Curry College Dance Performance Series: 'Invisible Stories'

November 13, 2013

12:30 p.m.

Alumni Recreation Center (ARC)

 

The Curry College Department of Fine and Applied Arts is excited to present the Curry Dance Studio Performance Series for the fall 2013 semester. These events are a series of informal performances by professional dance artists from the Greater Boston and New England region, providing a free, on campus opportunity for students to see live dance and interact with professional artists. The Dance Studio Performance Series is free and open to all.

For our next guest performance we are proud to welcome dancers Kate Tarlow Morgan & Sarah Slifer Swift, with visual artist Susan Erony, performing 'Invisible Stories.'

Background:

Gloucester Harbor is one of the most important fishing ports in the United States and an important harbor of refuge. The entrance is marked on its eastern side by Eastern Point Light. There is an outer and inner harbor, the former having depths generally of 18 to 52 feet and the latter, depths of 15 to 24 feet. Gloucester Inner Harbor limits begin at a line between Black Rock Danger Daybeacon and Fort Point. The Fort, as it is called, is a small loop of streets at the center of the city, which has, for several centuries, been occupied by generations of fishing families. The landscape of Gloucester is unique because it is diverse with areas of wooded lands abutting magnificent spans of beach and  rock. Glacial erratics abound upon Massachusetts' North Shore which commands itself geologically like an Island and is a paleozoic break-piece of an ancient micro-continent called Avalonia, whose crustal fragments underlie south-west Great Britain, and this North-East coast of North America.

The poet/scholar Charles Olson arrived to Gloucester in 1956, after being Director of Office of War Information, during WWII and Rector of Black Mountain College where artistic luminaries such as Franz Kline, Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Robert Creeley, I.M. Richards and others, presided. He rented a flat in The Fort and proceeded to fall in love with Gloucester, choosing to express his attention to the place, by writing a seminal work entitled Maximus to Gloucester, whose 630 pages are recorded here by visual artist, Susan Erony, on a 96 ft. long silk scroll - our set.

"It was a long process," Erony says, "taking three years of copying. What I got a sense of was the enormity of the poet's ideas, the enormity of his words, and what that all meant. [The Silk Project] was a way to pay homage to this magnum opus and to the physical act of writing and to the place of the book."

Invisible Stories is based on the idea that the book, open or closed, has a place in the landscapes in which we live, both inner and outer. The book is a place. A place of matter and of manifestation. The book holds us as a home that surrounds us. The book is a house. And too, the book is our transit, and therefore, limitless.

In 2005, there was a terrible flood in Alstead, NH - lives, property and landform were lost. With the great efforts of community members, local and state support, and Time, this land that surrounds this place (Mole) has been renewed and bolstered (another word). In 2006, in the first week of November, this same week that we are in now, Walking in the Water was performed. It emerged through personal experience and became a communal, artistic response to this natural disaster. It is my feeling, that people (performers and audience alike) were literally moved through both history and grief - to a new place. Peter Hendrick, wrote this, then:

"When we attempt to bring an event to life on the stage, it is easy to slip into being didactic and preachy, plot lines nearly require it...As an alternative, we might step back and remember things in an elemental fashion...When we mine the depths of soul or the earth we create empty holes, and as, the stuff in the holes becomes metal and steel, the act of mining itself is dirty, noisy, fraught with machinery that often changes people and the earth forever...Water then enters our life to cleanse and while we like to think of water as healing and beautiful, it can also be terrible and destructive...Then, when we experience the archetypal story of a flood, emotional or otherwise, we find an ultimate story of human endurance and a subject so huge it's almost impossible to tell...or is it?"

We return to Mole Hill with another tale of Water and Stone. There is more to say about how these lands we live on know and express their elemental nature. We feel it. We move it. But there is more. There is the danger of not only loosing the land, but also it's story, which in many cases is preserved on the paper-of-trees, and in the books that have not yet been burned. Might we say that it is the elements that save us? Might we say that there IS a story?

 
 
 
 

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