THE PASEO, A FESTIVAL BRINGING THE ARTS OF INSTALLATION, PERFORMANCE, AND PROJECTION TO THE STREETS OF TAOS, IS COMING UP ON SEPTEMBER 23 & 24, FOR ITS THIRD YEAR OF CELEBRATING ‘UNHANGABLE ART.’ LIVETAOS AND KNCE ARE PARTNERING WITH THE PASEO TO BRING YOU GREAT INTERACTIVE COVERAGE BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER THE EVENT!
THIS SERIES PROFILES SOME OF THE MANY FABULOUS ARTISTS BRINGING THE PASEO TO LIFE FOR A THIRD YEAR.
Taos—you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. When Cie. Willi Dorner, an Austrian dance company, brings its piece Bodies in Urban Spaces to Taos as part of the PASEO 2016, our built environment will be transformed.
Bodies in Urban Spaces is a series of sculptures made entirely of human bodies in man-made settings—in doorways, under benches, around signs, on sidewalks. At the beginning of the performance, the audience gathers at a set time and place. Then several dancers in bright clothing run by them—and the treasure hunt is on. Around corners, often in the most unexpected places, dancers have compacted themselves to fit into unyielding spaces. Like the concrete and metal surrounding them, these bodies are now static, but the knowledge that these are living, breathing people wearing bright colors gives the audience a sense of vibrancy that stands out.
Performing Bodies in Urban Spaces requires athleticism from dancers, who often climb to get into position and must hold their positions for about five minutes each. As the audience beholds one group of dancers in place, another runs by to set up for the next physical feat. The audience is guided through a series of still images made via dynamic movement, which the Austrian Choreographer Willi Dorner refers to as “Temporary Interventions.” Also, people who happen to be in these locations witness the show as well, just like a flash mob. Through these various body sculptures, the audience’s awareness of ordinarily neglected spaces is reawakened, and they appreciate not only the dancers, but also their surroundings anew.
Esther Steinkogler, a member of the Cie. Willi Dorner Company, will travel to Taos this month to choreograph a site-specific version of this piece for Taos, along with local dancers who will audition. A dancer and Choreography Assistant with Cie. Willi Dorner since 2008, Esther will cast the piece, develop the sculptures with dancers, and act as facilitator and guide for the audience during the performance in the PASEO. She studied contemporary dance at the Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance in central Austria, a course she now puts to good use.
Of Bodies in Urban Spaces, Esther commented, “We measure the urban space with the human body. We also look at your city again in a new way.” She noted that the sculptures create the illusion of life without gravity, because the dancers sometimes hang upside down, suspended, at odd angles, up high.
At some point, we stop thinking about the places we see every day. Certainly, we continue to think about the people we know and things happening in our town, long after we’ve become acquainted. But the built environment has a tendency to be forgotten, taken for granted, over time. The potency of this kind of performance is its potential to make us see old places with new eyes—to appreciate our home again.
Bodies in Urban Spaces has been performed all over the world, in sites across Europe, Asia, and America. Every time, it is a different experience, because the sites offered and selected in each place vary so greatly. We are fortunate indeed that this piece is making a stop in our rural setting—with plenty of built structures upon which to design pieces as unique as Taos. So whether you come out to watch the entire show or catch a glimpse of brightly-clad dancers running by, be sure to perk up and pay attention when Cie. Willi Dorner comes to town.
The audition will take place Saturday, September 17th @ 11:00 AM, at the Taos Youth Ballet Studios located at 1027 Salazar Road on the corner of Salazar and Cañon West.
The performances will take place on Friday, September 23 and Saturday, September 24; keep an eye on the PASEO website and social media for specific times.
The performances — like all the exhibitions and performances at the PASEO — are completely FREE!
All photos courtesy Cie. Willi Dorner
Learn more about The Paseo at www.paseoproject.org, and save the dates: September 23 & 24, 2016. Stay tuned to LiveTaos and KNCE 93.5FM, www.truetaosradio.com, for ongoing interviews and coverage!