During Justin’s Jones’ the SCREEN/the THING I kept thinking it was the Ocean’s Eleven of Minneapolis’s contemporary dance community on that stage.
The stage setting breathed an aura of the celestial. Time and the space seemed malleable. This was most apparent when a backdrop with several painted prosceniums on it lowered slowly to the ground like an accordion to the sound score of an overwhelming vibrating trashcan. Brilliantly planted was a blue stripe on the floor that seemed to serve only as a point of reference to the choreography on stage, as if playing the role of the speed of light, the only constant. I kept being transported to a “ Solaris” type place in a Tarkovsky film, except when I recognized in the sound score cuts from other film scores — it took me out of the work within a piece that seemed so otherworldly.
Most successful was the opening (sound-wise and choreographically) — something that I could have also listened to longer. A hanging painting with relic-like images on it was an aspect of the set that I wasn’t quite connecting to (afterwards it felt to specific for the work). However the miniature planets strung underneath the sound artist’s table I found delightful and a wonderful addition to all the other objects on the table including, books, an old TV, rope, clip lamps — it was a wonderful little world created for the sound artist Elliott Durko Lynch to help play at seemingly Divine-like characterizations and manipulations within the piece. However I wasn’t convinced of his leaving his desk and becoming more physically involved in the work. I was more captured by his subtlety and mystery.
After reading Jones’ director notes that quoted Richard P. Feynman (who expanded the theories of quantum electrodynamics), I found it to be a wonderful coincidence that I happened to be attending the performance with a colleague of mine who is a lover of physics, Ben Siems. Thus afterwards I had all sorts of inquiries about Einstein’s Relativity theory and quantum mechanics and how this all relates to the piece. Something that Ben said that I thought was so beautiful (and I hope that I get it right) is that “ everything around us, even foreign matter that doesn’t respond to us (dark matter), is all made up of these tiny little strings, and all that separates us is how those strings vibrate since the universe first exploded into being.”
He also commented that we humans believe there are up to ten dimensions of space and that we can only perceive three of them because of our size limitations. This is what makes the movement and structural abstraction in this piece beautiful because no human can experience these ten dimensions of space. It creates this incredible longing to experience and see it even though it is 99.9% of the world around us.
Maggie Bergeron’s House/Home had a very cohesive and uniform feel to it with five unique, well-designed miniature houses, charmingly stitched together costumes that frayed on the ends, a magical sound score by Chris Thompson, and a strong traditional modern dance vocabulary. However with themes (according to director notes) that indicate a struggle to understand the definition of a home I found a lack of tension in the work choreographically and performatively and felt there were missed opportunities to fully realize the props potential. However this lack of tension can open up other possibilities of the work living in a place of youthfulness where the opening image of lights from inside the houses reminded me of children inside their forts playing Peter Pan or later dirt (or pixy dust) thrown in the manner of feeding chickens, can simulate walking paths that leads together various parts of different houses to create a new home. And we end the piece sighing with an “ awe” and a image of a young woman holding her handful of dirt high in the air triumphantly.