The adage is that real artists must suffer for art. Some artists set out to suffer, while others have no need to go looking for pain. Dancer Andrea Dispenziere is in the latter school—and her new work, Hunting the Hemo Goblin, is proof positive.
After stress-fracturing a rib this past year, Dispenziere not only was forced to take a break from dancing with Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company but also was forced to take a long look at her health—specifically, why she has gone to such extremes to achieve a kind of perfect physicality.
“Doctors told me I needed to change my dietary habits,” explains Dispenziere. “And quickly, because my current routine was not only preventing calcium absorption but also preventing me from having a menstrual cycle, which, hormonally, is key for calcium uptake in women. I had blood drawn almost every appointment. I was told to try eating meat again, to increase protein and bring up my iron levels, which were also abnormally low. Suddenly, I found myself on this hunt, or quest, for blood.”
Developed as a series of vignettes connected by subject matter, some sections are primarily performance art, others pure dance. Her performance incorporates spoken word, song, text, comedy and even Greek mythology.
“In this newfound quest for blood, I began to identify with the Greek goddess Artemis, who governs the hunt, the moon, and also, the female cycles that synch up with the lunar,” says Dispenziere. “This feminine, but strong, archetype led me to create the dance piece.”