Body and Nature: Dance Performance Awakens Kokosing
Published: Thursday, September 22, 2011
Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 00:11
Bolton. Black Box. Brandi. Now Kenyon can add the Kokosing River to its growing list of performance-ready spaces.
On the first day of class, Associate Professor of Dance Balinda Craig-Quijada informed the students in DANC 228: The Choreographer II of their unusual first project: to choreograph a dance in the Kokosing River. This occurrence is not uncommon according to Craig-Quijada. "Every semester that we teach the class, we have a site-specific assignment," Craig-Quijada said. "These sites have ranged from the upside-down tree to the science quad and every place on campus inside and outside."
The assignment is part of a dance history lesson regarding on-site performance, which dates back to the 1960s. Site dance began as a rebellion against the strict belief that art and performance belong in a gallery or theater. Site performance made dance and art more accessible to the public, according to Craig-Quijada's goal for the assignment.
Her inspiration for choosing the Kokosing as the site for the project came out of desire to broaden the reach of dance at Kenyon. "I wanted to tie it in with rural life, the Brown Family Environmental Center and their programming, to attract other audiences from the park," Craig-Quijada said. "We are hoping to involve a different kind of community. People who happen by, people who are interested in the BFEC programming, walkers on the Gap Trail."
Craig-Quijada hopes that her students will learn that dance does not have to take place on a stage: Performance can occur anywhere.
The performance, "Awakening the Familiar," intends to "inspire curiosity, reawaken experience" and remind people of the beauty found in nature and all over Kenyon.
"Awakening the Familiar" will feature seven vignettes choreographed by seven different choreographers, six of whom are students. The main site is the bridge, but some of the dances take place in the water or on the island, and some are even on the Kokosing Gap Trail. Though each dance has a different story and setting, they are all connected through a shared space and created in response to the site.
Robby Letzler '12 and Elisa Pelgrift '12 chose to choreograph their duet on a log in the river. Letzler said they chose the site "because it is beautiful. It was just having everyday basic things be inspiring."
"These are places that people pass everyday and sometimes we become immune to its beauty. And so when you see something happening that is out of the ordinary, we are hoping that that will recapture the site. We have a familiar site that we are hoping to reframe in a new way," Craig-Quijada said.
"Awakening the Familiar" goes up on Friday, Sept. 30 at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 1 at 2:00 p.m. Meet at the BFEC at 6:15 p.m. on Friday or 1:45 p.m. on Saturday and everyone will walk over to the bridge together.