Dancer Elizabeth Dishman’s rich performance reflects on the exchange between the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon as recorded in 1 Kings 10:1-10.
Directed, filmed and edited by
Collaboratively choreographed by Elizabeth Dishman and the performers:
1 Kings 10:1–10
(2 Chronicles 9.1-12)
1 And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to prove him with hard questions. 2 And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. 3 And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not. 4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built, 5 and the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the Lord; there was no more spirit in her.
6 And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. 7 Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it; and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. 8 Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom. 9 Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice. 10 And she gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.
I’ve always been fascinated by this passage…a big time queen decides to play tourist and ends up getting the wind knocked out of her. She had heard rumors but was totally unprepared for the wisdom, beauty and richness she would experience in Jerusalem. She came to test Solomon with hard questions, but instead she can’t even breathe for wonder.
I know the feeling. I was born with my arms crossed. I make up my mind about life’s hard edges, but I am more often than I’d like to admit humbled by its greatness, its kindness, the purity of delight that is available to me, but which I doubt or resist.
In this work I meditated on that moment of confusion when a belief is tested and found to be shifty. When a deeper truth asks to sit down at the table. The conversation is awkward and glorious.
Elizabeth Dishman is the Artistic Director of Dishman + Co. Choreography, a Brooklyn-based experimental dance company founded in 2001. Originally from Colorado, she studied Voice Performance at Emory University, and Choreography at The Ohio State University. In pursuit of ineffable junctures between the abstract and theatrical, the universal and deeply personal, Elizabeth and her collaborators devote themselves to scrupulous exploration and ardent play, probing the elusiveness of live performance in search of lasting things. Over 15 years and 40+ original works, Dishman + Co.’s choreography has been described by critics as “complex skeins and cerebral dreams”, “bodies in rigorous concentration”, and “playful and provocative…raw humanity seeps in”. www.DishmanAndCo.org