"I'll admit I tried to resist Awakening Earth, a solo by and for Cleo Carol Knopf. An aerial dance set to "We Shall Overcome," sung by a Gay Men's Chorus, city undefined, and Holly Near's "Singing for Our Lives, a song I haven't heard in decades, sounds a bit much, a bit treacly. Yes, it almost is. Social justice anthems mixed with a circus act? I backpedaled. But Knopf grounded her sincerity in strong discipline, and that pulled me back. As she worked within her aerial hoop--ascending, coiling, stretching and yearning--it was impossible to not get carried along with her effort, skill and emotional momentum. Her dance, ultimately, is about giving one's all, one's best. A quest and a personal tribute to all who have struggled for social change we have seen and have yet to see."
by Eva Yaa Asantewaa
Cleo Carol Knopf/Poemdance Co.
"The night’s female solo performance swirls above the floor, with Cleo Carol Knopf of Poemdance Co. employing a suspended hoop for “Soul of the Arctic”. The immediate contrast of altitude impressed the audience, who gave the night’s only two unprompted applause bursts at the risky acrobatic feats executed by the ever-spinning Knopf – including an impressive chin hold to compliment upside down splits and twists. Yet, once in the sitting embrace of the rotating circle, she manages to affect relaxed dreamy recline, before shifting into her next disaster-flirting contortion."