The Dance Enthusiast Asks Alexandra Beller about "other stories"
Keeping What is Magical in the Movement
Alexandra Beller on her new work other stories set to premiere July 23rd, at Boston's Institute for Contemporary Art
Videos by Christine Jowers 2011 for The Dance Enthusiast
The Rehearsal Day And Its' Many Faces
Christine: Is this an expansion of a work you did before?
Alexandra: It is a continuation of a work I began over a year and a half ago, but that was definitely a rough draft, so I wouldn't really call it an expansion as much as finally getting the piece together...
C: When are you premiering?
A: July 23 at Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston through a Co Lab Commission between ICA and Summer Stages in Concord, MA
C: What are some of the ideas and themes you are playing with?
A: Using text as a vehicle and then stripping it away bit by bit. Seeing if we can retain the full narrative capabilities of the scene. Trying not to rely on text as the main narrative agent. Challenging movement to be equally communicative without becoming a mime. Looking at angles of stories and seeing where they diverge from one another.
Text and Sign Language
C: What questions are you asking yourself as you work on this piece?
A: How do our stories look as objects, as directions, as movement?Can you see the difference between two angles of a story through pure movement?Can we let go of our idea that there is a reality, and recognize that there are only, in the end, infinite stories? What does the friction between two stories actually look like in a physical event?
C: What has been interesting to you about the process?
A: I made up a structure called “the box” which is the frame of the whole piece. Someone improvises based on a story or series of stories. The surrounding dancers catch and set small pieces of this improv and teach it back to each other throughout the piece, finally at the end they perform it together. We made most of the phrase work in the piece this way with each dancer taking turns as the storyteller.
The structure of "the box" was a completely new thing for me. It allowed me to figure out a way to incorporate what I love most about improvisation with what I love most about structure and set material. It really seemed to be a nifty way to retain material from improv that does not drain the magical substances from it. It also seems to be a very subtle experiment with storytelling, which can be something that gets a little heavy handed sometimes.
A Minute of Hypnotic Hovering
C: And challenging?
A: In the process of the box we have, by the nature of it, been forced to give up copious amounts of beautiful amazing movement vocabulary. It has been a great act of Zen for me to say, “we made this just for today.”
C: anything important you want me to say about your work that we didn’t touch on?
A: hmmm... It is completely unique and wonderful and needs a NY home next year?