Walk in Progress (excerpt)

Choreography and Performance by Dawn Kramer and Seán Curran
Video: Antony Flackett
Bass: John Clark
© 2001 Dawn Kramer and Seán Curran

"The highlight of the evening was Walk in Progress ...It's a wonder of media-mixing that explores, both thematically and technically, the distinction between illusion and reality: Curran and Kramer dance alone and together as projections. Kramer, live, teams up with the celluloid Curran. Their steps, literally worlds apart, are so in sync that he can actually bump her away with his derriere and send her flying...But there's more here than meets the eye; there's a story (in fact, two) that meets the heart. Walking - and the inability to walk - becomes a metaphor for risk and change."
--Thea Singer, The Boston Globe, Sept. 22, 2003

"Unlike some many-pronged would-be extravaganzas, this one turned out to be modest and satisfying, And even original. For the first part of the dance, Curran and Kramer appear on the screen with (bassist) Clark providing a lively rhythmic floor for their walking patterns. The dancers...seem to be riffing together the way old friends do...The rhythm changes...and the dancers embroider it with extra steps, syncopations, and internal accents. Curran suddenly falls with a shout, falls again, and keeps falling, in the first of several sequences where the video editors have cut and repeated the same image so fast you can pick up only a stutter. The effect is disconcerting. The dancers get wiped out and restored over and over again, as if foretelling and denying their own death. In between these visions, the duet resumes.
Kramer arrived in person and soon she was dancing a duet with the video'd Curran. This part worked exceptionally well...As they continued dancing, Kramer and Curran began two different stories in alternation. She talked about doing Tibetan meditation in slow motion; he told how his friend (dancer Homer Avila) was back working in the studio on crutches after having a leg amputated. One of them...had just remarked optimistically on doing "what's possible" when Curran strode toward the camera and with a giant step seemed about to dance through the screen, right into he audience. Blackout.
--Marcia B. Siegel, The Boston Phoenix, November 9, 2001
In addition to being a terrific choreographer and dancer, Sean Curran is a funny and wonderful guy! I really wanted to make a piece with him. He was up for it, but his extensive touring schedule made it impossible for us to perform live together. So I came up with the idea of him being my partner on video. The first five minutes or so of Walk in Progress is straight up video of him and me dancing together, projected life-size on a free-standing screen on stage. Then I exit the video frame, he solos a bit on screen; then I enter the actual stage (the first time the audience sees me live.) We continue to dance "together,"with me and the live bass player trying to rise to the challenge of synching our rhythms with Seán's idiosyncratic timing. At the end, we do a double monologue on walking (the movement basis for the whole piece). Seán talks about the challenges dancer/friend Homer Avila faced, when emerging from his leg amputation surgery. I talk about walking meditation. In the end, Seán runs towards the audience on screen and appears to leap over their heads.

 

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