ilvs strauss (Seattle, WA): Doin it Right
Photo by Tim Summers.
ilvs strauss brings her critically-acclaimed theatrical wit and imagination to a work investigating text based movement (Dance Narrative) in depth. Playing with layers of TEXT/SUBTEXT/ SUPERTEXT, she explores forgiveness, loss, and the sometimes complex meaning of the said vs unsaid with help from four dancers and Daft Punk’s Doin it Right.
ilvs strauss is an analytical chemist turned multi-disciplinary performance artist and theater tech living and making work in Seattle. Her art ranges from Dance Narrative performance to anamorphic outdoor sculptures, illustrated storytelling (aka Slide Shows) to haiku poetry. As Technical Director / Lighting Designer she has worked for Pat Graney, KT Neihoff, Salt Horse, and Cherdonna, and is currently the TD at Velocity Dance Center. She also teaches workshops on writing, movement and performance. Her solo piece, Manifesto (last seen at Risk/Reward Festival 2014), now an evening length show), was listed in Dance Magazine’s BEST of 2014 list.
Five dancers (ilvs included) are in matching pedestrian outfits: grey shirts, black pants, sneakers. A Voice Over narration (ilvs’s voice) plays throughout the piece – this is the TEXT. The dynamics of the performers onstage dance-interacting with each other and with the VO serve as the SUBTEXT – highly scored, improv-based movement. The movement is derived and inspired by words, with partiality paid to subtlety, facial expressions, and repetition. The final layer, the SUPERTEXT, is set unison choreography to Daft Punk’s Doin it Right that plays repeatedly and intermittently throughout the piece. In addition to Daft Punk, there is an instrumental sound scape of looped clips from songs off of PJ Harvey’s album Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. As it stands, the story is about loss, sunshine, and saying goodbye.
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SNKR (Portland, OR)
Against a backdrop of architectural video and location sound, Rauer moves, taps and interacts with microphones and found objects. Sitting onstage, Nehil treats the live sound and triggers samples of scratchy LPs. Actions are mirrored between past and present, sounding in remote sites and the space of the stage.
Seth Nehil is a composer, video artist and performance-maker. His distinctive sound pieces feature manipulated acoustic recordings, voice and granular synthesis in unlikely combinations. He has created original scores and sound designs for dance and theater productions, has directed large-scale performance pieces and has released over 15 albums of experimental music on international labels. Seth currently teaches sound and video at the Pacific NW College of Art, among other schools.
Kelly Rauer merges video and movement studies to form large-scale, multi-channel video installations where the body serves as the main subject, object and device. Intimacy and proximity are guiding principles that shape the way she approaches, frames, deconstructs and reconstructs an experience of the body. These video installations are highly planned and choreographed experiences, typically designed to immerse the viewer in uncommon perspectives of the body and its movement not possible in a live performance context or in our day-to-day social interactions.
SNKR is the duo of sound/video artist Seth Nehil with video/movement artist Kelly Rauer. In performance, they bring together video, sound and movement; Dance is a form of sound-making, and making sound is a way of interacting with places. We sent impulses into schoolyards and rail yards, we created feedback inside Portland’s oldest building, and we explored angles inside a semi-abandoned Soviet-era grain mill in Southern Estonia. In performance, we layer action on action and sound on sound. Kelly is swinging and coiling microphone cables, dragging and rubbing the mics, exploring the simple sounds of paper, wood and metal. She reflects and contrasts with her former self, which is multiplied on the large screen at the back of the stage. A raking light focuses her concentrated body-listening in front of the projected image. Seth is watching, changing and adding in the moment, twisting knobs and triggering digital sounds. SNKR finds an intersection of movement as sound-making and sound-making as movement.
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Milton Lim/Hong Kong Exile (Vancouver, BC): okay.odd.
okay.odd. is a multimedia meditation session centered around facilitating a stream of consciousness encounter through use of associative language and image. Based on the tenets of concentration, mindfulness, contemplation, and visualization, okay.odd. exists between thought and perception; knowing and unknowing; real and imagined. Breathe. Don’t think.
Hong Kong Exile is a Vancouver-based interdisciplinary arts company comprising of three artists: director/performer, Milton Lim; choreographer/dancer, Natalie Tin Yin Gan; and composer/media artist, Remy Siu. HKX strives to push the boundaries of interdisciplinary process and creation. As members of the Chinese diaspora, they investigate cultural politics in an era of globalization, and have created thirteen original works since 2011. Company highlights include an inaugural five-month residency at New Westminster’s River Market, Hive: NEW BEES 3, CanAsian Kickstart Festival in Toronto, CanAsian International Dance Festival, Seattle International Dance Festival, Dancing on the Edge Festival, and Gateway Pacific Theatre Festival.
Part spiritual retreat and part commentary on our image-inundated affect-obsessed society, okay.odd. is an invitation to encounter the version of you that you feel, but do not know. okay.odd. engages with the topic of curiosity by loosely borrowing the form of a meditation session using recorded text, eventually spring-boarding into stream-of-consciousness word association via projection and persistent rhythmic sound. Outwardly, the use of projected text in the piece is an exercise in duration, attempting to track and presume a certain train of thought that audience members may be having as they move from word to word. However, the secondary and more significant goal is to inundate observers with associative weight, leaving them with an overwhelming awareness of their subconscious thought and beliefs about how they situate themselves in local/global contexts, and why. This allows the piece to bring up socio-political perceptions around race, ethnicity, privilege, gender, sexual orientation, representation, history, and general otherness, without distilling the whole piece to any singular discussion point. The project was born out of a desire to experiment with delivery of content that would normally illicit association and tangential thought, but at a frequency that is implicitly felt, rather than cognitively activated.
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Vanessa Goodman/Action at a Distance (Vancouver, BC): Container
Photo by David Cooper.
Leonard Cohen wrote that “there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” When everything else has been taken from a person, is that light that keeps us human something as simple as a memory of our past?
Vanessa Goodman is a Vancouver-based dance artist who is Artistic Director of Action at a Distance Dance Society, is Co-Artistic Director of The Contingency Plan dance collective and is an artistic associate with Small Stage. She received her early training in Toronto from Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre, PBJ Dance Projects and Etobicoke School for the Arts. Vanessa holds a BFA from Simon Fraser University and continues her training locally and abroad, including intensives with the Batsheva Dance Company in Israel and the Hofesh Schechter Company in England. Vanessa was the recipient of the 2013 Iris Garland Emerging Choreographer Award from the Scotiabank Dance Centre.
Photo by Ben Didier.
In a broad sense the title of this solo is a reference to the body as the container of identity and the cultural past it inherits. Most cultures throughout history have experienced life on either side of oppression at some point, and that collective history informs a muddy fabric of guilt and victimhood that exists as part of the human condition. Beyond this, there is also a more literal meaning which can be clearly discerned through the movement where the container represents an actual lack of freedom. How the mind and body copes with incarceration, especially in unjust cases, is fascinating to examine. What parts of ones self can be retained under these circumstances?
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Anthony Hudson / Carla Rossi (Portland, OR): Looking for Tiger Lily
Photo by Gia Goodrich
LOOKING FOR TIGER LILY utilizes song, drag, and video to put a queer spin on ancestral, traditional storytelling; what it means for a mixed-race person to grow up seeing their heritage filtered through white normative media.
ANTHONY HUDSON is a multidisciplinary artist, performer, and filmmaker. He lives in Portland, OR among lush greenery, sprawling gentrification, and a not-mutually-exclusive fear of bridges and earthquakes. Anthony is perhaps best known as Portland’s premier drag clown CARLA ROSSI, an immortal trickster whose attempts at realness almost always result in fantastic failure. Career highlights include Pepper Pepper’s Critical Mascara for TBA (PICA), the Cascade AIDS Project Art Auction, Seattle PrideFest, and Conduit Dance’s DANCE+ Festival, and hosting alongside Coco Peru, Peaches Christ, Jinkx Monsoon, Bianca Del Rio, and more. Anthony & Carla host and program their LGBTQ film series QUEER HORROR bimonthly at the historic Hollywood Theatre, and they recently received their second RACC Artist Focus project grant for the full-length version of LOOKING FOR TIGER LILY, premiering in Fall 2016.
Carla Rossi, Portland’s premier drag clown and (in her words) “ghost of white privilege,” confronts white supremacy and the confusion of “mixed” identities – of living in-between, particularly sexually and racially. LOOKING FOR TIGER LILY forces Carla (but also Anthony) to trace personal and ancestral lines to work through and recreate childhood memories, namely watching Tiger Lily’s “Ugg-A-Wugg” song from Mary Martin’s Peter Pan. While this is technically a “one-woman-ish” show, a large element of the show – the storytelling – comes through with the use of video and slides, inspired by the Power Points Anthony’s father used to give as a Grand Ronde Tribal social worker. His father’s workshops for State social workers taught the importance of the Indian Child Welfare Act and the lived realities of assimilation and intergenerational trauma, and included typical “dad jokes,” pictures of the Chemawa Indian School where he grew up, and his family history within the Tribe.
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