On Thursday night (Dec. 4), the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) opens PERFORMANCE, a dance piece by New York-based choreographer and former Merce Cunningham dancer Rashaun Mitchell, with music by singer, songwriter, poet and The Magnetic Fields‘ frontman Stephin Merritt. Joining Mitchell and Merritt onstage are dancers Hiroki Ichinose, Cori Kresge and Silas Riener, while visual artist Ali Naschke-Messing provides a luminous liquid stage design, replete with streamers and shard-like gold fragments.
The creators of PERFORMANCE draw inspiration—and the work’s title—from a quote from fashion and portrait photographer Richard Avedon: “We all perform. It’s what we do for each other all the time, deliberately or unintentionally. It’s a way of telling about ourselves in the hope of being recognized as what we’d like to be.”
The piece, “a celebration of the mysteries in the art of performance, of on-the-spot wit and invention, and of the absurd,” premiered at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art in January.
The Boston Globe writes:
The work’s most compelling aspect is the visual design, especially Naschke-Messing’s curtains of hanging shards, which create striking interplays of light. The loveliest dance sequence in the piece is a slow-motion series of supple, liquid balances and extensions that cant and tilt, seeming to emulate the gentle spins and drifts of those suspended gold fragments.
PERFORMANCE runs through Sunday (Dec. 7). Below is a sneak preview.