If the winter blahs and apocalyptic headlines have you down of late, why not join the Kinesis Project Dance Theater in an impromptu “march of light.” At 4pm tonight (yes, that’s when the sun begins to set these days), Melissa Riker, the organization’s artistic director, will lead supporters from First Avenue and Second Street toward Bowery, placing plastic tea lights in a row every five feet. Some neighborhood organizations, like Fourth Arts Block, will light candles in their windows in solidarity.
Riker is usually busy choreographing large-scale dance performances that take place outdoors, in surprising places — in October her dance company performed “Secrets and Seawalls” on the beach of Fort Tilden, in the Rockaways. The piece will be reprised next spring in Long Island and the Hudson Valley.
But during this week of bleak winter, Riker said she simply felt moved to “place a large amount of light in a pathway” near her studio located on Second Avenue and Second Street, to honor those who have lost their lives or loved ones in recent tragedies.
“It’s just an overwhelming, the level of grief that it feels like we’re all experiencing,” she said, citing recent events like the attacks in Paris, recent scapegoating of refugees and the shooting at Planned Parenthood in Colorado. “This is my reaction.” There won’t be dancing, but in some ways, Riker said putting candles in the street is not so far away from her usual work. “In this case, it’s a choreography of things,” she said.
A block away, Planned Parenthood on Bleecker Street has an increased police presence since the Colorado attack. Riker said that when she noticed a police car stationed outside, she thought, “I’m glad they have protection but I’m also sad that they need it.”
But instead of focusing on the darkness, Riker said she wanted to use lights to remind people of “a pathway home.” The installation will remain until at least 7 pm.