A few weeks after Evolving Doors Dance Company began rehearsals for their latest performance, the entire world shut down. Company choreographer/director, Angie Simmons briefly shut down, as well. There was a lot to process. How does a dance company make work when they can’t be together in space? After a while, Simmons and the company decided that a dancer has to do what a dancer has to do, and that is to dance. By June, they began working on a dance-for-camera film.
Company dancer Gretchen LaBorwit, who studied dance-for-camera work for her MFA at the University of Colorado, collaborated with EDD and co-director/sound designer Amy Shelley’s band, High Fiction on the short film, Coil & Web.
Rising to the challenge to find new ways to rehearse safely within the new constrictions, via zoom calls and outdoor park rehearsals, Simmons found the confidence to move forward with the live performance that was already planned. New questions arose, and new challenges presented themselves regarding exactly how to present dance to an audience safely. Describing this process, Simmons recalls, “just from an artistic director and choreographer’s standpoint, there were so many things that I had to reevaluate, and some things I had to let go of, that I would never have done under other circumstances. It’s been mind-boggling. It’s good for me. I normally can overthink everything. There was no time for any of that. I had to go with gut and hope that gut was right.”
Functioning within restrictions as a way of creating work is a modern dance format that began with the collaborations of composer John Cage and choreographer Merce Cunningham in the 60’s. Creating highly structured work by means of chance and obstacle was a way of shaking dance out of its expected forms of presentation. Usually, undertaking this method of creating work is a choice. For Simmons, the structure was imposed by Covid-19.
Stepping out of her comfort zone has meant stepping out of the stage and into space that had to be re-structured and newly devised. The result, Moving Through: Bodies, Music, Images, Experience, has enfolded the question of “how do we work now” into the performance itself.
Rather than sitting in a theater and watching a stationary performance, the audience will move through the entire building, viewing multiple installations, including the Coil & Web film as a backdrop to live performance. Four musicians will move through the space in a sound collaboration that becomes necessarily ambient as the music travels and intermingles between spaces. A meeting room filled with clear balloons, a curtain that separates the dancers in a duet, and furniture that a soloist has not actually danced with are some of the obstacles the dancers will encounter during the performance. Simmons says the pieces are abstract, but the through-line is how people, both performer and audience, are connecting or not connecting with obstacles.
There are three ways you can enjoy Moving Through: In person (socially distanced, masked, and staggered entry) live-streamed, or pre-recorded. These options allow viewers to participate at their comfort level, and even at their leisure.
Live and in person is always the best way to view performance art. The energy exchange between audience and performer always adds a deeper dimension of experience. Beginning Thursday, October 1 through Saturday, October 3, tickets can be purchased in 15 minute increments. Small groups will enter together, and individual audience members will be allowed to walk through the performance space at their own pace, spending up to 15 minutes with each performance installation. Audience and performers will be masked. The show is approximately one hour in length, or shorter if audience members choose to move quickly.
Performances are held at The People’s Building in Aurora. Ticket times are 7:00 7:15, 7:30, 7:45, 8:00. All tickets must be purchased in advance. No tickets will be sold at the door. Purchase tickets here.
For many, entering the public for entertainment is not optional or preferable at this time. One live-streamed performance is available on Thursday, October 1 at 7:30 pm. This tickets are donation based. After you purchase this ticket, you will receive an email with a private live-stream link. Purchase live-stream tickets here.
If the Thursday live-stream has passed, or you wish to view the performance from home on your own timing, you can purchase tickets for pre-recorded performances for Friday and Saturday. You will be emailed a link that you can access until October 9. Purchase pre-recorded tickets here.