What do audiences keep in mind a couple of dance efficiency? Not all of it, for positive. They most likely depart with a normal sense of what they’ve seen and should recall a selected sequence, a gesture, or the motion high quality of a specific dancer. Every individual will keep in mind it in another way. And the way effectively will the reminiscence survive the drive residence, fixing dinner, feeding the cat?
The plasticity of reminiscence was the subject of Nathan Griswold’s sensible dance theater work Tile at Windmill Arts Heart final weekend. The Sunday viewers comprised a who’s who of Atlanta’s dance neighborhood, not less than one in all whom had seen the piece Friday, was blown away by it, and got here again for a repeat viewing.
Two and a half years within the making, Tile is a compact mosaic of dynamic motion, spoken phrase, video and a soundscore by Ptar that sweeps from loud digital rumbling to lyrical sweetness and again once more.
The 75-minute work is creative and thought-provoking and poses as many questions on reminiscence because it solutions. It was fantastically carried out Sunday by Walter Apps, Leo Briggs, Jenna Latham, Darvensky Louis and Christina J. Massad. All of them collaborated with Griswold, who’s a co-founder of the Fly on a Wall arts platform and a former dancer with Atlanta Ballet.
So what do I keep in mind? For starters, the enigmatic grasp of ceremonies (collaborator Nicholas Goodly), whose picture flickered and twitched on a small TV, inviting us to sit down and get snug; and Briggs’ gorgeous opening solo, with its easy turns, propulsive ground work, sharply etched extensions and mild, surprising moments of stillness. All carried out in silence.
I keep in mind Briggs’ dialog with the on-screen-only Goodly, who requested how Briggs was capable of keep in mind their solo, and what it felt like. Of their revealing and humorous response, Briggs mentioned the discovered repetition of motion was like bartending, and that dancing was each “ridiculous enjoyable” and intense pleasure however not so good as masturbation.
I keep in mind a dynamic motion sequence punctuated by the dancers repeatedly pushing one another right into a linear tableau, related, however every in a special place. Was the tableau precisely the identical every time? Or did reminiscence trick us into pondering it was? Finally we may see it change — to a softer fall, a gentler connective contact, a mere whisper of its first iteration.
I keep in mind Briggs and Latham taking part in a kids’s hand clapping recreation, and Latham operating across the area like a child excessive on sunshine and ice cream.
It might be exhausting to overlook the part the place Goodly gave Apps rapid-fire motion directions — put your arms right here, head there, hand behind the left knee — in ever sooner and extra advanced sequences, which Apps carried out with care and readability.
Likewise, Goodly’s story about working within the kitchen and listening to their child fall off the espresso desk within the adjoining room. The primary time Goodly instructed it, they mentioned they have been listening to John Coltrane. The second time, it was Philip Glass. And what about when Massad was interrogated about her date the earlier night time and the main points saved altering? That darn reminiscence.
These have been a number of of the plain references to reminiscence I noticed on Sunday. However this can be a fastidiously structured work and I think there have been many extra delicate references, maybe recognized solely by the dancers or by viewers who noticed the work greater than as soon as.
The ending was as loud and immobile because the opening was silent and drenched in motion. The sq. of sunshine (designed by William “freaky lamps” Kennedy) that had hung over the area all through the present slowly lowered, creating a big, vertical body via which the a lot smaller body of the TV may very well be seen.
Massad sat in semi-darkness on the entrance of the area, her again to the viewers. Nothing moved besides the flickering static on the TV. Ptar’s soundscape rumbled, roared and soared. Goodly, now in actual life, stepped down from the viewers and joined Massad. Many minutes handed. Lastly, Massad stood up, walked to middle stage and positioned her head in silhouetted profile in opposition to the TV. An enigmatic ending.
Tile opened and closed with only one dancer on stage, as if reminding us that reminiscence is just not solely malleable and unreliable however a uniquely lonely factor. Reminiscence lives in our brains, locked away from others and generally even ourselves. For dancers, nevertheless, essentially the most dependable reminiscence is muscle reminiscence, when the physique remembers greater than the mind ever can.
There have been pockets of humor in Tile, a few of them wacky, as when the in-person Goodly stood up, excused himself to the viewers, and ran out of the area. After a number of loud restroom flushes, they ran again in, and the work continued. It was an odd, maybe pointless, non sequitur — except the aim was to display that audiences are prone to recall issues that are odd, awkward or surprising.
The picture definitely caught with me, together with a powerful want to see Tile once more at any time when and wherever it’s carried out.
Gillian Anne Renault has been an ArtsATL contributor since 2012 and was named Senior Editor for Artwork+Design and Dance in 2021. She has lined dance for the Los Angeles Day by day Information, Herald Examiner and Ballet Information, and on radio stations equivalent to KCRW, the NPR affiliate in Santa Monica, California. A very long time in the past, she was awarded an NEA Fellowship to attend American Dance Competition’s Dance Criticism program.