Hearts on the Wall is a place where creatives of all sorts can come together to exhibit their craft and live as artists in a safe judgment-free space. A space open to exploring queer realities and everyday lives. From dancers to musicians to poets to percussionists to clowns, all welcomed to the stage at the Dixon Place to showcase their talent. This event is expertly produced and curated by Jordan Been, who developed this event as a place to showcase and appreciate the artist’s process.
I sat at the Dixon Place waiting for the show to begin, breathing in the creative atmosphere. The art was illuminated on the walls, alongside posters from performances of the past. There were creatives, both those performing and those not, all mingling over expertly crafted cocktails talking about their next new project. I chose to sit in the far back corner which afforded me the best spot to hear what was being said and to see what was happening.
The night’s artists showcased talents in spoken word, poetry, music, and clowning, all exhibiting a different style, unafraid to put themselves out there. The two artists, who I came to see, merged the art of words and dance together to captivate their audience. The poet Elya Osmanova, and the dancer Marianna Koytsan created a piece where the words not only came alive through inflection and tone but with movement as well. The duo reflected the positive creative power of words and dance to form an emotive image for the audience, in order to enchant them into a meditation on reflection.
Elya began the performance with a simple statement, “I question.” She invited the audience with her eyes to think back on the times they too have questioned what they have seen in the mirror. Marianna then mirrored back to Elya and the audience the meaning of those words through her elegant body movements. The piece centered on the emotional road in which we all partake, wondering about our place and movement. The piece never glossed over the pain and the emotional turmoil that comes with the pain but faced it head-on. “Desperately fighting not to feel while others are dying to feel,” these words were paralleled in Marianna’s movements showing us what our own minds attempted to show us every day when we look at our reflection. The words on their own simply describes the train of thought running through the mind; however, when adding movement, Marianna breathed a different life into the words allowing them to come alive for the audience to visualize the emotion and internalize the lesson, encapsulated in the final verse, “so relax love, she said, you’re meant to desire, you are meant to feel.”
The event ended much as it began, with the creatives all mingling about discussing what was seen, heard, and experienced. As I sat contemplating all the different artistic expressions, I saw the common threads of reflection underlying all the performances. This prompted me to reflect on myself and where I fit in as one of the creatives called to the showcase, sipping on an expertly crafted cocktail amongst the others in the artists’ haven of the Dixon Place.