If you've not seen Zephyr Dance perform in the past, this is the ideal opportunity to introduce yourself to what they're all about. Zephyr premieres Out and Back in Again: an immersive environment of movment, sound and image, October 4-6 and 11-13, 2013 at 7:30 pm at Defibrillator Gallery (1136 N. Milwaukee).
Not your typical dance performance, Out and Back in Again is a two hour durational performance, providing the audience a chance to show up at any time they like, look at what they like, and leave, you guessed it...when they like. While intriguing for the entire two hours, even from a fixed position, the greatest part of the experience is the ability to move about the space, mingle with other viewers, and to take initiative in the experience you will have. Zephyr provides the art and the "program of events" while you choose-your-own-adventure, so to speak. You can choose which "exhibits" to look at and how long you wish to stay with them. Whether early in the piece when Kranicke, Artistic Director of Zephyr can be seen utilizing the front window space, putting on stage makeup (eyelashes with rhinestones included!), or further into the work when the dancers take a beautifully, painfully long amount of time to scooch themselves across the floor, what keeps you on the edge of your seat with this experience is the absolute focus and presence of the dancers. The viewers are able to oscilate in and out of their own thoughts, gaze at the objects within the room, observe other viewers, all while the dancers remain fixed in their performance, truly becoming a moving exhibit within the gallery.
Kranicke and her collaborators have completely changed the space (if you're familiar with the Defibrillator Gallery, then you're in for a treat as they have changed almost everything, except for the signature white floors and silver walls. Expect the unexpected as the ceiling, the performers, and even the colors of the space might not be what and where you anticipated them to be. So as not to leave even a rock unturned, Kranicke incorporates video collaboration by Rosa Gaia Saunders, which pulls focus for a time away from the dancers in an attempt for the video and the dancing to share the same amount of importance within the work.
Flooded with imagery that could be interpreted in any imaginable way, the viewer can experience on his own, interpret what he likes, and revisit the work each and every night if he so wishes, to be greeted by a completely different expereince each time.
Out and Back In pushes important boundaries within dance and performance art. It is not often that a dance audience is given so much choice. Kranicke explains that when you look at a piece of visual art, or you listen to a piece of music, you are not explicitly told what to look at, what to think, or what it is supposed to mean. Her inspiration for this line of work is to keep her dance work abstract, not directing the viewer to look at anything in particular, and not to interpret in a specific way. Kraincke releases the audience from the burden of being a captive audience, allowing them to enjoy this piece of art, the same way they would a visual piece of art hanging in a gallery.
As she prepares to show me a studio rehearsal of the work, she arranges her costume (a huge plastic-looking contraption that she wears for approximately ten minutes), she says this: "Like John Cage says, 'there is no such thing as silence', I think there is no such thing as stillness."
Movement Direction: Michelle Kranicke
Dancers: Andrea Cerniglia, Michelle Kranicke, Colleen Welch
Live Music: Tom Jasek
Architectural Installation: David Sundry, O Group, Inc.
Costume and Textiles: Amanda Lee Franck
Video Installation: Rosa Gaia Saunders
Lighting Design: Richard Norwood
No tickets necessary. There is a $10 requested donation at the door. Shows begin at 7:30 pm each evening, but audience is invited to come and go at any time within the two hour performance.