Sara Shelton Mann’s “The Eye of Horus”

The Eye of Horus                                                                                                                                        5 Solos: Views of the Primal Body                                                                                                             Choreographed by Sara Shelton Mann

These days viewing free dance in public spaces is occurring more and more. In San Francisco, non-profit Dancers’ Group created the ONSITE program to bring free large-scale dance performances to the public and to promote the visibilty and viability of dance. The commissioned choreographers possess a great deal of experience including Sara Shelton Mann whose company, Contraband, began performing in 1979, and whom directed the piece, The Eye of Horus performed at Jessie Square on Mission Street last May in San Francisco.

When we call on Horus, or any of the ancient kemetic deities many of us imagine gold, hieroglyphics, worship, customs and sacrifice, because the ancient Egyptians were detailed and thorough documenting all of their gods and goddesses and the rituals attached to them. In Sara Shelton Mann’s piece we see five humans in red, black and white embarking on their own rituals that dance, release, recover and feed the audience.

Below are my reflections from witnessing The Eye of Horus amongst ordinary people as an ordinary human:

The man in red bathes in the squares. Clothes off. On. A cigarette. I question, hmmm. Is he a part of the performance? 

I watch. I think. This is one of few pieces that cause me to wander about the process.

They feed the pigeons. In a line, getting close to the performers. They don’t get to close. They gallop through the lady’s dance of flailing arms.

Sleek, whispy the dance is unique. Contemporary. Then…

The journey goes down. Sickness, wailing, laughing. 5 solos appear to be losing it. Surprisingly familiar to the human life and experience. The homeless man responds to their calls across the street. Their shouts bring his shouts. His voice joins the chorus and calls into question the privelege of performing versus ones everyday reality. The man in red stomps out his cigarette and exits. He wasn’t performing his bath in the fountain.


She brings out the whip. Slash. The physical action of lashing out.

In the end the bodies lye in their own square to rest leaving us with the image of the inevitable. Death. Unknowing. The beyond and after that. The everlasting heaven or kamut. The struggle human beings aim towards and wondering what’s beyond that?

Check out more on Sara Shelton Mann here:


Cherie Hill is a creative artist, dancer, performer, teacher and scholar, whose art explores human expression and how it is conveyed through the body in collaboration with nature, music and visual imagery. She teaches creative dance and modern dance improvisation at Luna Dance Institute, is former Co-Vice President of the Sacred Dance Guild, and a research assistant for Hip-hop dance legend, Rennie Harris. She holds a BA in Dance and Performance studies from UC Berkeley, and a MFA from the University of CO Boulder. To read more about her upcoming projects visit

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