Prism @ play is a Wild Ride of Creative Energy

You know that sense you get when you walk into a performance space and you know something cool is about to happen? That is exactly how I felt walking into play Saturday night on July 26th, 2014. play is a collaborative arts space in downtown LA run by theater maker Cole Rosner. Tonight’s performance and dance art event was entitled Prism and was curated by choreographer and artist Jeremy Hahn.

A sea of rhinestone studded faces, sparkled through the converted warehouse space as spacious music soared around relaxed conversations. Audience members meandered through the space finding chairs scattered around the room and pillows tossed on the floor. The beginning of the night featured a handful of experiences for the attendees: participants could drop in on Adam Yasmin’s Gongfu tea ceremony, share music in the loft with Vanessa Garcia, enjoy a Chakra meditation with Jeremy Hahn, try out pranayama in a mini workshop with Stephen Beitler or participate in an interactive art experience with Jane Brucker entitled Unravel.

Unravel was a featured event of the night and included two rows of seats for its participants who were given segments of knitting, sweaters, or other yarn creations to be unraveled. The process of unraveling was a poignant metaphor for how we un-do things in all aspects of our lives. Questions surfaced about how it feels to unravel something beautiful and how one faces the challenge of a particularly heinous set of knots that presents itself. As the participants manipulated their yarn, Brucker and two assistants floated down the row of diligent workers guiding them with hands on Alexander technique, encouraging each person to find greater ease and softness in the often frustrating unraveling process. After about 30 minutes the participants took what they were able to accomplish and placed their mounds of partially unraveled yarn on a wooden armature that hung from the ceiling. The sense of accomplishment and investment in the participants was palpable as they found themselves deeply invested in the art making process.

PrismUnravel2

The dance works of the evening featured choreography by Jeremy Hahn and The AS One Collective. The four dancers (Stephen Beitler, Jeremy Hahn, Alison Hart and Sofia Klass) performed in a wide range of dance styles and qualities. They first appeared on rollerskates in a Loie Fuller like butterfly costumes. They then returned for Techno Yoga 1 and 2 in which they first demonstrated the beauty of yoga’s sun salutation before poking fun at the often ridiculous yoga culture of many yoga studios. The next appearance, a piece entitled ReDemystifying The Ass, brought down the house with this hysterical and shameless “butt dance” set to Fergie’s classic My Humps. The quartet returned for an improvisational performance set to a 30 minute electronic music piece, entitled Parson Paisley, composed and performed by Eric Pham with vocalist Kathryn Shuman. This piece reconfirmed the post modern performance art quality of the event, and for a moment I wondered if I had time traveled back to the 70’s for a moment. The final dance of the evening was a solo created and performed by Hahn entitled, New Sun. This final performance which rounded out the night was elegantly sensitive and expressive. Hahn is a captivating performer with his tall stature and lengthy arms and legs. Each subtle gesture filled the space with ease translating effortlessly into larger movements that carved and bounded through the space.PrismTechnoYoga1

The night was rich with an honest feeling of experimentation and discovery. In addition to Hanh’s choreography, Stephen Beitler choreographed and performed a stunning aerial silk solo entitled Freedom in Loss that was both powerful and mesmerizing, tying in nicely with the imagery from the butterfly piece that proceeded it. The black silk transformed into the wings of the butterfly as Beitler climbed and spun on the silks. The piece ended with Beitler’s retreat into the cocoon of silk, a metaphoric return to his transforming origin.

Alison Hart performed a self created solo, Naked Spotlight Silver in which she rolled around a large theatrical light which shone down on her with unforgiving intensity. Hart flung her body through the space in desperation that mixed seduction with tragedy. Additional vocal performances included Ceci Castelblanco and Kelci Hahn.

The four hour event was a joyful success. The audience was able to come and go as they pleased and yet, there was a profound sense of presence and focus on behalf of the attendees. The meditative work done early in the evening set the tone for all participants to be fully present for the art making process.  The music, the dance, the visual art all played key roles in creating an environment for enjoying the senses and breathing in the moment fully and deeply. 

PrismNewMoon

Prism @ play was held on Saturday July 26th, 2014. 

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