Each and every day, I lose myself in the immediacy of the moment, find myself in the joy of the movement. Each and every day, I learn more and more...and, within that new knowledge, realize that I have so much farther to travel.

Shallom Johnson is a contemporary dance artist, visual artist and freelance writer based in Vancouver BC. She holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Contemporary Dance from Simon Fraser University, and has been active in the Vancouver dance community as a choreographer, performer, and instructor since her graduation in 2004.

Shallom is interested in art in public spaces, site-specific performance, interdisciplinary collaboration, and community involvement. Her street-based artwork, performance and photography examines and documents who gets to make art, where it gets made, and where/how the creative process and product is viewed. In the future, she hopes to explore this theme further via new media and technologies, new methods of creation, collaboration and community engagement.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Site Specific Performance: Wrap-Up and Review

So, I thought that I'd say a few words about the site-specific performance last weekend, before it slips my mind completely as I am quickly moving on to new things at the Dance Exchange and elsewhere. There have been tons of things that have happened without my being able to write about them, which has been disappointing - but if I'm too busy to write, it's because I'm dancing. Which in and of itself is great.

Anyways, I digress. The site-specific performance went really well. It was the first time I'd done a morning show in quite some time, and my body took a while to adjust - the first show still had a few kinks in it, and our audience was a bit smaller. The noon show went much smoother, and the audience had swelled, including some of the DX company members and staff. It was nice to have their support.

All of the performers did an amazing job! Peter was a wonderful tour guide, leading the audience around the building, helping them to interpret the performance while at the same time building a short movement phrase based on the things they were seeing and hearing. Anne's poetic voice was beautiful, and added an extra dimension to the performance. I particularly enjoyed hearing her words juxtaposed against Dorothy's solo, focusing on the deliberate qualities of her movement and the description of the permanence and strength and texture of the rough brick wall.

My favorite part of the show was Ilya and Sarah's fountain duet. Ilya is a visiting guest artist from Russia, and he is an amazingly talented and creative choreographer and performer. Sarah is a local dance artist, who is equally amazing and beautiful to watch. I have a video of this piece, and of the teens' stairway dance, but I have to edit them as the file sizes are too big to upload.

John Borstel worked with the group to create a really engaging installation/set piece in which dancers manipluated a piece of fabric over the atrium balcony while the Teen Exchange group floated pieces of vellum paper printed with words down over the fabric to the floor below. Myself and other participants were dressed in white, dancing set and improvised movements on the lower level, under the fabric and among the fallen paper. From the audience's perspective, the printed words combined randomly to create jumbled phrases, allowing them to piece together meaning wherever they could find it - or to just read the piece as a whole.

We had a fabulous team working together on this project - I have to admit that I wasn't sure we could pull it off in the time that we had, but in the end everything worked out better than we could have imagined. Every audience reaction that I heard was positive - people were really intrigued by how we pulled them into the space, leading them to view the building in different ways that they had experienced before.

My kudos to everyone involved - Matt and Cassie for givng us a great start and helping to generate and craft our movement material, Peter and Ilya for helping me to keep everything organized and running smoothly, Anne and John for their wonderful artistic contributions, and of course our amazing community and Dance Exchange participants, and the staff at the Takoma Park Community Centre, and the DC Outlaw skateboarders, and the audience, and the perfectly sunny weather, and everyone and everything else that made this performance such a success!

Photos: A step in the process of creating John's installation piece: we used a tool called 3 Column Writing to generate some text, which (after a few more steps) we arranged in places around a room in a way that had some relation to the space and the words themselves. 3 Column Writing is a really interesting and useful tool, I will do a separate post describing the process later on.

1 comment:

Diego said...

i did the 3-column process a while back. :)