Monday, April 18, 2016

Bayou's State: dancing into oblivion

Andrea Burkholder wants you to know she's a cajun. She cooks a cajun dinner for the audience cum guests who arrive to participate in her creation, called Bayou's State. A spirit of collegiality and community ensues. After dinner everyone decamps to the theater to witness Burkholder as she performs a dance that is equal parts personal history, contemporary abstract movement, and theatrical treatment of a dramatic and tragic slow-motion environmental disaster. The environmental story relates the destruction of coastal wetlands in the Mississippi delta.

Afterwards, the people in the theater, who have taken on several collective identities during the evening, including dinner guests, audience, and witness, have become compatriots. They are invited back into the dining room for dessert, drinks and deconstruction of the evening's experiences.

I was privileged to collaborate with Andrea. My photographs of the KK River graced the dining area as well as the stage, and her set decoration was inspired by my series of fence images from the Little Menomonee River Superfund clean up site. I am kicking myself mightily for neglecting to take installation shots of the display, but here are a few that represent the performance (shot beforehand.)

Bayou's State took place at Danceworks over the weekend. I look forward to seeing what Burkholder has in store for future performance events!

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