Choreography by Many
Pilot 67 is a program by ODC that provides a performance venue and framework for emerging artists. Each choreographer is mentored by a professional choreographer and ODC staff in their artistic work, production, and promotion. I enjoyed this program last year, but it was a challenge to write about all six pieces presented. I feel them same about this year’s Pilot 67. So my responses here will be brief, but hopefully reflective and not merely reactive.
Dolly would, Garth Grimball
I could sense the thinking in this piece, a commentary of sorts on the possibility and wish of connection. Why not? Why not a skinny ballet dancer and a not-so-skinny club dancer? Why not a silent dancer and a singing companion? These juxtapositions reminded of Miguel Gutierrez show last year at CounterPulse. The weaving in of Pat Benatar’s “Love a battlefield” made sense as well as the including “would” in the title; they highlighted the why not character of the dance and the sometimes struggle to find (and maintain) relationships with others. Even though it was a little rough around the edges, I could see the possibility here.
Gen, Ryan, Inez, Dylan, Salome, or Quinn, hers and hers
The literal and metaphorical unpacking in this piece was very particular, but at the same time universal as a narrative of perfection and “in control” was read (and danced). With the addition of song refrains like “you don’t own me,” the danced asked the audience to fill in the blanks, to supply the cultural assumptions about what makes (or marks) identity, which linked the dancing, narrative, and music. Like Dolly would, I could sense the thinking in this piece.
Cora, Under and Above, Marika Brussel
The dance world needs more female ballet choreographers, and more female choreographers in general. There is an on-going conversation out there that I will write about later as lately I’ve been spending a good deal of time watching the San Francisco Ballet. So watching Brussel’s piece is complicated for me. While the pieces by hers and hers and Grimball were thinking through or with ideas, Brussel’s piece didn’t articulate the same level of thinking. I kept trying to figure out what I was watching – why did it matter?
Myth of the Manta, Amelia Uzategui Bonilla
Bonilla’s piece seemed to matter, but more to her than the audience. I appreciated learning about the textile she used in the dance: “A Cusquerñan textile is the starting point for a ritual honoring the evolving stories of growing up within immigrant culture.” I had hard time connecting with it, and I’m not sure why. More story? Less textile?
weather // body, Arletta Anderson & Adam Smith
Anderson and Smith created an atmosphere of light and play with their piece. Their particular mix of wit (sound, text, movement, & light) led me to think about different kinds of illumination that reveal and conceal our perspectives of events, stories, places, etc.
Motion Picture, Helen Wicks
Another piece of more or less. Choreography that sits between extremes can work. This was not the case with Motion Picture, it’s aesthetic seemed obscured, not illuminated enough toward one extreme or another. More camp? Less reference? Wicks’ idea to the use of movie scores from 1940-1969 has potential, however.