As part of Cornish Dance Theater’s fall season, the college enlisted local performance group Salt Horse to create a site-specific work for a group of student dancers. The resulting Your Eyes Have Facets—itself a multi-faceted work—roved around the Seattle Center, scattering dynamic impressions of shape and form against a static landscape. Salt Horse, comprised of choreographers/dancers Corrie Befort and Beth Graczyk and musician Angelina Baldoz, is known for their surrealist, out-of-the-box creations. While this performance was largely grounded by the structures dancers moved amongst, Baldoz’s music with echoing vocals and a siren-like trumpet lent Eyes an otherworldly resonance. CDT performed Your Eyes Have Facets on Sunday, November 3, and will repeat the performance tomorrow, Saturday, November 9 at 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM, regardless of weather.
Though surrounded daily by architecture, most do not stop to notice, let alone interact with this structured environment. Eyes forced viewers to momentarily contemplate the spaces it inhabited, to truly see the shape of each structure. This meditative air was enhanced by the beautiful weather: Baldoz’s trumpet calls sliced through the crisp air, and the clear skies enabled expansive thoughts (as well as provided great dancing weather). The work ranged from the SkatePark, to the Fisher Pavilion, to a walkway underneath the pavilion, and finally to the International Fountain, with each setting artfully reflected in the movement. Spoking, radial trajectories in the bowl of the fountain, a linear procession in the columnar walkway, and militant flocking patterns on the grid-like cement of the Fisher Pavilion all utilized and illuminated each structure’s form. In the International Fountain particularly, the vastness of the structure when viewed from above seemed to amplify rather than dwarf the dancers’ movements. And though the setting changed throughout, there remained a central theme of creation and decay, a sense of ebb and flow, gathering and retreat. Precise formations appeared seamlessly out of chaotic movement and dissipated just as easily.
The costumes went through a similar process of decay. Dancers began in drab, grey, full-bodied jumpsuits which were stripped away to similar suits of orange, navy, and olive. The colors provided loose groupings for patterns but ultimately created prison-like conformity. At one point, dancers folded themselves over a railing as if trying to camouflage themselves against the metal, yet later, individual phrases seemed to thrash against the unity of the group. The dancers eventually tied the arms of the jumpsuits around their waists, revealing small, brightly colored breastplates strapped to their t-shirts. Of various hues and textures, the plates linked the dancers to the surfaces they danced upon, giving them an individual static surface from which to project.
While the performers were all undergraduate students, they exhibited a great degree of professionalism. These students are fortunate that Cornish provides this opportunity to perform outside a proscenium setting, not to mention the ability to work with intriguing professional choreographers, an experience reflective of the contemporary dance climate today.
Your Eyes Have Facets will be performed tomorrow, November 9, 2013, at 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM. Performances are free and open to public, and will go on rain or shine. Be sure to dress accordingly.