Making Art in 2017: Leah Stein on Interior
Name: Leah Stein
Company: Leah Stein Dance Company
Show in 2017 Festival: Interior
Role: Choreographer, Performer
FringeArts: Tell us about your show.
Leah Stein: I/we are tackling the balance between personal and global shifts, great loss and the possibility of regeneration, starting from an interior space. I read an article about a journalist’s visit to Spiral Jetty earthwork sculpture by Robert Smithson. She (Heidi Julavits) said this about her experience there: “I was thinking a lot about interior landscapes, those uninhabited places inside of us that cannot be contained (or explained) by any map. Interior landscapes are shaped by all kinds of forces: geographic or familial or cultural or genetic.”
FringeArts: How have your interests in or approach to art making changed in the last year?
Leah Stein: The Deep Listening practice I studied and explored with composer Pauline Oliveros has opened many new channels of perception in my creative and performance practice. This past spring, in collaboration with performers, we presented a new work in conjunction with an exhibit at the Woodmere Art Museum called A More Perfect Union? Power, Sex and Race in the Representation of Couples. This project, and the complexities of this time in the US, made me more aware of my own “cultural training” and ways of seeing and experiencing. It also instilled in me a desire to honor even more the great mix of diverse experiences and understandings within a diverse ensemble, even when they are unresolved, as well as the greater need than ever to listen deeply.
FringeArts: Tell us about an instance from 2017 when your interaction with art provided some much needed solace or refuge from outside troubles.
Leah Stein: I saw Brenda and Hellmut Gottshild perform Tongue, Smell, Color Revisited at the Woodmere Art Museum in May. They had originally created and performed over a decade ago, talking about their early lives, their meeting, the depth of racism in science, culture, and our unconscious. There was video of their performance from fifteen years ago. Somehow, seeing them in the early 2000s and also here and now, in 2017, was very moving. Their compelling, layered connection in the work offered “refuge” not as an escape, but as a “look it in the eye” relationship with sickening and painful truths, but still finding humor, warmth, and true love. Extremely generous and courageous, as always.
Leah Stein Dance Company
$20 / 45 minutes
Sept 13-14, 19-21, 23 @ Our Lady of Mt Carmel Perish, 2329 South 3rd Street