Dance Exchange

By Hannah Morgan

The last thing I thought about this morning when I turned on my computer was how far the energy that powered it had come from. Same thing when I got dressed; I was more concerned if my clothes matched than what distance they had traveled, or what had powered the factory they were made in. But that is the difference between me and Cassie Meador. She thinks about these things.

Meador is a dancer and a dreamer. She is about to embark on a 500-mile journey to the roots of her energy sources, by using her own power. Meador plans to walk for two months, to an electrical plant in Virginia and through the mountains of West Virginia to the coal mines, where much of our power begins.

On Tuesday evening, Meador and members of the DC Dance Exchange gave a final performance to a packed house at Maryland, which combined movement, power, inspiration and provocative questions.

The dancers, wearing contemporary clothing, leaped and twisted and bent and thrust their limbs in every direction during the hours performance. It was incredible, and made me sore and exhausted just watching. At one point all of the dancers fell down on the ground together, rested for a moment, and then, without any eye contact, stood up at the same time. I have no idea how they managed to do that, seemingly without any effort. I guess it is a good sign that the dancers are in shape to start their walking journey.

The music selection was calming, and I liked that the dancers were presented as real people, wearing real clothes, and dancing next to triangular stacks of playing cards. The theme of power, material things and expression was strong throughout the entire show.

Audience members were given pre-addressed postcards to leave notes and thoughts during the show, and to mail to the Dance Exchange headquarters in Takoma Park, M.D. After the dancing, the audience was asked, "What powers you?" and a microphone was passed around. Audience members shared stories on music, dialogue, human interaction and questioning beliefs and assumptions. It was really nice to come full-circle after the amazing performance and think about how I could take away what I had experienced.

One of the goals of the DC Dance Exchange is to break down the barrier between the audience and those on stage, and I felt like every person in the auditorium was thinking about power when we left the hall.

The dance exchange already has a date set to perform the dance they will choreograph while walking, and I hope to be able to make it next winter! Best of luck to the walkers!