SooVAC hosts three dance installations Saturday

Katherine Hawthorne

Katherine Hawthorne

This Saturday, the SooVAC hosts performances by three choreographers that will take place amongst the artwork. San Francisco-based choreographer/sound-composer team Katherine Hawthorne and Christopher Jette will be showing their performance installation Soundlines, Chris Schlichting will present Untitled, and Kristin Van Loon will present Finishing Early. [jump]

Hawthorne, who grew up in Minneapolis but is now based in San Francisco and the Bay Area, says Soundlines is the result of the collaboration between herself and Christopher Jette, who is originally from Milwaukee. The two artists have been talking about bringing the piece to the Midwest, and since they are spending this week in Chicago for a residency at High Concept Lab, they contacted different spaces in Minneapolis in order to find a place to perform.  

Soundlines is an exploration of how movement translates into sound. Using a video camera to track the dancers' movement, the information is sent to a computer where it is translated into a sound score, which is then modulated by the composer. The duo have performed the installation in a number of different venues, and there is always an element of response to the space, Hawthorne says.  
Carolyn Payne, Executive Director of SooVAC, contacted Shlichting and Van Loon, believing their pieces would work well with Hawthorne and Jette's installation.  

For Untitled, Schlichting is developing a trio of dances built around the SooVAC space. The piece will interact with the "Untitled 8" juried show, which is currently exhibiting in the gallery.  

Schlichting says he feels a natural impetus to have more cross-over between dancers and visual artists. "There are similar things happening, in similar languages," he says.  

"Dance is such a tricky thing to talk about," says Schlichting. While someone watching his piece may not necessarily say, "Oh, that's that painting over there," his work is developed by generative processes that are invoked by impulses and patterns in the visual work.

Schlichting says that that while site-specific dance is not a new idea, it is particularly conducive to independent dance artists who have a real interest in finding sustainable ways of making work. "There is certainly a shortage of performance venues for independent artists that are comfortable and affordable," he says. 
Indeed. John Munger, who worked as the director of research for the national organization Dance USA, said in a City Pages interview earlier this year that as of December 31 there are 15 dance companies with budgets of $100,000 or more per year, and about 195 dance companies, pick-up groups, and independent choreographers that make less than $100,000 per year. That means there's more need for affordable spaces to create and perform work in. This sometimes means thinking outside of the box, with performance companies utilizing art galleries and DIY spaces both for artistic reasons and because they are more affordable.  

But in addition to the financial feasibility of alternative spaces, Schlicting says independent dance artists are also interested in using different spaces for aesthetic reasons. A gallery is particularly fitting for a piece still in the development stages, and it's interesting to have performances bounce off different spaces before presenting the piece in a more traditional venue. The surroundings, Schlichting says, "affect the way you think about the work."  

In addition to choreography by Schlicting and Hawthorne, audiences will get to see a Kristin Van Loon's Finishing Early (by Kristin Van Loon & the Interns). Van Loon, known for her work with Arwen Wildern in Hijack, presents a piece that she also created the soundscore for, along with dancers Chris Schlicting, Heather Spear, Chris Yon, and herself. It's sure to be a fascinating evening.  


Saturday, August 13

Performances at 7:30 and 9 p.m.

SooVAC Gallery