Friday, November 11, 2011

a show and a suggestion

(the YBCA Forum, where we're performing)
In a bit less than a week, I'll be performing with Liss Fain Dance in "The False and True Are One" at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. The cast happens to include my sister, Shannon, and Carson, who is one of the dancers we're collaborating with on Sharp & Fine Project #1 and a very good friend. The piece is unusual. It combines Liss's choreography--which keeps a whole-hearted commitment to clarity and full, aesthetically aware movement--with short stories by Lydia Davis, an actress (the sweetly indomitable Nancy Shelby), an original score, and a set and structure that try their best to diminish the distance that buffers the audience from the labors of the stage.

The stage is divided into five spaces: four rectangles of varying size for the dance and a raised platform for Nancy. Screens of translucent, shifting blue and green hang between the spaces, and the audience is encouraged to move itself at will. They can stand right up against the dancing space, separated only by common sense (beware the high-flung leg) and modesty. They can walk away from one dancer and walk toward another. They can sit down, or get into staring contests, or install themselves right next to Nancy and listen intently as she reads about women turning into cedar trees, girls turning into stones, and a certain cedar of Lebanon (I have puzzled over that line an absurd number of times when I hear it in rehearsal and have only just now remembered to look it up. My favorite sentence in the Wikipedia article mentions that "the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh designates the cedar groves of Lebanon as the dwelling of the gods.")

(the Yerba Buena Gardens)
I've seen other installation-type dance pieces and work that shakes off the traditions of the proscenium, but I think this piece is interesting because of the way it refuses to turn away from movement that is both rigorous and appealing in its prettiness. There are no histrionics, overt aggression or invasions of privacy. I don't think it's necessarily better than pieces that build on those things, but I do think it's gentler and more welcoming.

The company has been putting up video interviews with some of the artists. Here's mine:

The False and True Are One
November 17-20
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum
Tickets available HERE. (general admission $25, seniors and students $12.50)
Also on Goldstar HERE. ($12.50, plus Goldstar fee... which I can't remember the amount of)

Come! We'd love to see you there!
Malinda LaVelle, a friend of mine who is a daring, hilarious, and brilliant choreographer (and fabulous woman!), just launched a Kickstarter for a new piece that she's working on with five amazing dancers. "Urge" will explore "our untamed appetites" and be performed at two different San Francisco venues in 2012. Malinda's work is unsettling and funny, and it doesn't shirk the obligation of powerful art, which is to make you feel more like a human being. Please head over to Kickstarter and take a look!

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