Friday, July 5, 2013

I had promised to not write a review

They sat us in a line by Andréa de Keijzer/Je suis Julio. Photo by Jeremy Mimnagh.
The second night of ps: We Are All Here passed last night. I continue to find the festival refreshing, just so, and it's burrowing a little spot I think inside (me) where it will maintain a good home. 

What makes it so enchanting?

This is the first edition of a cool, young thing. It's almost a secret. A dance speakeasy.
You have to find the space. I mean you really have to go look for it. Sterling Road, you know. Artistic hotbed. The only sensible way to get there is to bike. When you've found or created a parking spot, you walk three-quarters of the way around an ugly squat building (kitty-corner to the mysterious draped sand dunes) to suddenly stroll into an obscure, blessedly friendly-looking triangular patch of lithe, smiling people, the occasional baby, dog or kitten slinking between bare summer legs. 

In the alley or pseudo-backyard, Katya Kuznetsova presides over a small table, to which a kind of abstract representation of two lines cling (Pick-up & Purchase). Let's play Festival-Going. A little stamp set of cartoonish characters mark impressions on your pink slip of a photocopied ticket. 
"This is a pass. Bring it back & we'll stamp it each night."
Indeed, why should Festivals be stuffy and full of official, formal pomp? 

The casual organization is endearing, and very hip.

A petite sky-blue garage door guards entry to the studio. We wait before this cute little gateway by the tree stumps that double as stools for you and me, and platform for Kate Nankervis who, nightly, stands atop a stump to gently remind all and one, 
"Don't smoke by these pipes. They're full of natural gas."
Across the way, a tangle of tomato plants, orange nasturtiums and bergamot (or perhaps a weed?)... still in this same secret corner, a few trees, a hammock, an open door to someone's home, ostensibly. 

It's almost impressionistic. Casual edges here and there that suggest the generic features of a Festival. Sometimes we sit in chairs, other times on the floor, then get up and roam about with the performer. Theatrical lighting. Projectors. Sound could be better. No program book. An oversized, wall-mounted program poster in 3 parts, elegantly designed with a clever map of production photographs. 

And then, there is the dance. (But this is no review.)

Contemporary, yes. Well-curated. Dance for the theatrical folk. Dance for conceptual folk. Dance for dancers. Dance for participation. Dance for sensual types. It makes you dance. And great stories behind the works. 
a map of light years by Heidi Strauss. Photo by Amanda Acorn.

Each night, two different pieces. No one is rushed or squeezed. There is time between works to drink, converse, break, and yet not so much time that the night is needlessly over-stretched. 

It's a pleasant, human experience. The informality, an enchanting tension between order and no order, makes it. We live and breathe with the show. 

Yes, it is warm, and wouldn't it be nice if we could keep that sky door open. But the common suffering, slight as it is, embraces us collectively - places us all in the same room at the same time together. We sense - subconsciously - how much we Are it. 

With so few - and virtually transparent - features to mark the occasion, the performances are illuminated by our rapt attention. 

This is A Show because we too, are all here. 

Go on, get out to ps: We Are All Here. You'll be sorry if you miss it. 


Helen Yung is an interdisciplinary artist. She also consults. She writes periodically at

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