Arrivals/Departures @ the Rio Gallery 01.18

Posted January 23, 2013 in

(L-R) Samuel Hanson's When We were very Young, Ashley Anderson's dead dog song and Yellow choreographed by Diana Crum; documented by Juan Aldape and Danielle Short. Photo: Samuel Hanson
Friday, Jan. 18, the Rio Grande hosted the opening of loveDANCEmore’s Arrivals/Departures before an audience who was free to migrate from piece to piece at their leisure, whether it be videos of dancers that play on hanging screens or live dance works that the dancers repeated over and over from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The exhibit was distilled in a dreamlike state as Emily Haygeman and Cherie Mockli traversed the balcony in Balcony Duet for the audience to gaze upward while resounding “pings” pierced the space with tonal harmonics like a singing bowl; films played on white walls arranged circularly about the space, depicting and challenging what the artform of video dance can be.

At the center of the space, Juan Aldape drew tech-savvy spectators to their smart phones, but not by boring them: Aldape had an arrangement of QR codes on the wall, each linking the viewer to a dance Aldape performed in a different part of the world. One performance finds Aldape in Kotor, Montenegro in the ruins of some structure. He stands on one foot in the brown-brick enclosure on an upper story, challenging the faraway space that Aldape brings to the viewer via rectangular, black print on a white square. The camera wanders about the structure, lending a panorama of the beautiful landscape of Kotor, and Aldape heads into what seems to be a courtyard of this edifice. Though Aldape’s movement comes across as more dance for the sake of dancing rather than having an immediate, conceptual end for itself, his spurts of moving from stillness invoke a sense of bodily “touring” that this video series renders to our attention.

Adrienne Westwood’s hanging, titled little films, was actually in a basket in the form of flipbooks, each with a frame of people dancing by way of rearranging furniture. The sepia tones of the pages captured a sense of lighting that stage lighting designers would slobber over, and seating that an architect only sees in his sleep, as the viewer watches the dance from a bird’s-eye view in the photos. The viewing experience can be smooth, but so fast that it necessitates another look; upon doing so, the dance becomes jarring as the thumb slows the process and each page staggers through the thumbs of those experiencing the dance. Westwood’s dance is something somebody could potentially possess in their pocket, a bedtime story that readers/viewers can take in privately, quietly and set next to their vinyl collection.

Samuel Hanson hung a more straightforward iteration of the video dance form with When We were very Young, where a beat-up Honda drives the dancers out to the middle of nowhere, the only sign of civilization appearing to be a lone telephone tower. Underneath, a dancer masked in a black ski mask stands, almost authoritatively, and dancer Kitty Sailer climbs onto the hood of the car and relaxes her hands under her beanie-donned head, staring into the heavens. Sailer, Michael Watkiss and Katherine Adler later writhe on the ground and gradually magnetize toward each by the end of the dance as multiple people recite the A.A. Milne poem “Now We Are Six” through the headphones. For me, Hanson’s piece, with its titling and subject matter, calls to mind the evanescent feeling of danger in teenage journeys contrasted by the inner fright we feel as we grow into adulthood, still feeling like a child, being six.

As it was the opening of the exhibit, loveDANCEmore treated the audience to various live performances. Aside from Balcony Duet, Anderson ran two pieces: dead dog song and an abridged version of The Windy Gap. She set dead dog song on Tara McArthur and Alex Bradshaw, who were costumed in subtle grey and black dance garb. McArthur and Bradshaw mirrored each other’s movements, which often occurred sitting on the floor or in a prostrate position. At times, though, they would almost cast each other out: One would perform a standing solo as if she were a satellite moon to the other, while the other sat to the back of the performance space, anchor-like. This performance elicited the audience to stand back and view it with quiet consideration. Anderson performed The Windy Gap, a longtime work in progress, in her customary white, long-sleeved shirt and white shorts. The piece involves Anderson adjusting her predicaments according to slide pictures in a projector. She moved to different vantage points to view lush landscapes, or peered into the photo at the same passing landscape as people in a moving train. Anderson situated her body into the two-dimensional projections as dictated by her positioning in space and time, employing minimal motion within a pose to interact with the picture. For lack of better words, it is a pretty piece that Anderson has fine-tuned nicely.

The exhibit will remain in the Rio Grande up until March 8, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Performances will happen once again during next month’s Gallery Stroll on Feb. 15. From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., which is free. For more information, visit
(L-R) Samuel Hanson's <i>When We were very Young</i>, Ashley Anderson's <i>dead dog song</i> and <i>Yellow</i> choreographed by Diana Crum; documented by Juan Aldape and Danielle Short. Photo: Samuel Hanson Erin Kaser Romero's video, <i>Split Screen Deconstruction</i> spanned four different frames dreamily. Photo: Samuel Hanson Those with smart phones could watch Juan Aldape dance around the world in videos rendered via QR codes. Photo: Samuel Hanson The Rio Gallery was a'buzz last Friday, Jan. 18, as Arrivals/Departures delivered an array of live and video dance. Photo: Samuel Hanson