Nature Stalling


Click on the photograph to see Nature Stalling

Nature Stalling (1994) was originally choreographed as a trio and in its first incarnation it was performed at Links Hall, Chicago. The dancers were Carrie Hanson, Rebecca Rossen and myself. For Nature Stalling’s very fist performance I had envision a plastic wall, which would divide the performance space in half upstage to downstage. My plan was to create an abstract painting on the plastic wall. I did not take into account the seams in the plastic wall. So when I Jackson Pollock like flung the paint onto the plastic canvas it burst through the seams covering the downstage performance floor and the audience sitting in the front row in a splattering of green and blue paint. Carrie and Rebecca had to navigate the freshly dappled painted floor. I remember the three of us desperately trying to keep our composure as we persisted through the remainder of the performance. By the performances end we were covered head to toe in paint. Sadly there is no document of that first performance but it will forever live on in my memory as one of the more hysterically funny moments in live performance. At the end of the performance Bob Eisen, The director of Links Hall back then, who was not laughing, (he had been sitting in the front row) simply said clean it up.

Due to scheduling conflicts Nature Stalling was transformed into a duet. Carrie Hanson and I performed the duet version of Nature stalling for several seasons throughout Chicago. I also set the dance and performed it with Risa Steinburg and Dawn Stoppiello. While setting the dance on Risa we had the good fortune of having Bebe Miller direct a rehearsal. After having received performance notes Bebe gently said that the end of the dance did not feel right. The moment that she spoke the words I knew she was right. The end version that Carrie and I had been performing, for a couple of years, consisted of me simply rolling away into the darkness while Carrie stayed softly lit through a fade out. I thought long and hard about the end of the dance and nothing would come. My brain felt stuck. Then one morning while soaking in a bath the new end flashed into my brain. I would roll into a down pool of light (a special), stand, and blow a kiss. Then the light would black out on me while the female performer turned toward the blown kiss only to find me gone. Black out the end. Bebe was so right and I’m so grateful to have received her encouragement to fine the end. Consistently, at the “new” end of Nature Stalling there is an audible sigh from the audience. As an artist that moment of causing a spontaneous collective response within an audience feels so very gratifying. The only thing more satisfying was the actual dancing of the dance with the amazing women whom performed the work with me.


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