You Jump, I Jump Jun 10, 2012

by Ella Mahler


This festival provides a laboratory for contemporary artists to dive into risks, navigate through obstacles, and test out something new. That "newness" is a scary thing, as many of the artists said in their interviews. While contemporary artists are "risky innovators," that doesn't mean they don't get scared from time to time. But the beauty of this laboratory is that it is more of a playground; it is a place to climb, jump, and ride these new creations in a way that is so wonderfully celebrated by its creators and its audiences. 


The first weekend in the studio theater, the artists hurled themselves into some foreign territory. From deconstructing sets, to movement allusions, to raps about raptures, to The Vagina of Modern Dance - there is a whole lot of ground to cover. And we, the audiences, are right there with them.


Between amplified cardboard, glittering surfaces, and ever changing images of texture, skin, and pathway, Tahni Holt's "Sunshine" leads a navigation that is both creature and human driven


"At One mentality" by Danny Herter takes witty approaches to deciphering the Book of Ezekiel. It was as if we read/heard the text in fast foward, with pop culture commercials, and playful costume changes. 


Corrie Befort transformed our environment with allusions of shape, limbs, and time tracking. "Pinto" invites us into a curious window of embodiment - entirely guided by a heavily visceral experience.


Ending the studio round, Catherine Cabeen takes us on an unexpected detour from a "serious movement exploration" into a smart and smart ass throw-down on the undeniable Crotch "showcased" in modern dance. 


For me, one of the biggest aspects about this whole festival is the hungry and supportive audiences. Already, in just 1 of 4 shows, we saw ruthless attacks of taking chances. For this action alone, everyone in their seats cheer on these artists. It is clear that this festival welcomes and provokes us to wrestle with something onstage, and to do it with no turning back. This kind of support is what pushes artists to keep taking risks, keep exploring, and keep trying. And this kind endurance is what is needed in the arts (and the community for that matter).


 So thank YOU artists for making the jump, and thank YOU audiences for jumping with them.