I CRAVE WORK THAT HAS A WANDERING-OFFNESS TO IT
Photo credit: Jared Gruenwald
“Simmer in the experiential mashed potatoes,” suggests Christina Gesualdi, co-creator/performer of our nebulous motor, “won’t you???”
our nebulous motor, performed in a stairwell at Mascher Space Co-op in Northern Liberties as part of the SoLow Fest next week, is a dance-installation that audiences are invited to walk in and out of. Christina talks to SoLow about meditating on roofs, making non-narrative dance, and killing variables.
SoLow Fest: Was there a specific event or series of events which inspired you to create this show?
Christina Gesualdi: I rehearse at Mascher twice a week, and for the past year, more than half of the rehearsals have been solo rehearsals. In the nice weather, I like to warm up with some Qi Gong on Mascher's roof. The fire escape hallway that leads to the roof is somewhat dingy yet charming in its own way. I am attracted to disheveled yet functional spaces. The hallway creates a striking sense of depth. It is amazing because it limits what I can make. These limits are useful and the piece has been finding a sense of freedom within them.
SF: Tell us a little about your previous work.
CG: I have self-produced a bunch of sit-down-and-watch-type experimental dance works. My work is non-narrative. My last solo was very experiential, so it hinged on the sensorial world that I, the performer, was experiencing in each moment. This is the kind of work I am interested in, though I also wonder how much it translates to audience sensation and experience. This new piece gets at changing the sensory "givens" of the dance-watcher's environment.
SF: What have you learned from the process so far?
CG: I have learned to pare down the number of variables within one piece...that I have more questions and ambitions than I often think I do...and that it is important to "kill" a bunch of them, so that the remaining ones can really be present in a big way. I also have learned that the sounds of the building in the hallway are amazing in the afternoon (our neighbors and the outdoors are the perfect amount of quiet and noisy between 11am and 1pm).
SF: Tell us a little about experiential mashed potatoes.
CG: Ah yes. So I had a ballet teacher in high school that criticized dancers' execution of the steps and combinations as "ehhh...it's so mushy...it's like mashed potatoes." I understand precision, rigor, organization, and dynamic range as values that make great dance, but more so, I crave work that has a softness and a wandering off-ness to it. I think it is good to be immersed in work that feels mushy for a while or maybe for the duration. It parallels and speaks to the complexity and lack of clarity that makes life worth living.
our nebulous motor takes place at Mascher Space Co-Op at 155 Cecil B. Moore Avenue on Fri. June 21 @10pm-midnight, Sat. June 22@ 10pm-midnight, Thurs. June 27 @ 8pm-10pm, Fri. June 28th @ 11am-1pm (2 hour installation. Come and go as you please.). email@example.com or (215) 901-5226 for reservations. VERY limited space. PWYC $5.
Julius Ferraro is a Philly freelancer. He writes regularly for Art Attack and his blog, Notes on Words.