Linda Austin Dance (Portland, OR): A world, a world
Risk/Reward Festival welcomes back one of Portland’s most cherished choreographers, Linda Austin, with a work-in-progress excerpt of A world, a world, a dance comprising the 3rd chapter of a three-year arc of work collectively titled (Un)Made. This final chapter is structured around the performers’ relationships to two interrelated worlds: one, saturated, fractured, information-heavy; and the other, more spacious, minimal, and meditative.
Linda Austin, whose career spans nearly 35 years, is a choreographer and performer who creates both improvisational and highly choreographed works that are non-linear, poetic, and often laced with humor, deploying movement that often disrupts the “dancerly.” Her working process brings each performer’s vulnerabilities, strengths, accidental awkwardness, and elegance into a web of relationships with other bodies, objects, environments, sounds, and media.
This excerpt of of A world, a world will reference the first “world”, in which a patterned mural matches performers in similarly patterned costumes. Body blends with body, body is camouflaged against setting, borders between one being and others are blurred. The dancers produce a constant low-level, barely or sporadically decipherable humming, mumbling, and singing of a textual collage from news headlines, songs & poetry, periodically going to headphones mounted on a movable step unit, to receive and channel sound bites referencing the worlds of politics, pop culture, “high” culture, science and philosophy, riffing on these sound bites until they need another “hit.” The dancing references sports scrums, folk dance-like patterns, trance and other motifs in which the individual “disappears” into group, setting, or inwardly into self, inspired by social, cultural, and natural spheres. Throughout, borders of the self are interrogated through the push-pull between autonomy and “groupness.”