Evaluate: Nathan Griswold’s good «Tile» a mosaic of reminiscence, humor and pleasure

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What do audiences bear in mind a few dance efficiency? Not all of it, for positive. They most likely go away with a common sense of what they’ve seen and should recall a selected sequence, a gesture, or the motion high quality of a specific dancer. Every particular person will bear in mind it in another way. And the way properly will the reminiscence survive the drive dwelling, fixing dinner, feeding the cat?

The plasticity of reminiscence was the subject of Nathan Griswold’s good dance theater work Tile at Windmill Arts Heart final weekend. The Sunday viewers comprised a who’s who of Atlanta’s dance group, no less than one in all whom had seen the piece Friday, was blown away by it, and got here again for a repeat viewing.

Nathan Griswold
Leo Briggs in a second of stillness (Photograph by Amber Kirchner)

Two and a half years within the making, Tile is a compact mosaic of dynamic motion, spoken phrase, video and a soundscore by Ptar that sweeps from loud digital rumbling to lyrical sweetness and again once more.

The 75-minute work is creative and thought-provoking and poses as many questions on reminiscence because it solutions. It was fantastically carried out Sunday by Walter Apps, Leo Briggs, Jenna Latham, Darvensky Louis and Christina J. Massad. All of them collaborated with Griswold, who’s a co-founder of the Fly on a Wall arts platform and a former dancer with Atlanta Ballet.

So what do I bear in mind? For starters, the enigmatic grasp of ceremonies (collaborator Nicholas Goodly), whose picture flickered and twitched on a small TV, inviting us to sit down and get comfy; and Briggs’ gorgeous opening solo, with its clean turns, propulsive ground work, sharply etched extensions and mild, sudden moments of stillness. All carried out in silence.

I bear in mind Briggs’ dialog with the on-screen-only Goodly, who requested how Briggs was in a position to bear in mind their solo, and what it felt like. Of their revealing and humorous response, Briggs stated the realized repetition of motion was like bartending, and that dancing was each “ridiculous enjoyable” and intense pleasure however not so good as masturbation.

I bear in mind a dynamic motion sequence punctuated by the dancers repeatedly pushing one another right into a linear tableau, linked, however every in a distinct place. Was the tableau precisely the identical every time? Or did reminiscence trick us into considering it was? Ultimately we might see it change — to a softer fall, a gentler connective contact, a mere whisper of its first iteration.

I bear in mind Briggs and Latham enjoying a kids’s hand clapping recreation, and Latham operating across the area like a child excessive on sunshine and ice cream.

It could be onerous to neglect the part the place Goodly gave Apps rapid-fire motion directions — put your arms right here, head there, hand behind the left knee — in ever quicker and extra advanced sequences, which Apps carried out with care and readability.

Likewise, Goodly’s story about working within the kitchen and listening to their child fall off the espresso desk within the adjoining room. The primary time Goodly informed it, they stated they have been listening to John Coltrane. The second time, it was Philip Glass. And what about when Massad was interrogated about her date the earlier evening and the small print stored altering? That darn reminiscence.

These have been a couple of of the plain references to reminiscence I noticed on Sunday. However this can be a rigorously structured work and I believe there have been many extra delicate references, maybe identified solely by the dancers or by viewers who noticed the work greater than as soon as.

The ending was as loud and immobile because the opening was silent and drenched in motion. The sq. of sunshine (designed by William “freaky lamps” Kennedy) that had hung over the area all through the present slowly lowered, creating a big, vertical body by means of which the a lot smaller body of the TV may very well be seen.

Massad sat in semi-darkness on the entrance of the area, her again to the viewers. Nothing moved besides the flickering static on the TV. Ptar’s soundscape rumbled, roared and soared. Goodly, now in actual life, stepped down from the viewers and joined Massad. Many minutes handed. Lastly, Massad stood up, walked to heart stage and positioned her head in silhouetted profile in opposition to the TV. An enigmatic ending.

Nathan Griswold
Massad sat wanting on the TV display screen towards the tip of “Tile.” (Photograph courtesy of Fly on a Wall)

Tile opened and closed with only one dancer on stage, as if reminding us that reminiscence shouldn’t be solely malleable and unreliable however a uniquely lonely factor. Reminiscence lives in our brains, locked away from others and typically even ourselves. For dancers, nevertheless, essentially the most dependable reminiscence is muscle reminiscence, when the physique remembers greater than the mind ever can.

There have been pockets of humor in Tile, a few of them wacky, as when the in-person Goodly stood up, excused himself to the viewers, and ran out of the area. After a number of loud restroom flushes, they ran again in, and the work continued. It was a wierd, maybe pointless, non sequitur — except the aim was to exhibit that audiences are prone to recall issues that are odd, awkward or sudden.

The picture actually caught with me, together with a powerful want to see Tile once more every time and wherever it’s carried out.


Gillian Anne Renault has been an ArtsATL contributor since 2012 and was named Senior Editor for Artwork+Design and Dance in 2021. She has lined dance for the Los Angeles Day by day Information, Herald Examiner and Ballet Information, and on radio stations akin to KCRW, the NPR affiliate in Santa Monica, California. A very long time in the past, she was awarded an NEA Fellowship to attend American Dance Competition’s Dance Criticism program.


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