As the wind and the leaves begin to carry us into Fall, the Pittsburgh dance world is leaping into this season with some truly intriguing and exciting work! To give everyone a little taste of what’s coming up, Pittsburgh in the Round spoke to a couple of local companies, CORNING WORKS, and Attack Theatre.
Beth Corning, Artistic Director of CORNING WORKS, and former Artistic Director of Pittsburgh’s Dance Alloy, was kind enough to open up with me about her upcoming performance. “Remains- a one woman show,” is a repertoire performance of a piece that Corning informed me she had begun the process of creation with years ago. The piece will be a juxtaposition of movement, imaginative theater, and spoken word exploring not only what our present lives mean, but also what the remnants of past chapters, or people, in our life can teach us. “Remains- a one woman show” embraces many forms of art, which Corning says she “does very carefully.” Motivated by a thirst for more to chew on, “any medium that can help her explore,” she says is of interest to her.
In talking with Corning, she so eloquently shared with me a large part of where she was coming from in terms of her overall message…“Be aware of the weight that you’re leaving behind… even if it’s just pieces of soap left in the bathroom. Or, like, that one sock… when the other sock just isn’t there anymore.” Corning is concerned with putting an emphasis on life and what certain parts of our lives weigh. How do we process what has past? With the help of a friend of hers, a theater director who aided her in cultivating an original and personal exploration of life’s weights, Corning originally created the piece in response to the death of her Mother a number of years ago, who was a huge, beloved, and special part of her life and her work. “It was a tumultuous year.” she says “Putting it out was really raw stuff.” In revisiting the piece a number of years later, Corning says she has “seen tangibly how I’ve come along emotionally.” She says that in the revisiting of “Remains,” she has been able to work on the piece from a different perspective and that the show really offers something for everyone to take from it. In combining the seriousness’ of life’s struggles with a sense of humor and a drive for expression, Corning has in store for us what I see to be a wealth of wisdom. See “Remains- a one woman show” September 7th-11th at the New Hazlett Theater in the Northside! For tickets and more information, click here. Also coming up this season, Attack Theatre will be performing an original piece, Some Assembly Required. Based off of the architectural works of José Oubrerie, Artistic Directors Michele de la Reza and Peter Kope, have created a piece drawing lines between visual art and movement. Offering the audience an atmosphere in which they can observe and interact with the creative process will give viewers a new way in which to view visual art, live dance, and music. The piece was inspired shortly after Attack decided to seek a collaboration with the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University, which is where it will be performed. “It is a beautiful gallery showcasing innovative work. The beauty of Some Assembly Required is that it connects with visual art of any medium. Architect, José Oubrerie, was being showcased during the dates we suggested, and this created an opportunity to explore this process with architecture as a medium. The language of architecture is rich with concepts about form and structure that I know will inspire the creation of movement and choreography for this performance,” Artistic Director, Michele de la Reza told me when I asked her how the project came about.
Based off of visual art, the company will create interactive, guided discussions, which the performers will use as inspiration for improvisational dance and music. In creating a flow of art and interaction, Attack is finding new ways to open up our perspectives surrounding expression and perceived boundaries. “This piece is not necessarily about portraying architecture through dance, but rather interpreting the audience experience with the art in this space,” says de la Reza. “The greater the audience participation, the more options we have to explore through music and movement!,” she added. The goal of this show is to engage the audience and the artists in a new creative process. This piece, like “Remains- a one woman show” is a revisiting of a past show. De la Reza informed me that Attack has performed this in many locations, however since it is so interactive and dependent on surroundings, the performance is different every time! “With any performance, we consider the creativity and influence of previous works, but because Some Assembly Required depends largely on the moment, the art and the audience; it becomes a new and exciting performance each time.” Don’t miss this exciting chance to twist your perspective and open up your mind with Attack Theatre on October 7th-9th at the Miller Gallery at CMU! For tickets and more information about Some Assembly Required, click here.
In this upcoming season both of these companies are bringing to life and movement the ideas that aren’t too simple to work through on your own. Come out and let these wonderful artists assist you in expanding your mind!