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Soft arms ripple into the camera view as we peer into a cozy kitchen. This closeness of limbs welcomes a virtual audience, allowing us to settle into the new environment with snug proximity to movement. Dancer and choreographer Hannah Cavallaro initiates supple arm waves from her torso, responding to guitarist Den Corrado, who is seated in the back of the kitchen. It feels as though we have entered a private space, but Cavallaro is glad to receive us at the farthest end of her articulate billows.

Hannah Cavallaro. Photo by Skyler Brown.

Produced by Kymberlee della Luce, The Golden Thread is an online interdisciplinary arts experience, with the goal of allowing Seattle-based artists from multiple genres to create work and be compensated through ticket sales. The financial impact of COVID-19 on local artists drove della Luce to create this platform in April. After a successful first run, The Golden Thread returned for a second edition featuring a mix of new and returning artists. This performance included host Sebastian Varriano, music and poetry from Grae Violett, staged readings of original plays from playwright Alina Rios read by Alexandra Varriano and Caleb Ryden,and live painting from David Johannson in addition to Cavallaro’s dance work.

Back in the kitchen, Cavallaro builds momentum as she retreats further from the camera, allowing her full body to be seen. Her steps continue to initiate from the core, spiraling out in an aftermath that quietly explodes from inside the body to the air around her. These moments are surely satisfying to watch. She engages in a pattern beginning with minimal, internal torso movements that then launch externally to broaden beyond the immediate space. As I sit with my laptop adjacent to my own kitchen, I find myself wondering what this performance would look like here. Would Cavallaro’s arms reach my refrigerator, creating new spirals among my appliances? Would my own kitchen become cozier to me, inhabited by these supple intricacies? Watching artists create new space in their own homes ignites curiosity in what performances are possible in my home, and the homes of others.

Cavallaro’s spirals escalate to include the legs, and in one moment she holds her foot with her hand before releasing it into extension. In moments like these Cavallaro creates a sense of unity with her own body, coupled with the desire to expand her own energy beyond her physical capacity. To intensify this sensation, Cavallaro calls on her kitchen for help, utilizing walls and furniture as an extension of the self. Leaning her head against the wall, she finds brief rest before initiating movement from her forehead, rolling with ease. The dance moves closer and further away from the camera, rocking our perspective back and forth.

Artist talk back from The Golden Thread 2 courtesy of Kymberlee della Luce.

At one point Cavallaro’s extended hands reach back onto her face and she receives them gracefully, cycling the energy back to the body. There is distinct give and take from her environment- just as she expands into the kitchen around her, she also soothes herself by the recycling of kinesthetic pulses back to the point of bodily origin. Cavallaro keeps viewers captivated with this apt balance of energy. The work is both comforting and enticing, engaging the viewer within the intimacy of a familiar, homey room. She is clear in her movement intentions, dancing with thoughtful regard for the emphasis and pathways of each step. Cavallaro has also cleverly adapted the role of the camera in this live work to create an inviting audience perspective, which is increasingly important as the future of live performance seems to be heavily dependent on new virtual considerations. 

The Golden Thread is an excellent platform for artists like Cavallaro to translate stimulating choreographic work to an online space. I am excited to know that the third edition of The Golden Thread is already scheduled for June 13, and I commend della Luca, Cavallaro, and all the other artists involved in the second edition for their determination to keep performing and creating in new ways.