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Day in the Life of Kimberly Bartosik/daela

Day in the Life of Kimberly Bartosik/daela
Trina Mannino/Follow @Trinamannino on Twitter

By Trina Mannino/Follow @Trinamannino on Twitter
View Profile | More From This Author

Published on February 17, 2014
Photo: Ian Douglas

New York Live Arts Presents "You are my heat and glare"

February 26, 27, 28, March 1 at 7:30pm

Performed by: Kimberly Bartosik, Roderick Murray, Joanna Kotze, Marc Mann and singers Gelsey Bell and Dave Ruder.

Click on New York Live Arts website for ticket information.

A solitary flashlight flicks on and a woman’s head ,coiffed in a blond platinum wig, illuminates. The yellow glow tracks her body, first a hand then a foot. The relationship is clinical. The light swiftly snaps off before we see her whole body.

The elusive figure is choreographer and dancer Kimberly Bartosik and the body behind the light is her longtime collaborator and husband, lighting designer Roderick Murray. As New York City was being relieved of its first Polar Vortex, the couple rehearsed diligently at New York Live Arts for their upcoming US premiere of You are my heat and glare. The work consists of three duets, including Bartosik’s and Murray’s light and dance section.

“In a few of my previous pieces, I played with the idea that designers, mostly visual and sound, could be active players in my work and could be present onstage without dancing,” Bartosik says, explaining the birth of You are my heat and glare. “I thought, 'what if I took that to another level? What if we broke down the wall where there is no division between forms?' ”

Roderick Murray in You are my heat and glare. Photo: Ian Douglas.
Roderick Murray in You are my heat and glare. Photo: Ian Douglas.

Bartosik and Murray’s exchange is not a dance with a lighting component: it is a movement and light piece — both mediums have equal weight.

“I have never done a work so fundamentally collaborative where there is no leader,” Bartosik says. “Since we have a personal life outside of the studio, we had to develop a way of talking to one another that was professional and respectful of our crafts.”

They work symbiotically. Murray guides Bartosik through space with his one-of-a-kind contraptions as she squirms out of a tangle of cords and boldly runs through the pitch black space. It’s a murky game of cat and mouse.

While exploring with Murray early on in their process, Bartosik read Anne Carson’s poetic essay “The Anthropology of Water” from the book Plainwater: Essays and Poetry. The choreographer recognized similarities between Carson’s essay and their own creation. Containing three voyages, the essay follows a male and female character through vivid landscapes; much like the three male and female vignettes that make up You are my heat and glare.

Roderick Murray and Kimberly Bartosik in You are my heat and glare. Photo: Ian Douglas.
Roderick Murray and Kimberly Bartosik in You are my heat and glare. Photo: Ian Douglas.

The idea of shaping a specific landscape is a concept Bartosik has been interested in for a long time. After working with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company for nine years, the artist wished to investigate elements beyond pure movement.

“I became interested in how we could see the audience’s relationship to the work, and thought a lot about visual space and architecture,” Bartosik says. “If I really understood those other elements and let them play a significant role, the movement would have more power.”

This is not to say Bartosik doesn’t treasure her experiences with Cunningham or is not intrigued by straightfoward dance. “I have spent my career honoring everything Merce put in my body and then rejecting it. It’s a constant play and I’m always conscience of it. There is a spirit of inquiry Merce had..."

Cunningham’s inquisitive influence is apparent in You are my heat and glare as Bartosik and her collaborators keep some things in the dark while shedding light on others.

Follow Trina Mannino on Twitter @trinamannino

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