Find Me in Here

a dance about you and the group. directed by esther m palmer

Thank You September 29, 2009

Filed under: notes — Esther @ 9:47 pm
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Many thanks to all who supported and participated in Find Me in Here!

A work founded on the original contributions of several individuals, its public life was short lived, culminating with two “final” performances at the end of August, 2009. What I have learned from the experience continues to have its effect and I look forward to exploring further the questions of creative process and product that Find Me in Here raised.

Similarly, I am always eager to engage with your comments and questions and look forward to many conversations about dance, performance, and creative work.

esther m palmer

 

A week later September 10, 2009

More than a week sinceĀ Find Me in Here came and went, and I still have yet to watch the videos from our final shows. I don’t actually want to watch the videos, since I got to see the performances, but at some point I need to put bits + pieces up here to share a small view on how vastly different the various shows were.

We loved dancing at Green Space –relishing the smooth wooden floor to turn and glide on, the emotionally framing lights, the palpable silence that made room for the rhythms of the piece. Find Me in Here was meant to be seen in these intimate surroundings, meant to be casual and formal all at once. Taking it out to the parks was educationally disorienting –but also a thrill because for all that was missing in the “normal” of dance’s* context, I think viewers still found moments that drew them in with the same rapt focus, that saw the dance standing on its own two feet in the noise and bustle of public life. Wherever and however it’s meant to be seen as a production, the dance can convey wonders regardless of setting. Wonders, questions, moments of pause, confusion, delight, disgust –the same range of emotions, albeit easier to spend time with in the concert setting, are available anywhere. At least, so it seemed with Find Me in Here.

*I use the term “dance” here in a very limited capacity, not intending to encompass all its diverse forms and understandings, barely even referring to all of concert dance, mostly just meaning to discuss my own work.

 

Rainey Park performance August 24, 2009

We skirted the rain and danced in dizzyingly humid heat for the last time yesterday at Rainey Park. As with each of these park shows, I got to see the dance through a new lens, where the spatial proximity of the dancers and the remove of the several family picnics in the park resulted in an oddly shortened depth within a large field. The optics of the experience aren’t really the point, of course, but rather that I learn new things every week about this work –how it would best be staged to communicate what I’ve intended, how some views will obfuscate those intentions, and always how I anticipate the viewing experience to be altogether new again when performed inside at Green Space.

My work has for the past several years in one way or another been concerned with the perspective of the audience. Not only how to give them a particular view, but also how to tap into their entirely unpredictable responses and use those to fulfill the piece. Putting Find Me in Here outside in the parks to be viewed by seated audiences and passersby alike, I first notice the parts of the piece that fall short because the audience is not “captive.” I do not expect that those who are seated will remain so throughout and I expect even less that passers who stop will pause for long. In this way a traditional theatrical audience is different. Of course they are not actually captive in their seats, but the understanding is there that they have committed to seeing this performance. And particularly with contemporary and/or experimental and/or small-theatre work, there is more and more the knowledge that one’s role may include more than simply sitting docile and quiet. Which means there’s a level of commitment both in time and in participation that makes much of my work possible. I am counting on the audience being there so that we can examine the viewer/viewee relationship, so that I can play in the delicious zone of uncertainty that is how the audience sees the performers and vice versa.

 

Athens Square Performance. August 17, 2009

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A few moments from our performance yesterday in Athens Square Park. Enjoy!
 

dutch kills success August 10, 2009

On summer weekend afternoons, the Dutch Kills playground overruns with activity and volleyball nets can reach from one end of the expansive court to the other. Luckily for us, at 2pm there was still room for a little contemporary dance happening amidst all the family fun. I enjoyed thinking about the dance as a background for the games at play, while one of our viewers commented that the regular playground hustle + bustle helped to keep the dance more accessible –helping to fend off that sense of “right” and “wrong” way to see dance.

It was also a delight to see the piece in such a large and yet contained (the playground is fenced in) space. The dancers ate it up, beautifully withstanding the merciless concrete. Though the work is designed to make use of Green Space’s intimate venue, I saw a whole new kind of dance with the boundaries removed.

More adventures from Find Me in Here next week when we put dance in the busy Athens Square.

 

FMiH in the paper August 3, 2009

Filed under: news — Esther @ 1:52 am
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Check out the Queens Chronicle feature on Find Me in Here!

It’s a great article to introduce dance to the new audiences (which is one of the aims of this project). Since this blog is a project record, I’d also like to note that the final quote from me is either incorrect or out of context -or at any rate, I do not believe that dance is different from the other arts in that it does not have boundaries. In fact, I’m not even sure I know what it means for an art to have boundaries, but taking a stab at comprehending it, I’m going to say all art forms have boundaries and that dance is no exception.

 

Astoria Park performance. July 23, 2009

Filed under: performances — Esther @ 12:41 pm
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Here are a few brief excerpts from our first performance at Astoria Park.