Red and white artwork covers the back stage with seemingly unrelated words and phrases like “Red potatoes” and “It’s going away.” A chair, shelf, rug, and bookshelf set the scene, resembling the corner of someone’s bedroom. Colleen Trundy, standing at a microphone, recalls memories pertaining to the death of someone close to her, serving as the emotional voice of the piece. While she speaks a group of dancers reflect her memories through abstract movement. Moments of comedic relief help to ease the heavy topic. One of these was when the group brings a band set up to stage (drums, electric guitars, keyboard, etc.), and pretends to rock out while Trundy recalls a drunken night of Karaoke. Moments of individual choreography and light music give the piece levity and lend an emotional complexity to the process of going through life’s tragedies. This piece spoke to the idea that losing loved ones is hard, but possible to live through. It’s okay that I don’t see you now because I know I’ll see you when I die, choreographed by Allison Burke, was a part of The Bridge Project Summer 2018, performed at Velocity Dance Center.
Disto®cean, choreographed by Angel ‘Moonyeka’ Alviar-Langley, in collaboration with the cast, combined voice and dance to explore multiracial experience and identity. The use of singing and speaking in multiple languages, harnessing the cultural knowledge of each person’s upbringing and family history, was an effective way to see each person individually. Using a repeated movement phrase as each spoke or sang, they took turns telling their story. Group movement patterns, like slowly rolling across the floor together like ocean waves, connected each person to the rest of the cast. The group unity suggests that that although people come from many backgrounds we can find commonalities as humans.
57 Days, choreographed by Timothy M. Johnson was an emotional, autobiographical recreation of what it felt like to be the only survivor in a car accident. Bringing the audience into the hospital experience, a video of stumbling through lit hallways in hospital gowns plays in the background, while a news broadcaster announces the car accident. As the video ends, seven dancers clad in white emerge from the sides of the stage to begin. The intensity in their expressions and movement suggest that they represent the car accident itself. When there was a shift in movement to something that resembled floating, perhaps suggesting the way someone in a coma might feel. Through the representation of the survivors’ struggle, the audience gets to experience what it’s like to be simultaneously inside and outside of the tragic event. The empathy that the piece built made it easy for the audience to envision how their lives could be shattered by an unexpected chance occurrence.
This Bridge Project focused on individual experiences related to real-life scenarios. In each the audience was invited in to the experience, highlighting the commonalities of the our humanity through the sharing of personal story. -Cassianna Diaz
The Bridge Project 2018 was performed at Velocity Dance Center August 23-August 26, 2018. For more information visit http://velocitydancecenter.org/