The Museum of Modern Art SOLO
Performance and artwork by Laura Peterson
October 13 @1:45PM Judson Memorial Church
55 Washington Square Park
Laura will perform her dance SOLO as part of MoMA’s exhibition Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done (through February 3, 2019). SOLO will be performed as part of the public event at Judson Memorial Church – the site of early post-modernist choreographers, artists, and composers who abandoned traditional methods of making dance and by opening the door to radical experimentation remain highly influential to choreographers today. Judson continues to support artists in many ways including the Stuffed Arts program, which presented SOLO in 2016.
About the event: “Judson Dance Theater Reassembled” is a day-long presentation and part of MoMA’s “Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done” exhibit and event cycle. This program includes films, performances, and discussion- and a free lunch at 1pm.
Admission to the event is free. More details about this program including schedule at this MoMA calendar link.
This summer Laura Peterson Choreography received a commission and residency from the Jamaica Center for the Arts and Learning (JCAL) to begin her evening-length dance and installation called Paper Room. Using origami paper-folding techniques with 1300 square feet of bright, white paper the dancers move in staccato cycles of continuous movement while changing the environment throughout the dance.
Paper Room is based around a larger concept – our shared American experience of never really knowing the full story in any situation. It is about half-truths and manipulation of viewpoint. This dance is at the beginning of its development and this is part one: Paper Room: Fold/Unfold. Performed by Nicole Wolcott, Darrin Wright, Jordan Demetrius Lloyd, and Laura Peterson. Join us.
Making Failure involved a different kind of process than I have embarked on before. We were given a commission by Temple University in Philadelphia called Reflection/Response which involved a long and open residency in the Temple University dance department studios and in October 2012 Failure was produced in the Conwell Dance Theater in Philadelphia.
I decided to rehearse in New York in April and May and take my company to Philadelphia for 4-6 days per month in June, July and August and then we would meet in September to run our dance and put on some finishing touches. This was a different schedule because while in Philadelphia we rehearsed all day long; our dancing days were from 10AM-6PM. Generally, I rehearse for many more months with shorter rehearsals, and in the case of Wooden we worked for 2 years. This process was so fast. I decided to embrace it and make fast decisions. I decided to trust my instincts and not analyze my choices for very long. Just follow the development without judging every decision.
We improvised for many hours, for many days, for weeks, really. We performed epic improvised solos about the feelings of failure in the body for each other. We reconstructed improvisations from video. We tried to create a dance we could not do. To access the psychological state of failure and allow our dance to reflect this experience was also very different for me. I generally remain so abstract as to remove emotional content from my dances. As a company we decided to consider the premiere an experiment, rather than a finished work. While we were dancing the immediacy of the physical choices and the in-performance timing decisions created a kind of relationship with the audience that was palpable and electric. I could sense them closely.
I set out to make a set design that could collapse during the performance. This proved difficult. I had a lot of ideas about the weight of the structure, the size and the material. The set evolved from an initial idea of a 2-story structure that the dancers could inhabit, but that would collapse at a certain point in the dance. As I began to develop movement and work on the engineering problems I realized that the original idea of an inhabitable set design was not feasible and wasn’t really going to achieve the concept that I was going for. I wanted to express the idea of failure in the body. I wanted to explore the journey toward physical failure and I knew that the set must also collapse but I realized that for this dance if the set design was two stories high, we would have to sacrifice the expansive movement I was interested in. So, I let the idea evolve. I had conversations with Jon Pope ,who is our production manager, about how to achieve a collapsing set and he reminded me that the weight of the materials would be critical toward installing the set for rehearsal and performance. I realized that it was important to make something very tall and if it was going to be created and broken many times, it would have to be made out of light-weight and affordable materials that were easy to acquire and transport. Paper. It became paper and wood frames and staples and screws.