Well, it has finally happened. Dental Hygiene 2.0. Performing with me was Justin Dominic, an amazing dancer from the greater New York area and all around wonderful person.
When video becomes available, I will be posting that for you also.
Slow Dancing, is a series of videos in which the dancers get 4-5 seconds to move. The high speed camera captures this and the resulting 10 minutes of film is an unearthly, lovely and clear view into the dancers movement. You see not only an aesthetic aspect but also clearly defines initiations, clarity of movement, and focus that are inherent in the dances.
While you can not watch all the videos online, the site has interesting insights from the performers also. For all of us who spend a lot of time understanding and dealing with our perceived shortcomings as dancers, movers and artists, I find it interesting to see how people who are far better known and celebrated feel about their bodies also.
“It was so painful to watch myself slowed down. Dancers are like magicians who are able to have a sleight of hand, they direct where you look. I think it’s possible to almost impose the surprise [so] that the audience goes ‘how did you do that?’ ‘Cause they can’t see mechanically how you did it. It’s more that you are tricking the people watching with a timing system where they don’t notice or something happens so fast. So when all of those moments slow down, it shows everything I try to hide.”
“What I did for the camera was a simple class combination. I found that the less I did the better for me. It was sissons [a type of jump] mostly. I felt, when I looked at myself, youthful and hopeful and reaching for higher, but definitely imperfect—which I didn’t mind. I knew I had to let that go. I felt like each person gave a little poem in their film. Everyone had a story and a mood. They were all so different and I fell in love with each of them so differently. Falling in love with somebody’s essence.”
Bill T. Jones
“I was trying to do something with undulations and directional changes that would give some insight into the way I move—the upper body doing one thing, the legs doing another. But four seconds is not very much time to do anything. That was a revelation. We are so naked when we move. It was kind of a gruesome thing to subject a performer’s ego to, but ultimately I think that’s what’s very beautiful about it. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. If one element fell through, everything was erased. It was a bit of a Zen test.”
David Michalek’s portraits of dancers make a lot of sense considering the form of the subjects art. These slow versions of the artist’s movement are perhaps as close to an accurate portrait of the person as a Chuck Close self portrait. The slowness allows us to concentrate on a movement snapshot of the person. I am expressing myself badly, but if you watch them you will get the idea.
Slow Dancing is a series of 43 larger-than-life, hyper-slow-motion video portraits of dancers and choreographers from around the world, displayed on multiple screens. Each subject’s movement (approximately 5 seconds long) was shot on a specially constructed set using a high-speed, high-definition camera recording at 1,000 frames per second (standard film captures 30 frames per second). The result is approximately 10 minutes of extreme slow motion.
This project came to fruition in 2007, but had been been gestating for much longer. It’s not always easy to point to the specific factors that bring a new work, or the impulse to create one, into being. The overlapping issues, concerns and passions that merge with opportunity are not always obvious.
One impulse was clear. I love dance. I love watching it. I love what dancers do, who they are, and what they stand for. Dance is an underappreciated art form—the NEA tells us that only eight percent of the U.S. population will ever see a live dance performance. This led me to the idea of making a visual statement centered on celebrating dance—but not limited to any one kind of dance—to try to capture the “essence” of dance in a different medium.
A second impulse was my natural urge to make portraits. The best portraits teach me how to look longer and harder and deeper at my fellow human beings. As a portrait artist, this is what I strive to do. I could make a portrait of anyone, anywhere and be happy doing so, but there is a certain pleasure in having dancers as one’s subject.
If you ever get super busy and start forgetting where you put things, you know how I feel when I just found this excerpt video I had a made a few years ago.
I made this video to try to cover more accurately the range of work I have been making – from stage work to what I call body installations. This also includes video from a shoot in the wrecked power stations in the Owens River Gorge in California.
Body Installations are an idea I had while on a residency at the Djerassi Artists Residency Program. I have always been interested in work, as in labor, and the dancer as a laborer. I could go on and on about this, and maybe I will at a future time, but I started doing a series of physical tasks (pulling trees, holding salt bricks out for deer, hanging off of buildings with bird whistles… you get the idea.
Enjoy the video!
Who/what is Audiostage? Audiostage is a podcast for conversations with performance makers, critics and academics. We hope to create a space for long-form discussions across a range of topics of deep importance to our industry. We want to acknowledge the vast wealth of experience and wisdom that our community has to offer.
“I think that equality comes with assymetry and that it’s not necessary for roles to be symmetrical for there to be equality.”
– Chrysa Parkinson
About the interview: In the first episode of season three, Angela and Jana speak to Chrysa Parkinson on the creativity of the dancer: the work of dance, the authorship of the dancer, and whether excessive praise is how we pay artists in lieu of a living wage.
After many years in New York, working with Tere O’Connor Dance among others, Chrysa Parkinson now lives in Brussels. In Europe, she performed initially with Thomas Hauert and David Zambrano, and later with Boris Charmatz, Rosas/Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Jonathan Burrows, Mette Ingvartsen, Phillip Gehmacher, Eszter Salomon, John Jasperse, Deborah Hay, Meg Stuart. She is an esteemed pedagogue, teaching annually at PARTS, and currently serving as Director of the New Performative Practices MFA program at DOCH/Uniarts in Stockholm.
Chrysa Parkinson would say that her current practice is performance.
Cynthia has been choreographing and performing in modern and contemporary dance for over 30 years. Her time in Berlin, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco has influenced her thinking and work in style and content. Creating a multi layered, idea based style, Cynthia heavily combines vocal and text elements to her work as well as music elements and video.
Currently faculty at Iowa State University, and lives in Des Moines, Iowa with her husband (and co-artistic director), son, and old hound dog.
Cynthia Adams joined the ISU dance faculty in the Fall of 2010. Ms. Adams holds a M.A. in Choreography/Performance from the University of California, Los Angeles and a B.A. in Pre-Dance Therapy from New York University in New York City. Ms. Adams has taught as a guest artist at Mills College, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cabrillo College, the University of California at Berkeley, and San Jose State University, as well as in numerous studios teaching ongoing classes and workshops in dance and somatic practices.
At ISU, Cynthia teaches all levels of modern, ballet, yoga, dance composition and dance history. As the advisor for the student organization, Orchesis 1, she teaches company class, books guest artists, choreographs, and serves as the artistic director for Barjche, held in Fisher Auditorium in February.
Ms. Adams began performing her solo and group work in N.Y.C. in 1981. Her choreographic, film and video/dance works have since been seen across the country, Canada and Germany. In 1992 she formed Fellow Travelers Performance Group (www.FTPG.org), a dance theater company in the San Francisco Bay Area with Ken James. Over the years FTPG has received numerous grants and awards in addition to performing in many curated festivals in California, Vancover, BC, Wisconsin and Iowa.