No I’m not talking about a drunken night at the club. Dudley Flores (that’s him in the flyer above), a professional dancer with the Printz Dance Project and my beloved Rhythm and Motion dance instructor literally explains below how on earth he plans to dance on an elevated, constantly tipping and tilting stage in Printz’s upcoming performance, Hover Space. Have you ever tried to do anything on a Bosu ball? Yes, and you stumbled off it almost immediately, cursing the malevolent gym prop up and down? Well try dancing on one that’s moving around underneath you—which is how Dudley describes it—with perfect form.
Check out a sneak preview of the show in the YouTube video below. Hover Space opens Wednesday, November 30 and runs through December 3 at Zspace in San Francisco. Buy Hover Space tickets here. And read on to find out exactly how dancing on a slanted stage works.
1. Is it true you’re never dancing on level ground for the entire show?
The dancers in the show represent people, unseen forces, and ideas about life and love. Sometimes the message is clear, and sometimes it’s more of an abstract thought. For the most part, my character’s relationship with another person is troubled, rocky and uncertain. The moving platform, which we call “the deck” represents a place where we find things about ourselves and others. It hovers in the middle ground, between the extremes, in the juicy, rich spaces where life really happens. My character never finds contentment, joy or settling and so my character never gets to dance on the deck when it’s level. Others do, but I don’t.
2. Whose idea was the crazy elevated moving platform?
Stacey Printz had this idea and presented it to the company about a year and a half ago. She conceived of a moving set piece that represented the extreme places in life….the places between here and there, between life and death, etc. A giant hover floor was the ultimate outcome and with the help of set designer, Sean Riley, the set piece became a reality.
3. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to learn to dance on that thing… Can you describe briefly how you your approach had to be different from rehearsing for a typical (non-moving stage) show? Was it as hard/harder than you thought it would be?
We say that the deck is another dance partner in the show because like dancing with a partner, we had to figure out how it moves, and how it reacts to our bodies when we move with it. Dancing on the deck when it’s level is still like dancing on a bosu ball because it sways side to side and still moves under your feet—so figuring out how to stabilize and balance on it is a challenge. When tilted, it’s like dancing on a raked stage (often used for theater), or a San Francisco hill. Finding where my center of gravity on a tilted stage is a challenge in itself. The other challenge for me, will be knowing and accepting the fact that I may slip and stumble in performance. Making those stumbles look like part of the choreography is a challenge, but it also enhances the ideas of struggle, uneasiness and troubled situations.
4. Does the movement of the platform convey something about the message of the show? Like emotionally maybe?
The deck is a physical representation of those in-between moments in life. The place between life and death, the moments inside of a relationship, and the interactions between people. It’s a place of uncertainty, but it’s also a place where, once settled in it, a space of fulfillment and joy…whether alone or with others.
November 30 through December 3, 2011 8pm
Z Space @ Theater Artaud
450 Florida / SF, CA 94110
Buy tickets here!