FlucT Dance Company, with music by Salamander Wool
At the penthouse gallery through June 30
It’s in the way we gaze that 1,000-yard stare after receiving crushing news. Or it’s the glances we cast and the body language we project when trying to attract someone. As humans, we have a seemingly infinite supply of facial expressions, physical poses, and movements by which we can convey . . . something. Anything. It is our most basic yet confusing form of communication, and we spend a great deal of our lives wondering, What exactly did that mean?
The experimental dance group FlucT has put together a performance that seeks to look deeper into the physical manifestations of our emotions. Inspired by local noise musician Salamander Wool’s Solar Solipsis, an album that conceptually follows the arc of the sun and explores a day on Earth through sound, FlucT asks whether humans are hardwired to make meaning from movement.
“I think it’s about, or can be about, trying to find one’s physical response to the things we feel in the everyday,” Monica Mirabile, a member of FlucT, says.
“Usually, physically, people are very regulated and self-monitored by what society has trained them to be,” Sigrid Lauren, another member of FlucT, says, sitting in her Copy Cat loft space with Mirabile and Carson Garhart, the musician behind the Salamander Wool moniker.
Garhart’s work pulls from influences as disparate as electronic music, movie soundtracks, jazz, and techno (sans four-on-the-floor beats) to create eclectic, sparse soundscapes that throw the listener into a dystopian take on our modern world—a world experienced in one day as the sun courses across the sky.
For Garhart, the sun’s path was both a way to thread everything together and to present richer imagery.
“I think of the symbol of solar energy as being outwards and active,” Garhart says. “The idea was to create an album that was outwardly expressed more than my other music.”
Solar Solipsis immediately struck a chord with Lauren and Mirabile, who would sit back-to-back, listening to the album and free associating, writing down words or images that immediately came to mind. Lauren says they were both moved by the music and “saw this visual arc to it.”
But it was Stewart Mostofsky, owner and operator of the label that released the album, Ehse Records, who came up with the idea of creating a show based on the record.
“The music on the album always felt very visual for me, conjuring imagery that is cinematic/theatrical,” Mostofsky says. “And there are a lot of strange pulses, so it creates a sense of moving through this alien, yet strangely familiar, world. I get a similar feeling when watching Sigrid and Monica; their performance has this odd freakish beauty; their movements are often unnatural, almost inhuman, yet they are human, so their movements are, of course, natural,” Mostovsky explains. “So FlucT seemed an obvious fit to help realize a visual form of the alien-familiar sense you get from listening to the record.”
Lauren and Mirabile created concepts based on the songs and invited five other choreographers to listen to the tracks and further develop the pieces, which will be performed by a cast of 19 that includes artists of all disciplines. There isn’t much of a narrative plot, per se, and a lot of the dancing isn’t dancing in the traditional sense so much as an examination of motion.
That said, there are three reoccurring characters representing different manifestations of human feelings. And they, along with the other performers, confront the audience, twisting and contorting their faces and shifting between motions that, visually, come off as polar opposites.
“They represent these emotions but they also represent the watchers,” Mirabile says. “They’ll come onstage and just stare, or have a conversation with body movement.”
This puts some members of the audience out of their comfort zones, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Lauren and Mirabile both agree they want this show to serve as a mirror, a way for the viewers to find something out about themselves.
“It has a lot to do with emotion and human essence, the idea of being human,” says Lauren.
“Human interaction,” Mirabile adds. “But also, how you interact with the self.”