On Stage: A Cinematic Feel at the Pillow

Photo by Cassie Kay Photography

When the dance community generally starts to wind down each summer, Pearlann Porter starts to perk up, mostly with her Second Saturday series, part of The Pillow Project. But as she heads into the second SS (whew, a lot of alliteration!), there’s a lot more action than in previous years — newMoves, Pop City’s birthday bash, PrideFest and Dance Alloy’s “Pittsburgh on Pittsburgh.”

As usual, Pearlann is changing and evolving, this time tossing aside (in an environmentally-responsible way) her heavy-duty thematic evening in favor of “an overriding inspiration and feel.”

Right now she’s toying once again with Pink Floyd’s album, “Dark Side of the Moon,” for which she did a “physical” cover and some movement color studies, so that she can “learn to see her dancers through themselves,” not through her choreography.

Somehow that’s all going to play out in the performance, loosely divided into segments. The first part will feature post-modern jazz, featuring house musicians PJ Roduta and Charles Hall and friends. “I want there to be a ‘house’ feel to it,” she says. It’s where we all live. There’s a consistency, a familiarity.”

That will morph in two types of cinematic explorations. As she explains, “I’m going to try to show a movie quality flow and patterning and visuals and lighting in a live performance.”

The first will be about as long as previews in a movie. Various choreographers will offer up a scene, so that “it leaves the rest up to your imagination as to what the context would be.”

Right now she’s interested in Quentin Tarantino and how he designed the female character in his movies. “They’re always exaggerated and extremely strong, almost like caricatures,” she says. “It’s a masculine, yet feminine thing that’s going on.”

Pearlann will also tackle a more substantial rendering of David Fincher’s 1999 cult classic, “The Fight Club,” which she calls a modern-day version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this time portrayed by a single performer, Taylor Knight.

“It was elegant in a gritty way, violent in a very humorous, yet sadistic way. It had a really nice balance that always struck me. And there was something about the message, that we’re not our material things. We’re not an accumulation of the things that we own. We’re not consumers — we’re people.”

“It’s going to take a fearless performance.”

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