Portal connotes the passageway from one state to another, from agitation into a state of peace, the spiritual eye in the midst of the storm. The lush geometry of Portal’s dance language dissolves back and forth between the quotidian and the sacred, through struggles and challenges, resolving into serenity and calm. A single male dancer opens the piece with a short, high-energy solo that tears through the space to the accompaniment of an explosive drum score. The silence following the dancer’s exit creates a space for the other dancers to enter, one or two at a time. The energy and visual form builds, until all seven dancers are in the space, moving in a world of swirling human orbits. This opening group section is followed by a duet between two women, a duet between a man and a woman, and another solo for the male figure who began the piece. The last section of the dance, with all the dancers, moves between episodes of aggression and ecstasy. The piece ends as the dancers exit one after the other, leaving a silent, empty stage pulsing with a magical unseen yet felt essence.
The costumes for this work are by Karen Young, inspired by the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi’s famous cathedral located in Barcelona, drawing upon the images of the serene white columns and architecture on the inside of the building. The music, composed by Cornfield’s longtime collaborator Andreas Brade, is performed by three musicians on drums, piano, and saxophone.