What is Home
an Obscure Kingdom an Opera Buffa It’s You Always You
Created by Christin Call and produced by Coriolis Dance
July 28, 2018
Northwest Film Forum Theatre
This was a large-scale project of an order of magnitude that included pre-performance “Prologue” installations incorporating dancers in the street windows, film, displayed articles on the history of the building/neighborhood, and drawing self-portraits.
The performance’s premise was, ultimately, about homelessness (a huge number of folk are unsheltered in Seattle), and the Director/Choreographer pulled from a wide variety and disparate sources to both depict and explore this societal problem (but not did address exactly how to solve it, except through instances of compassion, tender care and thoughtfulness). The dance ended with an echo or a nod to the famous and poignant conclusion to Balanchine’s Serenade with a single dancer being lifted up and carried from downstage left to upstage right on the diagonal. I would have liked the homeless issue to have been addressed earlier in the production, rather than coming about halfway through (to my sense), as it was hard to see where the arc of the work was headed at its beginning.
The musical sources used included grand opera — Casta Diva from Norma and La Donna e Mobile (oh, Luciano Pavarotti, you send us every time!), Square Dance music, and jazz, for instance. My only recommendation for editing would have been to have had the dancers be silent during this music — there was too much overlayering and it was unnecessary. (I also found it disrespectful and it got on my nerves.)
The piece began with two very good actors — Lauren Hlubny and Daniel Christensen declaiming bits from various Shakespeare plays, primarily A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The cast of five dancers were assigned characters or personalities. Call smartly uses themes or motifs, and these threads were developed and repeated throughout the hour-long show. Some were sped up, slowed down or “transferred” to other dancers. I liked what I call the “Balanchine” ending — strong unison / tutti that built to the dancer being carried as earlier described.
And the dancers — Ana Puzycki; Elby Brosch; Stacy Brenner; Melissa Sanderson; and Madeleine Gregor — certainly got a good workout, oh my, during tis vigorous and athletic work.
I’ve long admired Call’s work and her excellent and high-art contribution to the contemporary Seattle dance scene. It elevates our collective work and consciousness and brings together our larger community. The performance I attended was packed with ardent fans and supporters, myself among them.