dafora's Ostrich). You could recognize the horse- or elk-like creature already in the dancer's silhouette, with tender front legs, strong bag legs

and a muscular but flexible back. The dance was about her hopeless fight with injury and pain. She tried to push the burden away by wobbling her shoulders and shaking her extremities. Sometimes the pain weakened, but after a short relieve it came back in an even stronger wave, forcing the poor animal to the floor.

Cynthia Gonzalez: The Last Breath

The gurgling noise that Cynthia made in her throat and chest, imitating the death struggle, was so strong and realistic that I first thought it came from a recording of a deer or horse in agony. Perfection lies in the details: look at the hoofs of the front legs on the photo below. At the end, the suffering

creature crawled out of the stage and remained lying on the floor in a corner. The lights went off and the stage turned dark. We still heard the rattle of death. After a while it was replaced by noisy breathing, which turned weaker and weaker. Then it stopped. Silence.

Cynthia Gonzalez: The  Last Breath

While we were applauding, Joe who was sitting next to me said that a shiver went down his spine. I felt

the same. After such a piece you remain speechless and need a while to recover.

Petr Karlovsky