On Stage: Dancing Until Sunrise

“It started after the last Second Saturday — we never went home,” says Pearlann Porter. “We stayed until eight o’clock in the morning — just dancing. We never stopped. The audience left, everyone packed up, but the dancers didn’t.”

“We just stayed there and something clicked. I don’t know if we realized we were on the same page or we all turned the page at the same time, there was this sense of something else in our dance, beyond the technique and all the learned stuff that we had. I think we found it. It opened up a door that I didn’t even know was there.”

Recycling was on Pearlann’s mind, though, from the “Hot Box” in July. She had been toying with an encore performance of  “The SwankEasy,” symbolized by neon sign that hangs above the bar. When a fan wanted a piece of the Pillow Project, it all fell into place for her August installment of Second Saturdays at the Space Upstairs above Construction Junction.

But it’s not recycling, she contends. “We’re opening and closing in the same night — it’ll be the last time we turn it on in the Space.”  Pearlann did “The SwankEasy” four years ago, although she still feels like “it’s so far in our past that it was very interesting to go back to do all the work — it shows how far we’ve come.”

Along with some new dance wrinkles, she’ll bring back parts of two original “Swank” pieces, onebased on a Charlie Parker remix, called “The Charlie Parker Recontextualization Experimentation,” and the other on Dave Brubeck’s classic, “Take Five.”

Back then “Take Five” was “straight choreography, with every movement was deliberate.” Now Pearlann is getting her dancers to understand the philosophy behind why she does jazz. “It’s not Bob Fosse jazz. It’s not Broadway jazz. If Miles Davis danced, what would he do if he wasn’t playing? What does Dave Brubeck move like?”

Now the dancers are moving through Pearlann’s idea, not her choreography. “It’s been intensely cool to help them discover their own handwriting,” she says in her best jazz intonation.

That means taking advantage of imperfect moments where she feels the dancers reveal themselves.”We’re letting that individuality and self-consciousness and apprehension come forth — this show exposes the guts of jazz.”

Photos by Aaron Jackendoff.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: