Dancing brings light and beauty amid the grief to Ardfern

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by Laura Maxwell

Within This Dust is an interpretive dance performance inspired by the most horrifying incident of our time: the 9/11 terror attacks.

A packed Craignish Village Hall held host to the Dundee-based Shaper Caper performance on Wednesday February 6.

Inspired by photographs of the 9/11 fallout, choreographer Thomas Small has created a performance that has been seen to bring tears due to its beauty and the tragedy of this story. First performed in 2016, Within This Dust has gone on to be staged all over the UK and internationally, including at the 9/11 memorial and museum.

Especially inspired by Richard Drew’s unforgettable photograph, The Falling Man, Within This Dust details the experience of witness, Lisa Hood, and victim, Vince Virr, of the 9/11 attacks.

The witness finds herself surrounded in dust, made of crumpled paper, and begins a grieving process of hunting through the papers, finding meaning in the words, as someone tries to tidy around her. The second act features the victim joining the witness, creating a connection that will inevitably be broken, when finally, in the third act, the victim is alone, caught between a choice of the smoke and fire within the collapsing building or the 500 metre drop to freedom.

It was a very poignant performance, tenderly expressing the horror of the incident, perhaps now weakened due to overindulgence. When the lights came up everyone stayed where they were, perhaps a little too stunned to move. Chatter was in whispers, for respect to people who could not hear them.

As the narrator of the show captured and pieced together from coverage of the attacks said, the dust has not settled, and never will. The losses of the people in the planes and buildings is still felt, and the wider western world is still wary, still learning, still recovering.

Within This Dust manages to depict the horror of that day beautifully, and more importantly, delicately. No easy task for a grieving world.


Craignish Village Hall was full. 51_a07WithinThisDust01

Lisa Hood amongst the ‘dust’. 51_a07WithinThisDust02

Dancer, Lisa Hood. 51_a07WithinThisDust03

Lisa Hood collecting dust. 51_a07WithinThisDust04

Lisa Hood and Vince Virr. 51_a07WithinThisDust05

Dancer, Vince Virr. 51_a07WithinThisDust08

Vince Virr facing the smoke, or the window. 51_a07WithinThisDust09