“broken flowers”

By JAMUNA CHIARINI

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, in 2010, an estimated 12.3 million adults and children were in forced labor, bonded labor, and forced prostitution around the world; 56 percent of these victims were women and girls. As many as 300,000 children are at risk for sexual exploitation each year in the United States.

With “Broken Flowers,” Agnieszka Laska, a local Polish expatriate and choreographer, has brought attention to the situation of  this problem. Her episodic,  53-minute dance depicts the devastating psychological effects of being forced into sexual slavery. In collaboration with her composer husband Jack Gabel and nine dancers, she has explored the inner workings and personal relationships inside the world of human trafficking. “People are born to be loved. Things are made to be used. Lives go wrong when things are loved and people are used.” (program notes)

Through dim lighting, a creaky bed, one long wooden table, 3 stools, mirrors and a row of clothes taken on and off, Laska (whose previous dances have dealt with 9/11, the wars in the Middle East, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and airport body scanners) creates a lonely, bleak scene where eight sex workers and one pimp tell a story of dependence, physical abuse, rape, innocence lost, isolation, exploitation, slavery and oppression.

“Broken Flowers” is a series of connected solos, duets and group dances that tell the story of a group of women trapped in sexual slavery by one man. It opens in a very theatrical way with one dancer sitting alone in a spotlight in the middle of the floor while the others are scattered around the dark edges of the stage suggestively lounging across a bed, a table and some chairs.

Continues…