World Premiere at Dixon Place: BOOMERANG’s Repercussion
“Brilliant. Exceptionally strong work. BOOMERANG made me listen. Whether to the breathing, or to the feet on the floor or to the musical instrument, it was all part of a unity. This is a work of extremes, from quick movements with violent attacks to soft interior moments. Geometric choreography is counterpointed with moments of free movement, with intelligent and carefully thought out use of space. Bravo.” – Robert Wilson following a showing of the work at the Watermill Center in January 2016.
Wilson is right. BOOMERANG’s Repercussion will have you considering dancers Matty Davis and Adrian Galvin’s fearlessness and sensitivity alongside Greg Saunier’s full-bodied, hurtling score long after the lights go out in Dixon Place. Boomerang’s Repercussion, commissioned by Dixon Place, will run March 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, and 26.
Late last November I sat down with choreographer Kora Radella, dancers Matty Davis and Adrian Galvin, and drummer Greg Saunier of Deerhoof, as they prepared to show an in process version of Repercussion for Danspace’s Draftwork series.
The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Holly Ledbetter: Tell me a little bit about this piece, and more specifically what makes it similar/different to previous works you have made?
Kora Radella: The biggest difference has been this man [points to Greg]. I feel like he embodies a lot of what we do which is a very raw energy and fully physical, but also very sensitive and vulnerable and precise. There are things he brings up, some about rhythm, but also about silliness or not silliness.
Matty Davis: Another significant difference has been the infrastructural support for the creation of the work including residencies in Berlin and Barcelona. The piece involved a commission from Dixon Place, so we’ve had that support and platform upon which to develop and offer the work. We also hugely developed the work while in residence at the Watermill Center in January.
KR: [Through the residencies] we are able to have dialogue afterwards altogether…look at the footage and talk and read and digest the material, which is so helpful.
Adrian Galvin: We get to have these really intense blocks of time, when it’s really intimate, then we get to go off and be our own people. We are not only bringing our own movement strategies to the table but also our own mindsets and different intentions.
GS: For me it is not different from a rock band really. I think I expected [Kora] just to tell everybody what to do and I was like “boy she is really not saying very much, well I guess I’ll just keep tapping away.” It was quite mysterious. And when you have a performance that is being called a work in progress then you go into performance mindset, which for me is completely different. It must be really fun for the audience. It is like we are saying this is just a portion, we are still working it out, we still don’t know quite what we are doing and in BOOMERANG it is not without some element of physical risk.
HL: How did you go about deciding what you were going to show this weekend?
MD: Showing work in progress is a part of the BOOMERANG motor. We have been performing on an almost monthly basis. When you go to different venues you expose yourself to different audiences. We believe that there is deep and vital information within the work that is not particularly of the “dance world”.
KR: There is a certain aesthetic people tend towards. I tend to do athletic movement and sometimes when dancers see us the feedback is “it looks so scary”. You don’t say that for hockey players. They are athletes; we are dealing with real concerns of gravity.
GS: When we first started chatting it reminded me of a kitten or a couple kittens playing with each other. It is moment-to-moment reaction to physical circumstances and thrilling stimuli. [Kittens] find themselves on their hind legs and that causes them to want to do something that one can do only on their hind legs. You take a risk, almost kill yourself, and then you find a solution and go from there. Then your solution is what you are starting with. Even when it is finished there will still be an element of moment-to-moment negotiation. These guys love the word negotiation…
KR: There is a lot of tight structure but then there is also finding the space where it is logical for them to have choice.
HL: What is your conscious consideration of your audience when you are creating?
KR: It’s different in a work in progress. I don’t yet have a handle on this like I do other pieces. We believe in the work and we genuinely care about sharing our work. We don’t think, “this would be really cool,” “maybe they will gasp.” We want to just share these two humans…now three humans.
AG: When people consider the audience I imagine them considering their attention span or a relationship or identification with a character. This works because Matty and I have a really intimate friendship. We physically and emotionally trust each other. When you are really honest and wholehearted those concerns about the audience don’t need to come into play. It is what it is.
GS: Personally, I find it more confusing. Being a drummer in a rock band I’m very used to considering the audience. It’s like the intimate relationship that you describe having with each other while you are performing is one that I’m always looking to have with the audience. I tend to be a ham on stage and it is definitely questionable how much it fits in this piece so I am trying to tune into something else. I still feel the audience and I am trying to feel your attention, I’m trying to navigate the ups and downs, the tension, the release. It is something I keep struggling with each time. The rehearsal I hope is moving me into areas I don’t know about and it has to do with this calm.
KR: Wild calm has been an important phrase for me. That is what I’m asking for, simultaneously.