We were lucky enough to perform as part of the Arden Theatre’s First Friday series this past October and when we got the footage (shot by the talented Jorge Cousineau) we knew we had to share it. Hope you enjoy it and feel free to tell us what you think!
We are excited to have been offered an opportunity to perform “The Third Shift” again at the Arden Theatre as part of their First Friday Performance Series. If it was difficult for you to make it out to Kensington for our Philadlephia Fringe performance in early September we hope you can join us this Friday (details below).
To get you pumped about the piece we’ve also created a short preview from some footage shot of the warehouse version. Remember that we were dancing in and around paintings, sculptures and installations created by 25 artists and it was pretty hard to keep us all in the frame so I apologize for the few shaky camera moments.
Arden Theatre: 40 N. 2nd, Old City Philadelphia
Performing on Friday October 5th at 6:30pm, 7:00pm and 7:30pm
By Sara Nye, Dancer
Looking back on our first performance of “The Third Shift” as part of the Make it. Break it. Rebuild it. Philly Fringe series this past Saturday, I can’t help but wonder in how many professions one is expected to create something and then destroy it, or forget about it, or make it different, or save it for later.
As a dance-maker, and in many other creative pursuits – theater, music, writing – that kind of thing happens all the time during the creation process. The first thing you make is not necessarily the best thing for that particular moment. Revision often makes the best work. However, much of the work we explored in “The Third Shift” was work that took place in factories. Physical tasks that people would commit to for their shift, at the end of which would be a product that would then go out into the world, a whole thing, a built object. Why then approach this kind of work during a performance series with the theme of rebuilding, of change?
When we learned that the venue was formerly Pieri Creations, a lamp designer at Front and Oxford Streets, Gina was interested in what else the factory had housed. We knew it would eventually be turned into apartments, but what did it used to be? The answer? A glue manufacturer, dye manufacturer, hosiery mill, and wool mill. And for a short time, it will be a performance venue and art gallery. We started to think about ways to represent how people had rebuilt this warehouse space over the years.
In “The Third Shift” we are always changing our definition of work. At times we are helpful to each other, fully supporting each others’ weight in order to traverse the space as a group. At other points we move together but separately, each taking responsibility for his or her own body and how it moves through space, unencumbered, unassisted. There is even a section where three dancers walk forward at an unrelenting pace, challenging a fourth dancer to keep the bodies at bay. In doing so, we imagine the lives of the people who have worked in the space, people who did some heavy lifting, got lost in repetitive specific individual tasks, were tired by goals that challenged the amount of work they could complete in one hour, in one day. We try to look like many people at once. Though we are indeed dancers, and must therefore look like people who are dancing, we want to pay homage to the history of workers who passed through these doors and be honest with what we would look like doing physical work, without too much flourish or embellishment.
In the new duet that Gina and I made we attempt to mechanize ourselves in an effort to access a memory of the pulsing, churning, machinery that used to live in this old factory. This was not often an easy task, for we didn’t want to look too hard or alien, our faces blank and cold. We merely wanted to look less like humans using machinery and more like the machines themselves, things with a clear purpose that communicate in a different way than humans do. We asked ourselves what a bottle filler looked like, a dyer, a hosiery weaver, a wool stretcher. As the duet progresses, we become more and more human as we create a machine of our own that combines all of these processes. In doing so, we ultimately make something that makes our jobs obsolete, and we bow out, leaving the building to be whatever it will be next.
My hope is that by physicalizing jobs that have disappeared from this building in particular and the Kensington neighborhood in general, we will help create a memory that will linger in the space, no matter what kind of condos fill it it in the future.
We have one more FREE performance of “The Third Shift” on Saturday 9/15 at 7:00pm. For directions and more information click here.
First performance this past Saturday went even better than expected. The space was as huge as I remembered but this time it was filled with wonderful art for us to dance through and an audience who thoughtfully gave us their full attention.
A quick picture to whet your appetite:
Gina (left) and Sara performing their new duet in “The Third Shift”
Remember the show is FREE FREE FREE and we are next performing on Saturday 9/15 at 7pm at Pieri Creations, a warehouse at Oxford and Front.
By Gina Hoch-Stall, choreographer
“The Third Shift” is a brand spanking new piece by RLPiM for a FREE Philadelphia Fringe Festival performance in a raw warehouse space in Kensington. The performance is called “Make it. Break it. Rebuild it.” and it focuses on the process of creation, demolition and reconstruction in all of its forms.
There are a lot of art makers involved (over 20) and the majority are material-based artists but seven of us are choreographers/dancers and each performance will showcase three of our site specific pieces.
If you think this sounds intriguing, so did I when I was approached about participating in mid-July. Since I was out of town at the time (down in D.C. doing the Dance Exchange Intensive) we essentially had one month to make a brand new dance that would:
a) Fit the theme of the show.
b) Be appropriate for a raw warehouse space with a hard concrete floor, minimum lighting and an audience that could get up and go to the bar at any time.
c) Represent our own choreographic explorations (currently centered on jobs/work).
d) Not look like a hot mess.
Did I mention that of the four dancers involved (myself included) two were going on vacation/work related travel for most of the month? Whew!
But the good news is that we have done it! We have made an athletic quartet that focuses on the warehouse as a place of work (glue, wool, stockings, lamps and dye have all been made in this space in the past 200 years). Interviews and stories from the book, “Voices of Kensington” Vanishing Mills, Vanishing Neighborhoods,” by Jean Seder have inspired our movement creation: incorporating heavy lifting, gestures honed by the precision of repetition and echoes of workers who once used the space to feed their families and fill their days.
We are excited to share what we’ve created and get some helpful feedback as we plan to incorporate some of this material into our ‘Jobs Project’ moving forward. All the details about the show are below, hope to see you there!
“The Third Shift” part of Make it. Break it. Rebuild it.
Where: Pieri Creations, Oxford and Front Street
When: Saturday Sept 8 @ 6:30pm AND Saturday Sept 15 @ 7pm
How much: FREE!