hold on anyway: A Reminder to Play and Trust

Written by Carla María Negrete Martínez
If you missed the Mad Homes exhibition on Capitol Hill this summer, Freya Wormus’ hold on anyway is like a reprisal of its entangled straps and structures but with the added bonus of moving bodies through a highly architected space. Performed at Yoga on Beacon, typical yoga studio apparatuses become both obstacles and aids in the paths of five risk-taking women. As the house lights go out the yoga studio is transformed into a jungle of straps. The tension produced by these visual lines shatters when Wormus runs to the yoga wall, threads her body into a looped strap, and dives into the air.

Estocar, a northwest underground indie rock band, is set at the back of this entwined image. Sean Kearneyon drums and Lance Hofstad on guitar and vocals create an atmosphere suggesting discovery and enlightenment. Clad in a short brown dress, Wormus swings upside down on the wall like a pendulum. By twisting her body she somehow ends up walking perpendicular to the wall, evoking the image of the iconic Walking on the Wall (1971) by Trisha Brown. Alex Martin and Victoria Jacobs, both in similar flowing dresses, join Wormus as the drums rise to a crescendo. They thread themselves into looped straps attached to the wall and launch upward from the floor only to swing back to the wall and shoot out again. Sarah Shira enters this jungle-like playground next. Jacobs and Martin, leaning away from the wall and supported by straps, cradle Shira as they swing. When Shira finally wriggles free of this cocoon, all four begin a game of resistance, pulling and playing with the straps. As Wormus starts to unravel the maze by continually tugging at one end, the visual tension of the web finally crumbles.

While Shira elegantly launches high into the air like a bird, Laura Aschoff untangles from a strap and throws herself to the ground. The resistance in her upper body against the strap contrasts her struggling legs as she pushes hard on the floor. Kearneyaccentuates this struggle with strikes on the ride cymbal. Later on, Jacobs dangles bat-like from the wall, inverted and folded in half with her feet and wrists together. She slowly slides down and lies defeated on the floor until Martin and Aschoff lift her up. It seems the straps double as aids for play and obstacles in this adventurous journey.

Wormus and Martin skitter their feet in sync, binding their bodies together with intertwining arms. As they move away from the wall and the straps, each loop their arms around the other’s waists, and use their momentum to soar through space. Their playful duet and partnering seems to be a reminder to trust people and how relationships can flourish from doing so.

Unfortunately, at times, the music overdramatizes hold on anyway, which tends to detract from several instances of genuine discovery. When the music finally fades, there is a moment of beautiful serenity as Jacobs breathes heavily, seeming to steady herself for a great endeavor ahead. She attaches three straps to the wall and traverses from one strap to the next, hanging, threading, and swinging her way across the wall, without touching the floor. Flashlights shine on her as she struggles, fiercely determined, toward her goal.

The mood of child-like discovery and play serve as a reminder that risk and trust are instinctive qualities in children. Wormus’s choreography as a whole is an invitation to return to this more innocent state, and seems to illustrate how risk, perseverance, and trust in one’s decisions leads to positive outcomes. hold on anyway will continue January 20–22 and the following weekend January 27–29. Seating is limited in this intimate venue and tickets are selling quickly. Reserve yours at Brown Paper Tickets.