“Transposition: Over Many Miles:” Alma Dance Theater: Dance on Site
“It is important for me to express matters of the soul,” says Marissa Alma Nick, founder, choreographer, and artistic director of Alma Dance Theater. In the site-specific work presented March 5 in Miami’s Design District, the matter of the soul is a journey — but there are many reasons to embark on a voyage, in this case it is a search.
The dancers: Sarah Amores, Camille Arroyo, Sasha Caicedo, and Juliana Trivino, each enter the site with their own movement narrative: timid, bold, playful, and artistic. They navigate the site; exploring every aspect of Paula Crown’s art installation piece in an inquisitive manner. One dancer stands aside, grounded by a bouquet of balloons; another attempts to read a map as she climbs on and becomes lost in the art. Lights flash and a dancer appears guided by a flashlight; yet another enters with binoculars. Each dancer continues on her own path until summoned together in quiet repose by a seductive lullaby sung by Arroyo. The audience are propelled to also navigate the art piece; crossing the boundary from audience to participant.
The audience is guided by the dancers to interact with the art piece (and with each other) as we transverse the panorama of the installation. “Transposition: Over Many Miles” features a PERforation sculpture from the series by Crown. According to the artist’s Website the sculpture is “sited on 3,200 square feet of constructed flooring based on a landscape drawing from Crown’s Africa Drawings (2010).” Crown says she wanted “an alignment of macro and micro space that we find in our everyday life.” The work was installed in the Miami Design District in December 2014 and will eventually be disassembled and reinstalled in a Chicago park.
Crown’s art piece is conceived to be an interactive site. The company certainly does just that in their use of the installation as a gateway for their search. The journey proceeds, with the audience and performers moving en mass while the dancers continue their narrative. People move about with smartphones, often interacting with each other in impromptu meetings. When the dancers are in unison, roles intertwine, as the audience is standing on “stage” with the performers.
Nick says she wants to explore “what it’s like to be elevated and lifted up.” She does this through the journey of four dancers who represent different facets of the artist Paula Crown. Though the two didn’t collaborate on this project, they did speak, with Nick referring to Crown as a “powerhouse.”
Alma Dance Theater creates a community, for a brief period of time. We are part of the dance, the art-installation, the search. When the performance ends and the balloons are released and drift away, we reluctantly do the same.
Alma Dance Theater will perform its next production ‘Flowers for Spring’ March 31 and April 1 at 8:30 p.m., Black Box Theater at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St., Miami; tickets $32; www.almadancetheater.com.