Saturday, January 16, 2016

"VIEO from the soil"

Dance Up Close/East Bay and Arts & Above present
VIEO from the soil
January 15th, 2016
Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, Berkeley

Multi-discipline performance art; narrative framework; physical theater; contemporary release technique. Every one of these phrases embodies VIEO from the soil, the newest evening-length work from Kate Jordan and Bruno Augusto who together make up Arts & Above. Presented as part of the phenomenal Dance Up Close/East Bay series, VIEO from the soil follows the striking journey of two (Jordan and Augusto) as they search for connection. And it is a layered journey at that – one of organization and awareness; of learning and change; of specificity in the moment and evolution into the future. They encounter joy, comfort and satisfaction, though Jordan and Augusto are also not afraid to show the darker side that accompanies such an expedition – the anger, the frustration and the fear.

Upon entering the space, the viewer is greeted with a brief prelude, an avant-garde performance installation that would organically flow into the piece itself. This introduction served an important purpose – it framed Jordan and Augusto as two individual beings. It created context, the place where VIEO from the soil would begin. Over the next fifty minutes, their story would certainly change, evolve and become something different through a collage of ideas, images and sounds. But in this opening, we knew that the narrative was to start with two separate souls.

Pictured: Bruno Augusto and Kate Jordan
Photo: Lindsey Lucifer
Jordan, clad in a tin foil shell and seated on a stool, slowly rotated in a circle meticulously morphing from one attitude to another, while Augusto offered an assortment of percussive phrases. As her outer ‘skin’ began peeling away, a new motif emerged and Jordan began dancing with a braided rope as her partner. (these braided ropes would play a significant role in this dance as it continued forward). Again, at this early point, the two were together in the space, occupying and inhabiting the same real estate, yet at the same time, they were very much on their own – unconnected and purposely disengaged.

Having said that, there was a deep corporeal awareness at play. They danced and moved at close proximity. Certain gestural motifs and choreographic nuances were appropriated from one to the other Рthe pointing, the flexed extended leg with a deep pli̬, the diving rolls. So while remaining at a distance, both were clearly curious about and learning from the other.

Around halfway through VIEO from the soil, the two entered into a shared experience as they began their pas de deux, which would continue to the end of the work. At first, tender moments of mutual discovery filled the stage, and the connection grew and crescendoed from there. The braided ropes recurred, though this time, Jordan and Augusto tended to the item together, suggesting new themes of joining, of entwined-ness. Appropriately, VIEO from the soil concluded without a particular cadence. Their new journey together was still in its infancy…

No comments: