Last Friday at noon, an attractive couple of museum visitors dressed in gray suddenly took off their shoes and performed what turned out to be a pretty spectacular and moving guerrilla dance duet, to the surprise of the handful of people who happened to also be in the Atrium in the middle of a sunny workday.
We were tipped off the day before by a post at SFist. A few more pictures are here; if I can figure out how to get the video off of the camera, we’ll post a clip up tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s what Kara Davis, dancer and choreographer, had to say about the piece and why they wanted to do this in our Atrium:
Hi Suzanne! this week is National Dance Week and that particular duet just happens to be nominated this year for an Isadora Duncan Award – the ceremony of which is this Monday at the YBCA forum. Anyway, my partner Nol and I were participating in a festival called “Dance Anywhere” which is organized by a woman named Beth Fein. Dancers from all over the world dance in different public places at the exact same time…
…The title of the duet is called “Exit Wound”. There is an original score that was composed for it as well but my two musicians are opening a play at Berkeley Rep this week so my dance partner and I decided we wanted to do the piece in silence. I started out with the idea of “two-steps-forward-one-step-back”, this leads into a waltz where the couple’s limbs wind and unwind in different knots, weight is shared fairly equally throughout (meaning – the man isn’t always supporting the woman), the minute that we become dependent on one another to “hold the other up” there is a breaking point that leaves us facing two different directions, ultimately we continue on the initial path which we began. Our costumes are gray – the color between black and white – the “middle color” that, to me, represents the place where most of us are operating our lives – not knowing what’s next, not living in extreme love or hate, war or peace, truth or falsity, etc. My dance partner Nol and I have danced together for over 10 years and he played a huge creative role in the making of this duet. I’ve always wanted to dance in the [SF]MOMA and the fact that the floor is different shades of gray I think frames the dance really well. My experience of seeing the work curated at the [SF]MOMA, as well as just BEING in THAT building, always conjures up my most extreme emotional internal landscapes…I draw alot of my ideas from experiencing other art disciplines… Many of my creative ideas have come out of experiencing exhibits such as Kiki Smith, Yoko Ono, the Rothko paintings in the permanent collection, the “snapshot photo” exhibit, and the Chuck Close exhibit. Thanks for asking about the piece and I’m glad you enjoyed it! Let me know if you need anything else for your blog! Cheers – kara
Tammy Fortin said, “It’s obvious something’s about to happen when you see a barefoot dude reach up to the sky…”
[…] to an impromptu Dance Anywhere performance. Two years ago Kara Davis and Nol Simonse performed a duet. Last year there were three dancers. Today Kara was back, this time with her group Project […]
True, this is a bit lazy and watered-down use of the word, which you more appropriately describe, via Chris Marker, here and which term is often co-opted to describe lots of forms of unsanctioned act in public space. Is it forbidden to dance in the Atrium? Not that I know of. It’s unusual though, and it does take courage to walk into a fairly formal institutional lobby, take your shoes off and start dancing, and change the usual patterns of the space. I don’t know that ‘intervention’ is quite the word for it either. What would you call it?
Cute – but can someone explain how exactly this is “guerilla”? Is it forbidden to dance in the MOMA lobby? Did MOMA security get involved? If I do anything other than pay my $ and be a good art consumer, can I call it an intervention?
“I have listened to the stories of former guerrilla fighters, who had fought in conditions so inhuman that they pitied the Portuguese soldiers for having to bear what they themselves suffered. That I heard. And many more things that make one ashamed for having used lightly—even if inadvertently—the word guerrilla to describe a certain breed of film-making”
-Chris Marker, Sans Soleil