All costumes, choreography and concepts for the dances below are by Gina Graham.
GARMENTS THE LIVING WEAR (2009/2014)
Garments the Living Wear was originally intended to be performed for camera only, but the interdisciplinary-arts organization, Inception to Exhibition, asked me to perform it live in their first annual dance festival in March 2014. The title pays homage to controversial American novelist, James Purdy’s novel of the same name and it was concepted and documented around the time of his death in 2009. In this solo, it is my early attempt to bring textiles into my dance-making process and by using hundreds of nylons as the costuming I make an exploratory and unpredictable statement through the art of costume. It was a timely recreation having performed it five years later on Purdy’s 100th birthday.
DANCE FOR FACE (2013 - currently in development)
Dance for Face (DFF) is a new video and dance collaboration with experimental video artist, Jason Bernagozzi. Using live video as an instrument for deconstruction, DFF is an experiment in process, repetition, dialogue and form as it relates to choreography and movement.
VIDEOTAPE (2010 to 2013)
Videotape puts the performers in a mangled and chaotic scene where they move in the thick of massive amounts of VHS tape resulting in a continuum of precarious exchanges. The work pays homage to an obsolete technological format used for the reproduction of the recorded image but here, repurposed, displayed and exposed for its beauty as a texturally and sculpturally-rich object. The lightweight material drapes over the dancers’ bodies resembling sculptor, Eva Hesse’s “Untitled Rope Piece” (1970), presenting and unfolding a sculptural labyrinth while generating a natural sound score for this dance-in-the-making.
BODY BAGS (2010 to 2011)
In the work Body Bags, I was interested in exploring two main ideas: deconstructing the elements that can make viewing and dancing a dance desirable, and exploring anonymity in live performance. It became a testimonial expressing society’s desire to be showcased in social media platforms. An anonymous space was created inside the bag for the dancers to facilitate their movement without the exchange of physical appearance and technical ability. It required their instruments to be put in a strained and uncomfortable position; limiting their sight, spatial perceptions and body facings, while incorporating the faculty of touch as a static form of sight. By censoring their expression and individuality inside the bag, my goal was to draw the dancer and the viewer into the texture of what was happening, allowing the movement to become the primary focus. Similar to how sculptors Christo and Jeanne‐Claude completely covered objects in material, these bold-colored bags gave the human form a totally different identity and perception for the viewer. However macabre the title, it can suggest numerous scenarios and images that one may find unsettling, but continually reminds us that life and death coalesce.
NAME SERIES (2007): GEOFFREY GRAUER (featured above), JERRIE GULLICK, ROSE KLEIN
I feel that dances can possess a philanthropic and proprietary nature as other arts can. To articulate this message I auctioned off the titling rights to three improvisations after I performed them. The highest bidder got to name the piece after themselves, or someone they personally knew. The deal was, I would make the newly titled dance an actual piece of repertoire, then hand the arduous task down to another dancer to learn it verbatim off of the original video. The result: a great exercise in a playful game of Telephone all through movement with a personal sense of ownership for an audience member. The music is by The Flaming Lips and is used with permission from the band's management.
FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME, or CULT, or ONE MOVEMENT PER MINUTE (2007)
This is a dance about heightened individualism (ONE MOVEMENT PER MINUTE), sameness (CULT) and a human desire to be recognized (FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME). The emphasis was put on the choices of twenty-two female performers to spontaneously variate a learned movement in one-minutes intervals. This limitation was an important aspect in observing diversity and infinite meaning through gesture, and also suggests, movement can never be repeated the same way twice. The dancer's unsentimental mechanics of the movements unfold, which over the duration of the piece allow exhausted expressions of humanity to surface.
SWAN SONG FOR EVERYONE (2006)
Between the bloody costumes and the dancer remaining still and simply starring at the audience throughout the entire work, Swan Song For Everyone (SSFE) suggests a voyeuristic and apocalyptic event. Clean minimal movements appear to set the tone for the dance suggesting that it could be taking place in an otherworldly dimension. The crickets in the sound score were used to support how a modern dance audience can have a bewildered experience when forming meaning while viewing dance. The title Swan Song for Everyone is another way I comment on both individual and global survival.
THE MOMENT OF EVENT (2004)
The Moment of Event uses the female primal force as the central focus of this work. The movements are rhythmic, grounded and sensual. The dancers are reminiscent of a modern tribe of femme fatale warriors.
Commissure, #17 (2001)
Commissure, #17, is part of a series of six solos with arbitrary titles that use minimal costuming that highlights the dancers’ stealth form and warrior-like presence, while exploring the versatility, strength, vulnerability, and sensuality of the female. By executing the hardcore punchy movement enriched with modern affectations, the dancer creates a pseudo tribal-like enactment of a hunter and gatherer, or a ceremonial ritual. The sound score is a warped PBS series on the history of dance that offsets the dancer’s playful undertones.
TO ROAM THE EARTH (1999)
One of my earliest group works, To Roam the Earth is a dance-triptych inspired by my diabolical muse, Diamanda Galas. Her unrelenting and heart wrenching vocal scores establish a dark side to this dance. A line, a circle and a triangle take choreographic shape in each section of the work while heavy rhythmic phrasing join the group of eleven dancers into a ceremonial union, suggesting a journey into a collective dream, or an altered state of consciousness.