To fully understand the impact of the Vietnam War and the splintering emotions it brings to bear, there are many places one need look: To the battlefield, of course, but also to the campuses, living rooms, cemeteries, and the dark landscape of a veterans' mind. Into Sunlight, a dance based on a book by Washington Post associate editor David Maraniss, is a sweeping survey of all those settings.
Sarah Halzack, The Washington Post
David Maraniss' Vietnam War-era book encompasses two days in Oct 1967, weaving together the ambush of a battalion of American soldiers in Vietnam, an anti-war protest turned violent at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the federal officials' response in Washington DC. The dance, Into Sunlight, premiered at UW-Madison in 2011, and at Hofstra University, and at each campus it served as the centerpiece for an interdisciplinary conference examining the effects of war and violence on the individual body and the social body, from Vietnam to our present era. The perspective of History, Psychology, Political Science, Trauma Studies, Anthropology, Visual Art and Theatre were all to the dialogue about war's impact. After every performance, audiences have been engaged in discussions, expressing their emotions, concerns interprestations, and ideas for action.
Later performances in 2012 included Georgetown University, 92nd St Y, at StonyBrook University's Festival of the Moving Body, and at Holy Trinity Diocesan High School, where it was the focal point of extensive residency. The piece has received standing ovations from traditional audiences, students and faculty, veterans and their families, and has garnered feature stories in the Washington Post and on National Public Radio. Reviews from the Washington Post and Ballet-Dance Magazines, among others, have confirmed the reconciling, healing effects of the dance.
The choreography for Into Sunlight draws upon Robin's experience and practice as authorized teacher of Continuum Movement, which is an exploratory study of the body as a fluid system, connected through fluid resonance with all of life. Continuum offers an understanding and experience of the body as movement, rather than form, opening pathways of vital connection. Robin and the dancers work with Continuum as a foundational process underlying technical training, choreographic processes, rehearsal and performance. As a consequence, performances have an extraordinary, felt impact for audiences. Veterans in particular have been deeply moved by the experience and express such gratitude for having experience honored in this way.
The experience of Into Sunlight has been recognized by other media representatives as well. Centerpoint Now, a bi-annual publication of the World Council of People for the United Nations (WCPUN), invited Robin Becker Dance to submit an article about the Into Sunlight project for the September 20XX issue. WCPUN is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to facilitating partnerships across sectors internationally that promote awareness and implementation of the United Nations goals'.
Additionally, a major documentary film has been produced based in the work performances at the Florence Gould Hall, October 25-27, 20XX.
When I read They Marched Into Sunlight, David Maraniss' powerful book on the Vietnam War, I immediately responded of timelessness and universality of the these and events he documented. I was deeply moved by the integrity, honor and commitment of both those who fought the was, and those who fought against it. I embarked upon the creation of this dance, Into Sunlight, hoping that the universal language of the body would reflect and offer the same sense of healing that David's words evoked in me.
The dancers and I became immersed in the lives and events described in David's book. It has been an honor to invoke the spirit of those who lived these events, and to offer our embodies response and appreciation of them through dance.
This work is dedicated to the 60 men of the Black Lions Battalion who lost their lives in Vietnam on Oct 17, 1967.
Robin Becker, Artistic Director
Arthur Solari, Music Director
Chris Lastovicka, Composer
Burke Wilmore, Lighting Designer
John Goodwin, Projection
Cheryl McCarron, Costume Designer