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Choreography and Performance: Dawn Kramer Music: Bulgarian State Female Vocal Choir and Hildegarde of Bingen
Mercy references the title of Andrea Dworkin's controversial book. The dance is a reverse striptease to Bulgarian folk music. It uses the layering and binding of underwear worn in odd ways as a metaphor for restrictions and violence against women. It is a challenging piece to perform, both physically and emotionally. Mercy makes some audience members uncomfortable as it is a somewhat graphic look at the often hidden problem of domestic violence. It was selected by Dance Umbrella for Flying Solo, a curated concert of four solo performers.
The most compelling work on the program was "Mercy," a new solo for Kramer that examined - with both humor and poignancy - the increasing violence against women. Kramer began the dance dressed in only a bra and pantyhose, and in a reverse striptease, slowly added other undergarments, some clutched between her teeth, others wrapped around her head and legs . Women, Kramer appeared to say, are trapped in a web of society's own images and expectations. As the dance ended and the mournful score grew in intensity, Kramer appeared visibly moved by her own performance. It was a powerful and intimate moment."
The Boston Herald, June 2, 1993
Kramer’s inspiration for this dance was the alarming increase in recent times in violence against women. Beginning the dance in pantyhose and a bra, she gradually dons other lingerie items – a black bustier goes on backward, two more bras drape her torso and head, black lace goes between her teeth like a gag...Some moments are comical, others are disturbing. The final image of a woman rendered helpless by her state of undress, the trappings of wardrobe, and other, unseen factors, is stark and poignant.
--Diane C. Grant
The Boston Globe, June 26, 1993