Dancers Erin Carlisle Norton and Joyelle Fobbs interpret Pryings as a fully embodied performance existing between a dance and a struggle for power. Watch an excerpt of the original work by Vito Acconci here. Performed June 7, 2012, at the Ohio State University.
Erin Carlisle Norton is Artistic Director of The Moving Architects (TMA), a Chicago-based dance company founded in 2007. As an artist, she seeks to channel research of places, structures, their histories, and associated cultural transformations into choreography, exploring the embodiment of past and distant spaces in the heightened presence of live performance. Erin holds a BFA in Dance from Ohio State, is a Certified Movement Analyst and Pilates Instructor, and is soon to complete her MFA in Dance at Ohio State. TMA has performed and taught at universities, dance studies, and community centers throughout Chicago, the Midwest, PA, NYC, Guatemala, upcoming in Morocco, and throughout Central Asia through the U.S. Embassy/Department of State. Erin’s current choreographic research is delving into how cross-cultural dance experiences can be translated into creative choreographic processes.
In June I was so happy to be able to finish a video project I started with Alicia Chester and Andrea Slavik earlier in the year – a reinterpretation of Acconci’s “Pryings” Two 12-minute takes consisted of being painted, dabbed, and scrubbed with gold paint by my dancing partner, Joy. In a chair-sized space, it was a rather incredible and rigorous set of states I flinched and converged through – it was all about a physical set of responses to the intimate struggle. Escaping, fighting, trying to rise above it, giving in, passivity, numbness, coming up with ‘games’ to get away; I am used to pushing my dancers to go in this direction. To be on the inside for that amount of time, knowing a filmic lens was on me, was empowering/exhausting/resourceful/raw. What was really interesting to me was that the only way I could be part of the struggle was through the physicality of it – as if my body knew how to approach the task far better than my rational mind. This project profoundly informed my interest in making and watching dance that is about being real and making choices in the moment – an example of trusting that a life of ingrained dance training can make intentional projects like this so fulfilling.
– Erin Carlisle Norton
Joyelle Fobbs trained in ballet under private coach, Elzbieta A. Kutek in Michigan and later at American Ballet Theatre (ABT), Kirov Academy, Julliard and the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) schools. She then toured across the U.S. and Europe as a member of both the DTH Company and Ensemble under Arthur Mitchell and Lavine Naidu respectively. She later attended the University of Michigan receiving her BFA in dance performance with honors and was featured as a soloist in works by Alonzo King and Martha Graham. After graduating, she performed with the Michigan Opera Theatre, Dayton Ballet, and Dayton Contemporary Dance Company II. Joyelle is a fully certified STOTTPilates® and ABT National Curriculum certified instructor on faculty at BalletMet Columbus. She is currently an MFA candidate in dance history and pedagogy at the Ohio State University and enjoys collaborating as a guest artist for Erin Carlisle Norton’s Chicago-based dance company, The Moving Architects.
Working on this project with Erin and Alicia was an a-mazing thrill ride. Alicia really knew how to make us feel at ease and have the freedom to experiment, but she also kept us on track and had the ability to capture the moments of contrast we were creating: both beauty and angst. I remember it was pretty hot outside and the studio had no air conditioning, Erin and I were finishing up assignments for grad school, and I was moving the next day–such is the craziness of life–but each of us was so focused and 100% “in it” that time flew by and things came together almost seamlessly. After dancing in PLUCK for Erin, I also knew to be prepared when dancing one of her pieces–that there would be some sort of psychological realization coming to the fore. Sometimes it’s ugly or glorious, perhaps scary even, but it’s most of all revealing and raw without actually trying to be, if that makes sense! Which is so much a part of the fun! I also, never knew quite how much I loved metallic Ben Nye Makeup until the day of the shoot! I used to do retail makeup, but that stuff is amazing! I was like a kid in a sand box! So, thanks Alicia and Erin for the opportunity to be a part of the art-making with you, and I really hope people enjoy it.
– Joyelle Fobbs