Australian dancer/choreographer Joseph Simons at the Grand Central Terminal in New york City.
Photographed by David Kawena.
Like wine, Dionysus is double: most terrible yet infinitely sweet. His presence, which is a bewildering intrusion of otherness into the human world, may take two forms, be manifested in two different ways. On the one hand it may bring blessed union with the god, in the heart of nature, with every constraint lifted - an escape from the limitations of the everyday world and oneself. That is the experience extolled in the parodos: purity, holiness, joy, sweet felicity. On the other hand, it may precipitate one into chaos in the confusion of a bloodthirsty, murderous madness in which the ‘same’ and the ‘other’ merge and one mistakes one’s nearest and dearest, one’s own child, one’s second self for a wild beast that one tears apart with one’s bare hands: ghastly impurity, inexpiable crime, misfortune without end, without relief.
Jean-Baptiste Greuze (French, 1725-1805), Study of a Faun (before 1755), red and black chalk with stumping, 33.4 x 41.3 cm. Via arthermitage.org.