On Friday Feb. 10 and Saturday, Feb. 11, 2125 Stanley Street came to the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery, giving two performances that were under an hour each. The dance had originally been planned for three nights, but due to weather conditions, the scheduled Thursday night showcase was cancelled.
As audience members entered the room, they were welcomed by the sight of two dancers, Margaret Sunghe Paek and Dahlia Nayar, moving slowly in the center of stage floor.
Behind the gold, blue-grey and white clothed dancers hung a clothesline strung on two pulleys and supported by two mops. Two white laundry baskets sat near the clothesline, with socks draping off the sides.
As the lights faded, the dancers began the show. Twirling in unison, they made their way behind the white sheet pinned on the clothesline. They removed their dresses and replaced them with button ups, one in white and one in cream.
The dancers continued, removing the hanging sheet and heading towards the laundry baskets. They took each individual sock, laying them around the edges of the stage in a semi-circle shape.
After the stage was set, they grabbed four socks, placed them flat on the ground and then proceeded to pick them up with their toes. This occurred four times.
The evening continued with various dance movements, from Nayar trembling and slowly standing up, eventually putting her palms to the sky, to Paek standing on her head and placing the socks on the clothesline.
While the movements occurred, a third character, Loren Kiyoshi Dempster, adorned in all black, sat in the corner of the room behind a table, which was also adorned in black. His job was to provide the sound effects, which changed with each piece of movement. The performance started with birds chirping and rain falling, but eventually included the sound of cars passing by, the playing of a cello and the tapping and banging of the wall and floor.
On occasion, Dempster made his way from behind the table and onto the stage floor, but almost always returned. Towards the end, both dancers exited the room, laundry baskets in hand. When Dempster was left alone on the stage floor, he began hitting areas of the room, such as the door frame and the stairwell.
When he, too, left the room, the lights came back on. The trio re-entered the room, and took a bow.
Before the scheduled Q&A, Paek asked the audience members to remove the white card that had been placed in their programs and prepare to write.
Pens were passed around and the audience was given exactly one timed minute to write anything they wanted on the card, which was placed in one of the laundry baskets afterwards.
The Q&A lasted about 30 minutes, and included a gamut of individuals. One of these individuals was the Director of the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery, Brian Wallace.
“I both am still trying to digest it [and] also, I’ve been thinking about it…from sort of an administrative point of view, which is complicated but not necessarily interesting having to do with like… the grants and the student workers and gallery logistics…so I’m really interested in kind of thinking it over and getting past comparing what I expected with what I actually saw,” Wallace said, speaking on the performance.
Wallace wasn’t the only one who needed more time to interpret the meaning of the show. Lara Shields, the house manager of the Redfern, was also contemplating it afterwards.
“… I think I need to think on it more to kind of figure out how I feel in terms of…there’s dance that’s very obvious what it’s about, then there’s dance like this that’s more abstract and it takes a little more time to kind of integrate that into your own experiences and figure out what you feel about–what it reminded you of,” she said.
During the Q&A, when talking about the inspiration for the piece, Nayar said, “We also pulled our memories and virtuosity that we were around growing up. The value placed on the slow and quiet is something that I was around on with part of my family…”
Dempster, who was in charge of the sound, would go around looking for different sounds to collect and play in whatever venue they were performing in.
“I guess it’s trying to make something common into something a little more magical, perhaps,” he said, noting that some of his inspiration came from his home life, such as his dad “…banging around the house…” playing the trombone, as well as his mom playing the piano.
Both Nayar and Paek talked about the impact the show had on other audiences, since they had been performing the piece for about three years. Nayar noted that it “…invoked a lot of memories for [the audience],” while Paek commented that “…It leaves room for your own story hopefully, too.”
Senior art major and Redfern Ambassador Hannah Soucy said, “I think that what [Paek] said about people always wanting to make a story…naturally you want to connect to it in your own personal way to get the full emotion I feel like, and I think that it’s beautiful that we can have a bunch of different people thinking different things…”
The performance will be turned into an exhibit piece, and will be on display from Feb. 14 to March 26 in the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery.
Alexandria Saurman can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org