Bridgman | Packer Dance
Friday & Saturday, August 2 & 3
Schaeffer Theatre, 7:30 p.m.
|Bridgman | Packer Dance by Arthur Fink|
Together for more than 30 years, Bridgman | Packer Dance has developed a unique approach to integrating video into dance -- making it, in effect, their third dance partner. Acclaimed for its highly visual and visceral alchemy of the live and the virtual, their newest work, Voyeur is inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper. In Voyeur, Bridgman and Packer push into new territory presenting fragments of private lives played out on a set whose windows and doorways permit the audience to be, like Hopper, "one who looks." (Family friendly) For more info: Bridgman | Packer
Voyeur received its world premiere last fall under the auspice of Portland Ovations. Staged in the gallery at Maine College of Art’s as part of Portland’s First Friday Art Walk all four shows were sold out and received rave reviews. If you missed the premiere or are dying to see it again here’s your chance.
Also on the program is Under the Skin a duet that magically populates the stage featuring a live performance by composer/saxophonist Ken Field.
"The boundary between reality and imagination is brilliantly blurred…Welcome to the future of dance." -- Star Tribune, Minneapolis
"In an age overrun with virtual dancing, the team of Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer stands out...by turns, witty, sexy, and surreal." -- The New Yorker
"an amazing visual spectacle, a fantastic and seamless blend of video projection and live dancing...in which profound artistry and dazzling technique were perfectly matched...They call that genius." -- The Birmingham News, Alabama (2008)
Sneak Preview: Bridgman | Packer offer a free Show & Tell, Tue, July 30, Schaeffer Theatre, 7:30 p.m.
Post Performance Q&A: Please join us for a discussion with the artists immediately following the Friday concert.
Inside Dance: Understanding Contemporary Performance. A pre-performance talk about Bridgman | Packer's work with dance writer, Hannah Kosstrin. Sat, August 3, 7:00 p.m. Schaeffer Theatre.
You have been exploring the intersection or "dance" between technology and live performance for several years now with great success. How/why did you begin this journey?
It began in 1999, when we were invited to choreograph a Haydn opera produced by Orchestra of St. Lukes in a production that used Balinese shadow techniques. With this new knowledge and experience, we then choreographed our work, Carried Away (performed at BDF in 2001) where we worked with our shadow images on a translucent red screen. The use of shadows seemingly expanded the work from a duet to a quartet, creating simultaneous, parallel existences. It had cinematic elements that excited us and led to incorporating video projections into our work. In 2003, we began working with our life-size video images in Seductive Reasoning, moving with our own and each other’s images and stepping in and out of them.
Conceptually, this new direction vastly expanded the possibilities of the duet and stretched the boundaries of live performance. It opened up new ways to examine the complex nature of identity. The portrayal of several sides of the self, and the process of confronting oneself were made visually tangible as we interacted with our video counterparts. And, we began to explore the ambiguity between what is real and what is virtual through the integration of our images into the live performance.
Can you talk about the role of collaboration in your work?
We have collaborated in choreography and performance for over 30 years now. What appears on stage is the result of an ongoing conversation between the two of us. It is an intense and vital collaboration that is in some ways still a mystery to us!
With the incorporation of video technology into our work, we have brought some other essential collaborators into the creative team, including filmmakers Peter Bobrow and Jim Monroe. In our last three major works, our collaboration with Peter has deepened. He brings rich possibilities to the work with his technological expertise and his creative eye behind the camera and the editing.
We have also had a 14-year collaboration with our lighting designer, Frank DenDanto III. Balancing the stage lighting with the quality of light in the video projections creates a unity of look on stage and heightens the intentional ambiguity between the live and the virtual.
What drew you to the work of Edward Hopper?
Voyeur, which takes the paintings of Edward Hopper as its point of departure, had its inception in the community where we live in the New York Hudson Valley. Edward Hopper’s birthplace and childhood home is now the Edward Hopper House Arts Center (edwardhopperhouse.org) in Nyack, NY. The Hopper House became a co‐commissioner of Voyeur along with Portland Ovations (portlandovations.org) in Portland, ME.
We were drawn to Hopper’s paintings where fragmented moments of private lives are witnessed through windows and doorways. We chose to not recreate or stage his paintings. For us, Voyeur is about being immersed in his world of color, light, form, perspective, and the theme of voyeurism, which can imply isolation, regret, ennui, and obstruction. At the heart of Voyeur is the seen or unseen viewer. We are looking at the voyeuristic role of both the audience and the performers.
You have been creating innovative work together for over 30 years. What is your next horizon?
Usually, the seeds of ideas for new pieces come gradually. We do a lot of experimenting with movement, cameras, projectors, and projection surfaces in our studio. Recently, we have been thinking about large industrial equipment and sites, contrasting them with the sensuality and mortality of the human body. We will see where it leads us…