After a long Monday at work, typing away in front of a computer on some cool projects, I made by way down to the Main City Library to see and document Diana Crum’s Yellow. The roughly 20 minute piece was shown at three times, 4:30pm, 5:30pm and 6:30pm. I reviewed the second showing. Crum was in town for a week as the first lovedancemore artist-in-residence.
Yellow was part erratic activity and part social experiment, while at the same time completely full of warmth. The piece was in a way an incomplete metamorphosis. Incomplete only in that the audience was at the end allowed to fill in their perspective about what the library’s open space had the possibility of being. Often site specific performances tend to spend more time developing movement about how they are affected by the space and completely neglect to feature the actual space. Yellow did what is a bit rare and more rewarding to watch, it brought attention to the library’s walkways in a manner that encouraged any witness of this event to imagine their own grande interactive possibilities within them.
Five hurling bodies, all wearing various shades and textures of the color yellow( hence the name of the piece), interrupt the vast walkway. Immediately, even in the disorganized craze that makes up the Library’s foyer, the attention of the intended and unintended audience is intrigued by this organized chaos. One after the other and then in their individual space each dancer moved in an irregular and unpredictable style across the floor, differing from the surrounding as if they had traveled a great distance to get to this location.
After the abrupt entrance into the public arena, the five bodies distributed evenly throughout the long atrium to face glass walls. Each one slowly starts gazing up, beyond the five levels, drawing our attention to something ambiguous yet personal. This moment in Yellow brought out some of the most vocal comments from visitors just barely entering the space: “What are they looking at?” ” What’s up there?” During this part of the public intervention all witnesses obediently looked up waiting for something to come from the obscure sky, with nothing being delivered- at least not yet. The tableau resembled a sociology study examining group behavior. As the duration of the dancers staring up increased, the number of witnesses joining them to look up multiplied.
What ensued was a series of solos and a duet dispersed throughout the open space and across multiple levels. Each observer had the option to actively engage in whichever micro-interaction was happening across this panoramic scene. If you were one of the observers surveying Ashley Anderson, then you witnessed as she walked up to a roll of pink construction paper propelled from four stories high. Reaping the benefit of actually seeing something come from above. Sam Hanson and Angela Gagliardi-Campos’ duet was an enigmatic promenade up and then down two flights of curling stairs. Cherie Mockli’s solo on the ground prompted a visitor to ask out-loud if she was having a seizure. I missed Mike Watkiss’ solo.
Before the five dancers exited the space they became an out-of-context huddled mass lifting and carrying each other toward one side of the building. Upon reaching the glass doors they jumped and tapped above the exit door sign. I thought I heard somebody shout,”Open the door for them!” The piece ended as it started. All five dancers in full force moving in an irregular and unpredictable manner. One after the other, all still wearing various shades and textures of yellow, they hurled their bodies in the opposite direction of the foyer, left through the west facing doors and out into the streets.
Half way through Yellow I was compelled to want to participate in the yellow splendor. To move and freeze as I desired in this towering and expansive lobby. To have ten rolls of pink construction paper propelled from the different levels above. To choose my favorite shade of yellow. To allow the natural quietness of libraries to silence my mouth and feel the excited warmth that radiates from this center of knowledge and for imagination.
Don’t feel like you missed this rare opportunity. When you visit the library this next time, just look way up, sit on the floor and run around really close to visitors. You might catch a glimpse of the moltings from the performance that invaded the area only to highlight the spaces and people that make their way between the books. Make sure to wear a shade of the color yel-
Photo Credit: Katie Meehan