Premiering at CounterPULSE Theater June 21-23: 2013, THIS IS DEDICATED…utilizes the structure of a professional sports games, offering four 20-minute quarters complete with a half-time show and team mascot. Inspired by themes from WWI era dance-marathons and sports culture, the dance game appropriates what is successful and exploits the negative spectacle of the two particular phenomenons. Specifically, the structure of the work revolves around multiple movement games each with their own projection environment and rules of play. These “playing cards” embody a variety of qualities, aesthetics, and statements. Each time the game is played/ the piece is performed, the order is unknown to the dancer players. A three surface projected set design by Hannah Ireland dictates, through randomization, which game within the game will be played and in what order. Guest dancer Kelly Del Rasario from The Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, plays the referee character calling each dancer out of the game when a mistake is made or a rule is violated. For the sound score, live DJ, Jordan Akerley spins various tracks from a variety of genres onstage, further contributing to the chance element of the performance.
It is my (Michelle Fletcher, HNDC director) observation that sports plays a huge role in our society – it serves as an immediate bond when strangers share the same favorite team, causes riots, funnels aggression, distracts, and for some people it is their theater and the stadiums are often full. I never participated in sports events or activities, but after the Giants won the world series and I witnessed my own community get so immersed in it all, I could resists examining what sports does well and what I still have qualms about..
As the structural frame and launching place for This is Dedicated… is sports and WWI dance-marathons, the work includes a competitive edge. We (HNDC) found fuel and purpose in pairing with three Bay Area non-profits of each HNDC dancers’ choosing: Larkin St. Youth Services, The Vasculitis Foundation and The Friends of Alemany Farm. Inspired by the desire to win support and visibility for their charity, each dancer is positioned to push themselves physically and competitively to win. Every minute the dancer players are able to stay in the game, and not be called “out” by the referee, they earn money for their chosen charity. Pledges have been collected ranging from $1-5 for every minute a dancer player dances.
For the live performances, audience members will have the opportunity to “bet” their ticket money on a dancer, knowing that the ticket proceeds will go toward the non-profit for which the dancer is representing/dancing/playing for. So get ready to pick favorites! See you at the game…
Photo by Matt Lewis of HNDC