SEVEN, produced by Broken Rhythms, is an empowering piece of contemporary dance that expresses the seven stages of grief. The dancers, Paige Brar, Naomi Graham, Chelsea Hilbert, and Meagan Saulnier are graceful and passionate as they execute Dyana Sonik-Henderson’s amazing choreography. The seven stages are shock/denial, disorganization, volatile reactions (anger), guilt, loss and loneliness, relief, and, finally, rebuilding/reconnection. The music chosen for each stage is powerful and the dancers effortlessly mate the concept of grief with their motion.

Using blue balloons, they present the simple image of avoiding grief and how helpless we are at keeping the pain at bay.  Disorganized is its own chaos without rhyme or sanity. The dancers portray the earth-shattering realization that what once was is now gone forever, and how one struggles with that knowledge, and damn near drowns in it. Using shadows and light, they embody the volatile reaction with such passion and force: the anger as a beast that trembles and lashes out without compassion or reason. The guilt phase is a like a heavy dream and the tableaux they’ve created are heartbreaking in their beauty.

Loss and loneliness are represented as a white shawl that embraces the dancers. This object became something that they could cling to, all the while trying to keep it from engulfing them entirely. The relief stage displays strength and power: the first steadying e when realizing that everything will be okay. This dance is that first step towards a true smile: the chaos slowly returning to order. The rebuilding and reconnection phase is not only the end of the journey but the beginning of a new life. This last dance was heartwarming and uplifting. The blue balloon makes its final appearance as the dancers let it go and it drifts away.

These talented young women have captured the essence of grief and the pain that comes with it. They’ve taken something as illusive and intangible as grief and given it life in a way that is both beautiful and accurate.

-The Marble Theatre Review, Angelina Alexander

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