As the first female Brazzy Award recipient, Pittsburgh dancer and choreographer, Gia Cacalano, is officially on a roll. She came to Pittsburgh ten years ago with no job, family or friends, and she accomplished a lot right away. But now, people are aware of her. People in the dance community know her name, her specialty (improvisation) and her work.
Just this past March, Cacalano presented “The Frequency of Structure and Flow,” a multimedia show at the Wood Street Galleries where she and her dancers collaborated with visual artist, Miguel Chevalier, and several live musicians. The piece was so well received that this weekend, barely six months later, she is presenting part two of the work.
Although the second installment will play off of the first, the piece will feel different. Minimalistic, maybe. For example, part one took place against the backdrop of a colorful installation that moved in waves, projected on the back wall. In addition, the dancers wore bright costumes.
This time, the gallery will not be hosting a visual artist, and the dancers will have a blank slate to work with. “The color was off the charts last time,” Cacalano says. “We decided to turn everything inside out.” The space will be lit in only black and white. Dancers will be costumed in gray.
Wendell Cooper, a dancer and a colleague of Cacalano’s for many years, will be creating film projection for the piece. Cacalano says, “Wendell will be playing with time, whether it be the music or the movement. He will also manipulate images to appear smaller or larger. And he will use live feed as well.”
The music will also be simplified. Part one featured multiple live musicians, some of which interacted with the dancers. This time, Michael McDermott will compose the sound and play it live as a soloist. Cacalano says the effect will be a bit more lyrical.
Finally, in an effort to break up the long rectangular space that often makes viewing difficult for the audience, Cacalano will use three walls to shorten the length of the room. Because the walls were already in the gallery this summer, and Cacalano worked around them for a project in July, she thought they would be a perfect way to let the space dictate the piece.
The cast of dancers will mostly stay the same. Local artist, Jil Stifel, will perform. As will Wendell Cooper from Brooklyn, and Cacalano’s brother, Vincent Cacialano, who splits his time between the UK and Amsterdam. Joining the group as a newcomer will be Joanna Reed, a native of Utah and graduate of the Ohio State dance department who now lives and works in Pittsburgh.
Reed was selected through a master workshop last year where she caught the eye of Cacalano and her brother right away. “She’s a good worker and student and an excellent performer,” Cacalano says.
As a whole, the group is drawn to the space becoming an environment, and allowing the audience to be immersed in that environment.
The best part about her work is that we do feel connected to the dancers, but not without the performative quality that is sometimes lost in improvisation. This is why Cacalano’s work continues to impress, and why she was finally acknowledged for her hard work with the prestigious Brazzy Award.
What - “The Frequency of Structure and Flow Part 2”
When - September 6th and 7th at 8:00 p.m.
Where - Wood Street Galleries, Downtown
Cost - $15 for students and artists, $20 general seating, RSVP for tickets to email@example.com