Premiered March 7-8, 2014 at VSA North Fourth Art Center in Albuquerque, NM
Performed by: Buen Viaje dancers Theo Arellano, Grace Chacon, Bradd Howard, Megan Lenihan-Sisty, Cindy Luna, Jason Luna, Sammy Maldonado, Lydia Peterson, Diana Phillips, Tonya Rivera, Ryan Ruiz, April Steele, Sarah Wilson, and Bill Zimmer, with Cathy Weis, musician Lee Free and performer Ashley Brockington
VSA North Fourth Art Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico commissioned Weis to develop and premiere two new works in 2014. She collaborated with members of Buen Viaje, a mixed ability dance company that performs original choreography and presents participatory workshops for audiences of all ages and abilities throughout New Mexico and around the US.
The first new piece, My Name Is… is comprised of a series of crosses from stage right to left and back again. During rehearsals, each dancer recorded a simple self-introduction: “My name is ____ and I like _____.” This recording plays as the dancers take their first pass across the stage and serves to shed a little light the personality of each performer.
Each pass increases in both intricacy of movement and the complexity of the video projections. The dancers are always shown full figure in the video projections, adding dimension and perspective to the stage as well as to the audience’s view of each dancer.
In contrast, Dance With Me, the companion piece to My Name Is…, uses the camera to zoom in and isolate body parts in motion. Weis, holding a small camera, two-steps with dancer April Steele. The images are all in close up. Fingers wiggle and feet step, tap, shuffle with one dancer’s elaborate pedicure in sharp focus. Perspective suddenly flips as the camera points upwards, catching dancers under chin, stage lights high above. New partners cut in, bringing new rhythms and new steps to the stage and screen.
Weis and her camera serve as partner and observer, group member and commentator. The tightly zoomed image brings new context to movement and mobility. In contrast, My Name Is…, the companion piece to Dance With Me, keeps the camera at a wide angle, presenting each dancer in full figure. The two pieces work together to recognize the individuality and vitality in each performer.