The Engine is a solo dance that imagines: What if my body was a locomotive engine? Taking place outdoors, under the moon, along a trail that used to be what the French call chemin de fer (iron path/railway), this performance invites each of us to wonder about what propels us and where we’re headed. This original work is created and performed by Philadelphia-based dance artist Asimina Chremos, whose work “…reveals the world—its materiality and politics and social structures—as less solid, more permeable, surprising and strange than we might think it is.” (David Brick, Co-Founder/Artistic Director, Headlong Dance Theater)
The Engine journeys through the embodiment of urban, historical, and human transformations, cleverly incorporating vintage costume, ingenious lighting, historical steam engine sounds, poetic text, shadow puppetry—and of course, Chremos’ uniquely fluid and expressive dancing. Chremos embodies ideas playfully and seriously, takes their time, employs curiosity, and observes deeply. Their movement often explores strength as a nuanced resource of self-determining pleasure—avoiding, or playing with, social associations of power and vanity, always in relationship to their own changing body and psyche. Chremos’ dancing relates to a physical world that is constantly re-framed for an audience through the lens of shifting, subtle perceptions.
The Engine will run for a series of three performances at The Rail Park, a disused section of elevated rail line in the Callowhill neighborhood that has been transformed into a public space with plantings and places for walking, sitting, and relaxing. The Engine is partially improvised, meaning no two performances will be exactly alike. It begins with a 5-minute ambulatory audio experience before continuing as a seated event. Each performance will run between 45 minutes and one hour. Audiences are limited to 15 per performance.
Lead Artist and Project Manager: Asimina Chremos
Dramaturg and Production Assistant: Grace Mi-He Lee
Music/Sound Design: Tara Middleton
Shadow Images Design/Construction: Erik Ruin
Box Office/Greeter: Annabella DiNapoli
Greeter/Guide: Wendy Bell
Stage Manager: Andy Bresnan
Assistant: Cindy Greene
Documentation Videography: Sally Linnett
Appropriate for Ages 13+
Ticket buyers will be asked to bring a smartphone with earbuds or headset. Upon arrival at the venue, each audience member will receive a QR code to access an audio recording to listen to individually as they make their way to their seats. If ticket buyers do not have a smartphone or earbuds/headset, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org up to 24 hours prior to the performance to arrange a portable media player loan.
The entrance to the performance is a small piazza located on the Noble Street end of the Rail Park, between 12th and Broad Sts. This end of the rail park is centered between the rectangle formed by Broad, 12th, Callowhill, and Spring Garden Streets. Note: Noble St forms a bridge over 13th St, which dips down at this point, so don’t try to access via 13th. Best entry points are Broad/Noble 12th/Noble. Street parking in this area can be difficult to find. There are many public transit options to reach this area with only a short walk.
The audience will be greeted at the Noble Street Entrance to the Rail Park and then be guided to take a 5-minute stroll along a flat trail to find their seats at the other end of the Rail Park. The Rail Park is wheelchair accessible. After the performance, they may return the way they came or they may exit down a flight of 42 sturdy metal stairs with nonslip surfaces and a railing (with a landing in the middle), that takes them to 11th and Callowhill.
About the Artists
Asimina Chremos is a Philadelphia-based artist whose practice encompasses performance and visual arts. They performed as a soloist and corps de ballet member of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater in the 1980’s; created a femme-drag performance-artist persona in Philadelphia in the 1990’s; and refined a personal improvisational movement language and performance practice through collaborations with musicians while living in Chicago in the 2000’s.
“Asimina reveals the world, its materiality and politics and social structures as less solid, and more permeable, surprising and strange than we might think it is. And they do it—intensely and skillfully—through the vehicle of a performing body, metastasizing proposals about being in a body and being in a world that is at once and impossibly, wild and serene.”
— David Brick, Co-Founder/Artistic Director, Headlong Dance Theater