Lauren Elizabeth Cunningham
GloATL at Lindbergh MARTA Station

On Wednesday, July 10, I witnessed the second in a series of five performances being put on this month by GloATL, a contemporary dance company in Atlanta. I arrived at the Lindbergh MARTA Station a few minutes prior to the scheduled start time (5:30 PM) and hurried to purchase a Breeze Card and enter the terminal. Once inside, I searched for an amassing crowd but, finding none, parked myself next to a man suspiciously holding a large camera.

Moments later, two dancers initiated the performance. They were soon joined by ten of their colleagues. The troupe wore brown pants, skirts, shorts and jackets, but their routine was much less uniform. Dancers linked together to form a writhing human centipede, then got in formation to execute more traditional ballet moves. Always the group's organized efforts deteriorated. Twisting bodies struggled to stay attached or lift a fellow dancer into the air. Individual dancers constantly broke away from the group to do their own zombie-like undulations, in which their clawed hands and panting seemed unnatural—even monstrous. The dancers appeared to be losing control of their routine—and bodies—to an unseen force. The MARTA station, a place where travelers briefly assemble and then scatter en route to their own destinations, served as a fitting background for a story about fleeting and missed connections.

The action progressed from inside the terminal to the adjacent courtyard, where the struggle for preservation continued. A volunteer in the audience anxiously shouted "It's theirs!" to no one in particular, thus implicating everyone in the unfolding conflict. Dialogue was incorporated a second time when the dancers ran one behind another in a circle, each vocalizing his or her passing thoughts. The blur of motion and sound created a beautiful fusion of collective and individual, public and private, conscious and mechanical activity. I was reminded of travelers scurrying through the airport or passing by on the sidewalk, but this time I could actually hear what was on their minds.

The performance slowly dissipated as dancers gradually abandoned the area. At the end of the hour, only three dancers remained. A young man and woman stood frozen in a strange embrace. Their clasped hands were precariously positioned atop the man's head, as if demarcating a node or a point on a map. Here, finally, rested the promise of a lasting connection. Meanwhile, a female dancer handed origami cranes, traditionally an offering of peace, to spectators. Noting that the cranes were folded out of brown paper, recalling the brown garb of the performers, I understood that the dancers were also bearers of peace, and that they had successfully—albeit only momentarily—brought people together.

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