"They're as alert as animals to everything they see and hear. And, in the case of these three, what they sense through their skins…The women's occasional misadventures also reveal that they are improvising—misadventures that in this low-key, sensitive work can be as kinesthetically stimulating as a virtuoso act. ...many of the tangles and supports are beautiful as well as unusual—fluidly arrived at, seriously performed, and then organically disarranged. There's a certain elegance to Black Lakes along with its earthiness, sensuousness and adventurousness. ...three women keen of mind and freer in their bodies and spirits than anyone [Peter Styvesent] might have known." —Deborah Jowitt, Arts Journal
Black Lakes is an investigation into a new way to create and see. Making a turn away from more theatrical, tightly orchestrated choreography, Black Lakes foundations lie in more than the movement, but in an attempt to strip away conventional expectations within the performer herself and with audience as well. Black Lakes was developed alongside an ongoing authentic movement practice with bessie-nominated Eleanor Smith, Weena Pauly and Workum. The three performers move in and out of solos, unison, and duets contained within a set structure and the content of every performance will be created anew each night. The piece includes a minimalist soundscape by the Bessie award-winning James Lo and lighting by Carrie Wood. World premiere at Mount Tremper Arts, August 2014, NYC premiere at Danspace Projects, April 2015.
"This piece is so intertwined with the process of making it that I want to write a little about it so perhaps you can have a deeper understanding of what and why this is all going on. This piece is not set. There is roughly set music, lighting, timings about how many bodies inhabit the stage at a time, but the content is created entirely new every night. I did not set out to make an improvised piece, but tonight is the culmination of my long-term attempt to examine and reorder many aspects of my previous dance making. Personal and institutional issues around control and ownership (and the lack thereof) were clouding and undermining my art making and I was tired of these hang-ups informing my work in ways I did not understand and depleting my accomplishments after a piece had closed.
Two years ago Weena, Eleanor, and I began and still maintain a daily practice of long-form, closed-eyed, witnessed improvisations called Authentic Movement. This practice of both moving and witnessing has shifted and expanded our belief systems about the art, the field, each other and ourselves. My choreography is no longer me giving you ideas that I have told my dancers to do, striving to present a perfect hour of dance. This dance, at its core is an experiment, an act of trust and a leap of faith. It is about having cultivated a readiness to step into the unknown and navigate the actual moment in real time. We value living over artifact. Not relying on past successes or punishing ourselves for failures, we are going to try to let you see us as how we are. And you are a very important part of this dance. Like the witness in Authentic Movement, I invite you to bear witness and include yourself in real time, listening to yourself as much as you watch us. Or not, it’s up to you. But however you watch and whatever Eleanor, Weena, and I do, we are all going to be making a living dance here at Danspace." –Katie Workum
Mount Tremper Arts
Mount Tremper, NY
April 9-11, 2015
North Adams, MA