Curated by Melissa Lewis, Choreography by Many
There was a warm buzz in the tiny Book & Job gallery on Saturday night. On view was a debut photography show, Multiples, by Melissa Lewis. Lewis states that the “show is an attempt of understanding what a multiple is.” I came on Saturday night not only to see Lewis’ photographs but also to watch “60 Second Dances.” Lewis commissioned and curated 21 dancers/choreographers to make one-minute responses to each of her photographs that hung in the gallery.
The dances extended the show’s theme as a reflection of multiples upon multiples – an interplay of different parts, an arrangement (or composition) that allowed for more than one connection. Even Geary St. added a sonic/atmospheric multiple.
What does a 60 second dance look like? I’m not sure I have an answer, but for me it wasn’t about the individual dances. I was more interested in how “the whole” of these pieces came embodied a collective response to Lewis’ photographs. As I moved around the tiny room trying to watch these dances, I started to see them as parts of a larger conversation. In this conversation, I noticed humor, delicacy, honesty, peculiarity, and others. The connections made between the dances and photographs were explicit and implicit, as well as reactive and reflective – a speaking of wishes, desires, and whimsey.
There was something tender about the 20 or so minutes of dance, which might be indicative of Lewis’ personal connection to each of the performers or how her photographs included so much of herself in them.
I wonder how my response fits into the conversation. Is this response here part of the multiples? Could I dance it? I truly appreciate dance experiences that can provoke me to think in new ways not just about dances, but about how I respond to them.