Eckert+SorensenJolink Explore Unfinished Business in RescYou
“I am curious about examining how everything we create is in fact our own undoing…”
This seems to be a fitting way into RescYou, an evening length dance at Judson Church—one in which Carlye Eckert and John Sorensen-Jolink will be dancing inside an inflatable life raft. The statement came out of Eckert towards the end of our coffee date in response to the question, “Do you see an apocalyptic through-line in your work?”
The duet began with Hurricane Irene. Eckert and Sorensen-Jolink were best friends and roommates in Brooklyn. We just thought, “let’s get dramatic. Friends brought over rations. We came to the idea that if we stored a raft in our closet we could just paddle off the roof.” Thankfully, that plan was unnecessary, but the idea of the life raft stuck along with the concept, brought to their attention by a yoga teacher, that “we had unfinished business in past lives.”
So in theory, the development of the show began way before the hurricane or the raft. Eckert and Sorensen-Jolink had been leading parallel childhoods prior to formally meeting in their high school dance company in Portland, Oregon. They both love horses and unknowingly went to the same summer camp in Washington; Eckert has a sneaking suspicion “the red-headed boy in tye dye who made fun of me for falling off a spooked horse” was Sorensen-Jolink. After high school, the two attended colleges in NYC, Eckert at Juilliard and Sorensen-Jolink at New York University. Both went on to prestigious jobs in Twyla Tharp’s “Moving Out” and “Come Fly Away” in addition to working with the likes of Tino Sehgal, Jonah Bokaer (Eckert), and Sleep No More (Sorenson-Jolink), but knew the time would come for them to start working together.
“Johnny and I move very differently which I think is a good thing,” Eckert says when I ask her about their process in the studio over the last two years. “We began with one person improvising, the other person tracking, though this was just a way in. We didn’t end up using it.” They eventually did present some of their material at West End Theater as part of David Parker’s SoakingWET series and then for the congregation at Judson Church, where Sorensen-Jolink is a member. The latter performance gave them the opportunity to present this evening length work but also forged a bond between them and the church’s Bailout Theater. Since then, the two have been curating STUFFED: Dinner and Dance, in addition to building RescYou.
Seemingly calm as they head into a torrential week of technical rehearsals and performances, Eckert says it is clear “we are doing the right thing, the raft arrived on time, and the church is a beautiful sanctuary. If problems were rooms, we are finding doors or at least windows opening.” This couldn’t be better news for two best friends who are about to paddle off a metaphorical roof this Thursday “into a vast ocean in which time, memories, and daily life cease to exist as they once did.”