Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-10-18
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

ENCORE Jessica Ray, Jenn Freeman return for solo performances
by Joanna Furnans
2017-07-19

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Next month, independent dance artists Jessica Ray and Jenn "Po'Chop" Freeman will deliver encore solo performances in a shared weekend bill at Links Hall. Having premiered their work in June as part of Links Hall's Co-MISSION residency program, the artists have the opportunity to show their work again for audiences who missed the successful mini-festival the first time around.

( Note: The author of this article was also a participating choreographer in the Co-MISSION Residency program with Jessica Ray, Jenn "Po' Chop" Freeman and Darling Shear. )

Distinctly different in perspective and aesthetic, the two works share themes of embodied memory. Ray's work explores the memory of a passing moment through an exquisitely executed improvisation while Freeman uses memories of her grandfather to conjure and reconcile complicated and electrifying versions of herself. Both pieces demonstrate risk and vulnerability alongside displays of physical prowess.

It is a bold choice to dance alone on an empty stage with no music to fill the air or help pass the time. Yet that is the choice

Ray makes in her work "All That I Remember." In the program notes Ray writes, "In the absence of music we can follow this wherever it goes. The time we have will be sufficient." Indeed, the time of this performance seems to pass perfectly; not too long, not too short. The reason for this temporal success has everything to do with Ray's remarkably unselfconscious stage presence. Like a practiced meditator, she is distinctly "in the moment" on stage and does not cower under the pressure of the circumstance. She takes respectful ownership of time and space by simply allowing herself the entire room, the heaviness of the silence, and the expectant gaze of the audience as the essential structure for the work. As she performs, Ray mentally and physically remembers her improvised movements. She tracks her dancing and the audience tracks her tracking. Silently, she invites people to watch with a level of attachment equal to hers: honest, curious, lite and instinctual.

What sets Ray apart from other practitioners of improvised dance performance is that there is no apparent indulgence of her personal sensory experience. There is no performed devotion of internal feeling—no potent execution of breath and no artificial importance inferred in moments of stillness. People may feel they are not watching a dancer enjoying herself dancing ( although that very well might be the case ). Instead, people may witness a dancer execute physical pathways that may or may not inherently make sense to her. Every movement achieved appears both deliberate and by chance. The meaning of the work, if one must be deciphered, involves the profundity of a body taking up space, of seeing and being seen, and staying aware of one's actions from one fleeting moment to the next.

In contrast, Freeman offers an expression of character, an evocative suggestion of environment and a rousing soundtrack in her solo "Dynamite." For this work, the audience is seated on the stage in a semicircle facing a lone wooden rocking chair and a single light bulb dangling from the rafters, slightly aglow. The lighting design, by Giau Troung, aims to warm the space by providing the sense that it is hot and stuffy and that time is sluggishly plodding along. Freeman emerges in a pale burlap-looking suit complete with suspenders and a tie. She moves around the stage defining the space with slow and sensuous movement over here, a sharp turn of the head and a suspicious gaze over there and a deliberate shove of the rocking chair to instigate its motion. All the while, the audience is listening to the soundtrack of a preacher's sermon.

Program notes compliment these aural and visual cues stating, "he was a man. born dec 26, 1931. his name was haywood harris junior. they called him dynamite. i called him grandad"—leading to the possible depiction of a male ancestor on a female-bodied relative. Is she possessed by him or is she channeling his energy towards her own self-possession? Later, the audience is jolted into the present day by a mix of loud, pounding house music and a bout of unhinged physicality from Freeman. As she convulses, shakes, jumps and shocks, it's as if she molts the figure of her grandfather to emerge as the young, complex and fierce person that she is.

Freeman is also know as "Po'Chop," a queer Black burlesque performer with a national reputation for delivering traditional burlesque tropes with a political spin. However, "Dynamite" demonstrates dance without the burlesque formula and technique.

The Co-MISSIONS Residency Encore Performances will take place on Saturday-Monday, Aug. 12-14, at 7 p.m. at Links Hall, 3111 N. Western Ave.; visit LinksHall.org .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

DANCIN' FEATS The 'Play' is the thing 2017-10-18 - By Joanna Furnans In a few weeks, Faye Driscoll and her cast of performers will return to the Museum of Contemporary Art ...


Gay News

Queer partner dance debuts with SWITCH: Chicago 2017-10-17 - Imagine a safe space for LGBTQIA folks to partner dance free from traditional binary roles. That is what SWITCH: Chicago aims to provide ...


Gay News

DANCIN' FEATS A kinesthetic anthropologist and his movement specialists 2017-09-27 - Next month, the Brooklyn-based Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group will return to the Dance Center of Columbia College to perform "CITIZEN" ( ...


Gay News

Black Ensemble Theater to premiere Living The Black Renaissance 2017-09-26 - CHICAGO, IL — Black Ensemble Theater continues the 2017 Season ( The Dance Theater Season ) with the World Premiere of Living The ...


Gay News

Dance for Life raises $233,000+ for dancers with critical health and life issues 2017-09-22 - Chicago Dancers United ( CDU ), which mobilizes Chicago's dance community by raising funds through dance, welcomed nearly 2,300 guests at the 26th ...


Gay News

NUNN ON ONE: TELEVISION Rumer Willis spins tunes and tales at Hard Rock 2017-09-20 - Actres/singer Rumer Willis has carved out a strong career on her own, apart from being the daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore. ...


Gay News

FALL DANCE PREVIEW Innovation abounds this fall 2017-09-13 - Chock full of innovative performances by local independent dance makers as well as opportunities to see new work from some of the most ...


Gay News

Auditorium to mark 50th anniv. with dance companies 2017-09-13 - On Sunday, Nov. 12, at 7:30 p.m., the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy., will commemorate the 50th anniversary of its grand reopening ...


Gay News

People react swiftly to DeVos' changing Title IX guidance 2017-09-11 - The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) was among those groups and individuals who expressed concern over the decision by U.S. Secretary of ...


Gay News

PFLAG responds to DeVos' planned change to campus sexual assault guidance 2017-09-08 - WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, PFLAG National—the nation's largest and oldest organization uniting families and allies with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer ...


 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.