Go Deeper

In-progress Preview of STORE by kate watson-wallace/anonymous bodies

Posted May 6th, 2009

Early this spring one Friday night, March 27th to be exact, at the Parlor (1170 Broad Street, the once funeral parlor, now headquarters to Headlong Dance Theater), kate watson-wallace/anonymous bodies performed an in-progress sneak preview of STORE. It was the first look at the show they will debut this September at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival. Veiled figures rose from a floor of discarded clothes, and ever-so-slowly came to life, some tortured, some frenzied, some yearning for the best deals of years gone by. One man fornicated with a television. Farther off and facing the back wall, a couple with clothing-covered faces had a fleeting romantic encounter. After various intertwining movement, the entire group jumped for joy at all the possibilities of merchandise, licked their lips, ready to consume, and then choked to death on their own orgy of buying.

The piece lasted about 25 minutes, followed by a feedback session with the audience. Kate and her fellow dancers Heather Murphy, Makoto Hirano, Jaamil Kosoko, Lorin Lyle, and John Luna spoke of their improvisational research on the dance floor and their field-trip research to Wal-Mart, an experience some performers found frightening. While the show will ultimately be performed in an abandoned big-box retail store and not a rehearsal studio, audiences spoke of how they were sucked into this world of STORE, particularly the feelings of isolation, where each dancer seemed to be focused on him or herself, even when they were moving in unison.

One of the great things about the evening was that some, all, or none of what was seen may remain when the show is performed in September. At that time, not only will the choreography be fully realized, but video projections and original audio will also be fully integrated into the work. So the preview became a special one-time only performance featuring work that will never be put together the same way again.

Kate will be performing another in-progress excerpt of STORE Thursday, May 7, at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in Pittsburgh.

–Josh McIlvain