I always wanted to be a dancer, just like I always wanted to be an author of fiction. The first one is kind of out of my reach, mostly because I’m an absolute klutz…don’t get me wrong, I can dance in the hallways like anybody’s mom, but I’m not in charge of enough of my muscle groups to follow instructions. Even aerobics classes are supremely challenging. I learned this fairly early on, but still love to watch others dance, especially modern dance…there’s a certain fluidity of bodily motion that speaks to how and what I draw. I’ve also done some performance art over the years, and I think that modern dance and performance art are pretty closely related in terms of the performance itself, if not the practice leading up to it.
In my reaching out for a new life (or ways to fill up the old life), I have some groups I’m in that post events outside my normal realm of existence. I’ve tried to find some good art-event groups (fail) and some moviegoing groups (less of a fail, but a timing issue), but one of the geeky women groups I’m in posted a modern dance event recently on a day when I had no other event planned (ie, there was no hike I could go on), and it was reasonably priced, so I signed up. It helped that I knew the organizer from book club, so I knew she was friendly.
The event, Seed, was put on by YouTurnArts, who “aims to create opportunities for performing and visual artists to produce new works in San Diego. The goal is to unify the artistic community, producing artists of all genres.” Not a bad goal. I was more inclined to go because of the addition of the other visual/performing arts, making this more of an event than just a dance performance.
Oh yeah, and I want to be a musician too…preferably an acoustic guitar player and singer. Tried that. Couldn’t deal with the short fingernails and the callouses. So instead, I support the arts by buying good music. The event featured Yael and Vlady playing and singing delightfully throughout the evening.
They’re local (to San Diego). Enjoy them. Here’s her website (her being Yael, Vlady being him).
There was performance art during the break, put on by Hill Young with Scarlet Astrid, called Elemental Exchange. I actually took photos of this (I felt like I couldn’t photograph the dance performances…although there were some official-looking photographers there). This was the intriguing setup prior to the performance…
with these hanging above…
The two performers wore all white (and yes, I thought of Dharma, for those fabric-dyers out there)…they had living material (flowers?) that had been frozen in bowls and then slabs of ice that they broke up and put on the paper.
They spilled the dye (ink?) and rubbed the ice over the papers…
And then opened the cones to release salt (at least, I assumed it was salt)…
There was lots of spillage going on. It looked quite fun.
Feet were involved…
The result, well, my photos sucked, but pretty paper with dye all over it, kinda what it looks like when I dye fabric (except my clothes stay marginally cleaner…not so my other body parts, unfortunately). It was interesting to watch…but if you’re going to wear white clothes around dye, then the clothing should be more dyed by the end than it was.
As far as the dance performances were concerned, I really enjoyed the combination of moving bodies and sound. The Figs of Plath was performed by Anne Gehman and Maria Juan, inspired by Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. To quote from the artists, “I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story…I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose.” I did not read the artists’ statements before I watched the performances, I must admit, but was able to gather the purpose from the dance itself. The two dancers often mirrored each other’s actions, but one was definitely more about gathering as many figs as she could, while the other tempted and took.
The second performance was by Erica Buechner and involved bubble wrap, so the sound was a huge element of the piece. The performance was called Between my fist and my Pollyanna. Buechner at first verbalized each movement in terms of how her bones and muscles would move, a scientific explanation of dance, and then started to move over and avoid the bubble wrap, but then kept falling and standing on it, making great gunshot noises, ending up trapped by the long strips of bubble wrap twisted around her legs. She writes about her piece, “It explores spiral from an internal, physical level and how it gains momentum, eventually spiraling out of control, into the environment around oneself. It is a physically and emotionally demanding piece, that is pushing my process of creating work. Oh, and there is bubble wrap involved.”
The last performance was the third-best time is now, by Katie Griffin with Virginia Broyles and Morgan True. Griffin describes this piece as “Uncomfortably, comfortable. Planted and Unsettled. Alone with self, this is my story, desperately needing to let go, to grow, to move on, to hold on.” The trio played off each other with a wide variety of music and movements that clearly showed the need to move on, to let go.
Nut and Bean was there with hummus and nut butters, all to die for…they had samples (I ran out of cash); unfortunately (for me), it’s really only available in the San Francisco area. Yvonne Portra had her photography there, and Often Wander was selling jewelry and candles. There is an official review of the dance performances here, by Janice Steinberg. I say it’s official because she reviews dance and hey! I don’t. But I did enjoy the experience and will keep my eyes open for other affordable performances, since cost is one of my issues.