Archive for June, 2010

Gig in Cologne, Germany was tremendous

June 4, 2010

The opportunity to create and perform a site-specific, solo dance in response to Dianna Frid’s installation “skylight and spectra” at the neues kunstforum gallery in Cologne Germany offered a huge range of benefits to me as an artist. The dance that took place at the closing of the visual arts exhibition on Sunday May 9th at noon, challenged me to create a body-centered response to the original floor drawing that Frid created, but at the same time to create a work that expressed my own thoughts and reactions to the themes of light, reflection and colour. In the process I achieved my goal of bringing enhanced meaning to Frid’s work, where lay people and even children could experience the floor drawing that Frid created in deeper ways.

I have spent much of my recent career aiming to draw the language of dance out of obscurity and generously offering it to any audience, giving viewers the confidence to see movement and to react to it with a sense of their own authority. I feel satisfied that I am becoming good at what I do, when I can now walk into a cross-disciplinary collaboration and create a work that enhances the viewer’s experience of not only the dance but the original media as well.

Frid’s work was about light and reflection and colour. It was an outstanding, intricate, and playful piece about the bounce of light against surfaces. It was about inhabiting a large space with a unifying concept that drew attention towards a focal point. All of these concepts sat comfortably within the dance I created and I feel I succeeded in using the unique features of Frid’s installation to realize my own interpretations.

Some examples, I used my voice to augment the concept of bounce against surfaces in the space. This feature was highly successful and I was thrilled to see how responsive the audience’s comments were to my use of voice and self-accompaniment in the piece. Also, I used the architecture of the installation to draw attention to our unified forms, which helped to situate the piece firmly in its immediate surroundings. I also relied on my body to reflect the lines and patterns of the design in the floor drawing and this element made the eye of the viewer more sensitive to the work that Frid created.

One exciting achievement for me was my idea to wear a white costume to catch the reflections from the metallic floor drawing against the surface of my body (as an alternate surface of reflection). This aspect of the dance succeeded beyond my expectations by bringing acute attention to the bounce of skylight against the metallic colored material. In these reflections you could say that secondary works of art were being created in real time, against the accompanying surface of my body.

What I really learned through this process is how to create a draft of an idea for a site-specific work within a neutral space, such as a dance studio, while still keeping the pictures of the ultimate performance space in mind and in photographs. So that when I begin to amalgamate the dance that I created separately, together with the elements of space in the real performance environment, I can work quickly and efficiently. When I arrived to Cologne I had two days to complete this final step, and I found the confidence and calm to stay constantly curious and open to adaptation, which allowed the elements of the draft and the space to blend into a final form only hours before the public showing. That mutability and curiosity; that comfort with change that took me to the final form of the piece was an enlivening and exciting outcome of this project for me and a real achievement in terms of my creative process.

Oh and the audience in Germany is amazing! They clap so long and hard and the end of every show I saw or performed, that an unseasoned North American performer like myself had not prepared enough curtain calls to satisfy this unexpected show of appreciation and deep respect for the performing arts. Whoa!!!! It was a thrill.