Size matters, mostly.
I like my encounters to feel big and bold. In a space where bodies defy expectations in size, ability, race, and gender, while providing intimate physical moments that range from quiet tenderness to explosive fireworks. I also like the experience to last—an encounter might take 30 to 40 minutes. Not to be too detailed, but there may be props involved or theatrical toys incorporated to enhance the experience. All in service to what can be described as the dramatic pay-off, the climax, which concludes the performance.
Did this rudimentary rambling have you imagining a scene of carnal pleasure?
No, silly, it’s my way to describe how much I love to see dance. A chance to imbibe a variety of physical actions of all shapes and sizes. These instances are intimate embraces between performer and audience. And like most first loves—and those that are fondly remembered—they’re all part of experimenting.
I often question, how does physical proximity to a dance impact or alter one’s perception of that dance? Perhaps the closeness of moving bone and muscle forces unforeseen feelings and unimagined interpretations. Yet, how close is too close? Does an audience’s distance from performers more fully realize or lessen sensorial images intended by their creator?
Does it matter?
I’m on a roll with questions. And there are more, like: what draws an audience to attend one event over another? Is it good marketing? Artistry? Affordability? Money certainly is a factor in making a decision on which event, or events, one can afford to attend. Access? Can someone in a wheelchair even enter the performance space?
No answers readily available here—open for discussion.
Happily, this is a time when moving bodies, and the events that showcase their artistry, are valued and seen in ways that past generations could never have imagined. This includes having audience embraced in a bar, museum, park, gallery, on the side of a buildings wall, and of course at theaters (inside and outside). Performers now have the opportunity to dance on Facebook or move in such close proximity that only inches separate the viewer from the performer. Dances are now crafted for one person’s pleasure or for hundreds of thousands, as in the case of online media.
Over the next two months, reflect on these questions, and your own, as you consider which events to attend: at spaces small, alternative and grand.
In this issue you will read about productions taking place at the San Francisco Opera House (SF Ethnic Dance Festival) and performance events that are being built for only 12 people (For You). Learn about outdoor events created in public parks that investigate how disabled and non-disabled performers are seen (Occupy). Then there are the festivals, which are part of an ever-expanding format that speaks to the power of coming together to share multiple viewpoints in one setting (Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival).
So, size, scale, magnitude, and intent does indeed matter because it plays an important role in gaining access to as many options to create and see dance in as many ways as we can imagine.
A final reflection on size: big is sometimes small, and small can lead to something bigger, therefore, size, like beauty, (cliché alert) lies in the eye of the beholder.
Dream Big and Hope Often.