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13 X 13 – Peter Pucci / PETER PUCCI PLUS

September 22, 2009

The floor is marked with white tape, creating a 13 foot by 13 foot square. Taylor Donofrio stands in white underwear and a white sports bra while the intensely bright stage lights expose every bit of the scene. The music is from Shotts & Dykehead Scottish Fife and Drum Corps. A video of their rehearsal can be found here. Close your eyes and turn up your volume until it is nearly uncomfortable and it should take you right back to this dance. Taylor moves viciously within her box, unable to penetrate the boundaries, both because of some invisible force and because her body seems to be disconnected from her brain. Her hands grab at her face and her legs move her along the edge. She is horrified.

At some points the dancing was more of a convulsive repetitious rage with her hands flinging her hair and scratching her head. The rapidity of the drum taps and rolls created so much unintelligible noise that while Taylor tried with every effort to escape her enclosure it sounded as if people were murmuring or having a soft conversation from within the audience. Not only were we looking down at this nearly naked helpless woman whose every feature was acutely lit, but it felt as if we were talking about her, examining her, judging her actions, and as audience members, we certainly were. One could even argue that the fourth wall was subtly broken. After trying relentlessly to jump out of the top or crawl out the side, Taylor just stumbles forward out of the box and glances up at the audience with the same look of surprise and fear. Her escape does not seem to have relieved her.

This dance was first performed in 1990 by Peter Pucci himself. The New York Times reviewed it on January 20th of that year: Review/Dance; Exploring the Extremes of Looming and Oozing.

How did you feel while watching Taylor dance?

Were you affected by the drumming?

What did you take from her expression at the end?

Would you ever consider living in a 13′ x 13′ space?

American Dance Guild Performance Festival
September 12th, 2009 (Evening Performance)
Manhattan Movement & Arts Center
New York City, New York

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