LiquidBody dance uses an improvisational structure for choreography that mines the particularly rich and exciting jewels of possibility presented by a fluid systems approach to the body. The water we are mostly made of is an amazingly resonant medium that is highly responsive and mutable. The use of sound and breath is a powerful way to shape movement, leading to a wealth of new movement vocabulary that has a deep kinesthetic impact as well as being visually stimulating in its organic complexity and coherency. This also leads to interactive possibilities for resonant connection with the audience in ways that exponentially raise the bar on the movement potential in performance. The energy and flow of the audience is a palpable element in the mix that supports live performance, and this can be enhanced or focused with a sound or simple gesture. No two evenings are exactly the same (though the structure is apparent through repeated viewings) and there is an immediacy that is irreplaceable. Live world music played by acoustic instruments rich in overtones, including the Indian sitar and the Aboriginal didgeridoo, deepens the contours of the performance. Video projection adds a magical and organic visual layer to some of the pieces. Aerial dance segments enhance the physical dynamism in select pieces as well.
The following dance works are in the 2014 repertory:
Circular Synchrony is the second study in Caryn Heilman’s LiquidBody Dance work-in-progress The Speed of Passion, an audience-interactive multimedia dance with live music. The audience will be treated to luminous visuals echoing the fluid forms we can travel through our own bodies and our planet amidst the accumulating speed and detritus of modern life as Caryn Heilman of LiquidBody Dance moves inside these projections to a global vocal and instrumental tapestry woven together by Greek-American composer, sitarist, guitarist and vocalist Nana Simopoulos that includes vocalists Aggeliki Toumpanaki and Kanelli Scalcoyannis from Greece, Tamuz Nissim from Israel, Greek percussion master Solis Barki, and Greek guitarist Giorgos Nazos. The audience is invited into a circle of sound that heightens the flow of the evening.
Alchemy is a solo multimedia dance that takes place inside powerful projected video images of the four alchemical elements – earth, air, fire and water. The dancer and the dance are revealed by the movement which transforms with each elemental shift. This shift is enhanced with the help of the audience toning on sounds that correspond to each element. Live music includes sitar, didgeridoo, bouzouki, voice, percussion, chimes, water drum, rainstick and water.
Beacon is a multimedia dance work that projects a live duet on the back wall behind the dancers. Particularly evocative, gestural moments are captured in freeze frame by a video artist and slowly dissolved back to the live gestural dialogue onstage. These moments become beacons of sculpted light allowing the viewer to experience the dance both as the exquisite flow of dialogue between the dancers in real time, and also as resonant sculpture beyond time. The audience voices periodic O sounds that fall like pebbles rippling a pond to further dimensionalize the experience of the radiance of the captured moment within a continuum. Live music includes cello, sitar, voice and tanpura.
Primal Resonance is an audience-interactive live dance work that includes aerial dance segments and multimedia projections. The performance takes on a ritual format to create a participatory environment in which to experience dance as a communal event. Structured around the primal ritual of a call and response, the audience is invited to participate in creating a resonant field through sound which catalyzes in the dancers deeply kinesthetic movement that the audience is encouraged not only to take in visually, but to actually feel in their bodies. Then during select moments in the piece, the dancers pause and the audience is guided to explore their movement response first while still seated with their arms, then legs, and by the end of the piece with their whole bodies while standing in front of their chairs. LiquidBody movers, monochords (ancient Greek instruments), and singing bowls surround the audience and amplify and add coherency to the resonant field. Live music features percussion, sitar, didgeridoo, crystal bowls, singing bowls and voice.
Meeting in the Shimmer was created in response to the events of 9/11. It points to a place where it is possible to meet in a fundamentally creative and regenerative way deepening the possibility of birthing new structures that will sustain life. Working with the image of the egg (set designed by visual artist Paul Wirhun) and the activation of the embryogenetic field through extremely slow, qualitative, C-curve spinal movement, LiquidBody initiates a dialogue with the audience. A simple hand and spine movement sequence coupled with a mantra of sounded names brings everyone into vibrational relationship. The voiced names are recorded at each performance and added to the score as the piece continues to grow in its relationial scope. Meeting in the Shimmer is a multimedia stage work with a video backdrop projected on a fabric sculpture designed by Gisela Stromeyer that visualizes some of the nonlinear spaces referenced by the piece – the shimmer that appears before an embryo forms, the essence of regenerative energy, totipetant space, and the cycles of dissolving and forming organic structure. World Music of Nana adds percussion, sitar, didgeridoo, waterphone and voice. It is structured to grow and in addition to the accumulating recorded audience name tones it has grown from a solo, to a duet, and is now a quartet.
Haven was commissioned by the Puffin Foundation to commemorate the opening of the environmental art park Teaneck Creek, and featured footage of five LiquidBody dancers interacting with the natural environment and the cultural artifacts discovered there for Part I – Field. This footage was sculpted live by LiquidBody’s video artist. Part II – Pool featured a trio of dancers in a fabric sculpted pool of water on which footage of a pond was projected creating a 3-D moving sculpture that the audience journeyed into another room to view. Part III – Trees began with three dancers moving within a video panorama of LiquidBody dancers dancing amidst trees in the park which culminated in an audience interactive sequence in which one at a time audience members were guided to enter the space and link into the arboreal sculpture the dancers had created. Each section had audience interactive toning led by Nana Simopoulos whose ensemble played live sitar, bouzouki, gongs and other world and electronic percussion. This piece can be done with the footage gathered in Teaneck Creek, but would ideally be created anew within other natural environments.
After Dark is a duet that begins with a couple in a very recognizable social dance stance. As the music begins, they melt out of the predetermined relational structure into movement shaped by what is happening in the moment. Each point of contact becomes a well that receives the vibration of the music, the resonance of the audience, and the communication between them. The music from which the dance takes its title, composed by Nana Simopoulos, is a duet between sitar and cello, and is played live.
Invocation is a solo dance work centered around the resonance of a Chinese gong and the interaction of resonance between the audience as they respond with a toned O sound to the striking of the gong. This dance can be performed with the actual gong onstage, or can be done with a virtual gong projected in video triggered by a video artist in response to audience interaction. This is a work that is very adaptable to changing stage conditions, and has worked equally well on big stages as well as in intimate bookstore settings.
Dancing with Lines is an audience interactive multimedia stage work premiered at the University of California at Irvine in 2007. A live visual artist draws live in dialogue with the dancers as they move. The “lines” are projected on the dancer’s bodies and the screen behind them blurring the lines between the 2D world of visual art and the 3D world of dance.