Contact improvisation is a dance form in which the points where bodies touch provide a start for physical improvisation. Sometimes it’s the basis for set choreography, and sometimes, as in this case, the improvisation is the performance. This performance also included artists, musicians, singers, a photographer, and spoken word.
We get to the performance space by walking up narrow stairs through a hanging installation. Strings hold items with different textures – smooth, soft, scratchy. The room upstairs is bright and open. Chairs covered in different textured materials are in a circle. A tiny white box is in front of each chair. There is screen on the wall. There is newsprint on the other walls. The performers are neatly dressed in pale colours. The dancers are so focused that I found myself watching their movements intently. That quick smile – is she pleased with where he ended? That flick of the eyes – is that an instruction? The dancers explore different ways that people touch – lovingly, playfully, angrily etc. Live musicians provide the soundscape while artists paint on the newsprint. A photographer takes photos which are projected onto the screen. About halfway through the performance we are invited to open the tiny boxes. It gives us the opportunity to chat to our neighbours and have a closer look at the art.
There are some photos of the rehearsal on Kwai Lam Photography which are a good representation of what I saw the night I went. It isn’t for everyone but I found it strangely affecting. It still resonates days later.
- Touched, on at Crossways Community Centre, February 28 and March 7 2013