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Contemporary Investigation Number 1 – Jose ‘Jay’ B Cruz

August 17, 2009

The stage is set with three light bulbs, each set up on their own stand in non linear positions. Jay (video: from his group Dancing Wounded) comes on stage and lights one, the music begins and he starts dancing. The music is Steve Reich’s Violin Phase:

It is absolutely striking and minimalist and beautiful and repetitive, all aspects that Jay places into his performance. With the light source limited, his arms moved with such speed and precision to only form blurs of movement. Some would have liked to see his legs move, and they did at rare moments, but that would be like asking Steve Reich to play a few trumpets. As the dance progressed, Jay went to the other two lights and in turn brightened the dance space just a little bit more, continuing his phrases.

Credit: Arthur Fink Photography

Credit: Arthur Fink Photography

At the end he stood in the corner, unzipped his brain (figuratively with movement) and spoke the names and influences he had encountered at the festival: Bebe Miller, Michael Foley, Tania Isaac, just to name a few, as well as Bates Dance Festival ‘two oh oh nine’ and the two seemingly least related to the festival: the first, ‘Multilateralism’,  and the last, ‘Filipino.’ Jay, coming from the Philippines, created this piece in America and with the help of funds/lodging/inspiration from both. The light slowly increasing with each light bulb, alluded to how this cross-national influencing can brighten and broaden the space in which we think, live and create art.

What did you think of this piece? Did it remind you of anyone/anything else?

How do you feel about minimalism and how little is too little? Or do you just revel in it?

Do you know any other choreographers from the Philippines and what they are doing?

What kind of lampshade would you have put on the lights?

Different Voices, August 7th, 2009
Schaeffer Theatre, Bates Dance Festival
Bates College, Lewiston, Maine

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