At the second annual Out on a Limb evening of experimental dance, you can do more than just watch. You’re invited to join the dance.
The event, happening Friday (April 7) and Saturday, offers on-stage pieces by nine choreographers from Olympia, Tacoma and Seattle. It includes “To Be a Dancer, Enter Here,” a lobby installation that allows the audience to become part of a filmed piece to be shown during intermission and after the performance.
“I’m always trying to get audiences involved in the performance,” said choreographer Karen Kirsch of Olympia, who’s also a dancer and somatic therapist. “It’s an ongoing quest for me: How do I get people to move?”
She’ll set up curtained booths in which movers can warm up, plan a dance and then perform for 21 seconds. Each dancer will choose from among four positions in which to begin and end, and the finished segments will be linked into a dance on video.
Inspired by contact improv, the Japanese form butoh and more, the works cover an array of movement styles and themes. Choreographers have a range of experience, too, from first-time choreographer Lisa Weber Cochran of Olympia to Constanze Villines of Seattle, the managing director of Khambatta Dance Co. and artistic director of Re:flexion Dance Co.
That diversity is central to the mission of Out on a Limb, curated by dancer/choreographers from Olympia’s Radco (Random Acts of Dance Collective) and Company Y.
The first Out on a Limb generated a buzz among local dance lovers. It revealed a hunger for experimental dance, said event founder Roel Hammerschlag of Olympia.
“Last year, on Friday night, we almost sold out, and on Saturday, we did sell out,” Hammerschlag said. “Everybody loved it, and there were several requests for us to do it more than once a year, which I dismissed because I don’t have the capacity to do it personally.
“There’s more interest than we can serve.”
About 25 choreographers submitted proposals for pieces, each 12 minutes or less in length. As part of encouraging diversity and submissions by fledgling artists, the curators gave preference to those who weren’t on last year’s program. Kirsch, the only choreographer to submit a proposal for use of the lobby, is the one repeat.
Other featured works are:
▪ “As Wind Catching Sails,” a butoh-inspired piece danced and choreographed by Christopher Arnett of Olympia. In white makeup with black-encircled eyes, Arnett evokes a ghoul or zombie while exploring the emotions beneath the surface of awareness.
▪ Cochran’s “Open Doors,” which includes a dancing door that evolves as time passes.
▪ Hammerschlag’s “Duet,” in which two women, ages 17 and 70, dance the ever-changing complexities of familial relationship.
▪ “Yessir,” by dancer-choreographer Kimberly Holloway of Seattle, which explores the relationship between an abusive father and his son.
▪ “Rehto!Fo!,” by Michael Hoover of Tacoma, co-director of the dance troupe Barefoot Collective. Hoover’s dance, performed by three women, has a lyrical feel and is set to a soundtrack that includes spoken-word stories from his late partner’s family history.
▪ “Creature,” an evocative solo by Radco regular and longtime choreographer Meg Hunt of Olympia, who taught dance and interdisciplinary arts at The Evergreen State College.
▪ “Myrrha,” by Katie Lappier of Tacoma, a longtime dancer and choreographer and co-director of the Barefoot Collective. The piece, performed by five dancers, is an exploration of the emotions and energies in the Greek myth of Myrrha, the mother of Adonis.
▪ “Isthmus,” a surreal solo by an Olympia performer using the stage name Patricia Mintross.
▪ Villines’ “Waiting for B.,” an improvisational exploration of movement within a confined space.
Next year, Hammerschlag hopes to see at least one piece focused on body-based music.
“We do have one sound score being performed this year,” he said, “but it’s a sound score for a piece of dance.”
He and other organizers are hoping to be able to offer stipends to choreographers. Last year’s performances made a small profit after rent and other expenses were paid.
“That got put in the bank, and we’ll do that again this year,” he said. “We want to start giving some of that away to the choreographers as support for their work.”
Out on a Limb
What: Second annual evening of experimental dance, curated by Company Y and members of Radco, features nine works on stage, plus a chance to participate in a collaborative piece.
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday (April 7) and Saturday.
Where: Olympia Family Theater, 612 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia.
Tickets: $15 at bit.ly/2p30VjZ or at the door if available.
Information: 360-451-0074, company-y.org/out-on-a-limb.html.
Also: Though it’s presented at Olympia Family Theatre, the event is best suited for adults, teens and older children with an interest in dance.