I’m really glad that Performance Mix #34: Remotely Yours turned out to be so productive for me. I was able to wrap my head around the ideas that were all circling in my head.
In Suspending and Other Tricks, Bernard continues to work at redefining choreography for solo dance, and more audaciously, at redefining who dancers are and can be. Themes that she explores: what makes good art; the dramatic versus the mundane (or, finding true drama within the mundane); mortality, limitations of the aging body and an obsession with black lace panties.
The viewer is led via video images of a bird’s eye view of the outside world and a window representing the inside world where Bernard irreverently performs. The environment helps her travel beyond the space she occupies, generating an emotional, if not a physical freedom. Traveling — whether actual or metaphorical — becomes synonymous for individualized empowerment.
The video of the window fast forwards to show the passage of time through changes of light and shadows, recalling three actual windows from Bernard’s residency at the Firkin Crane in Cork City, Ireland. A found dress of tulle and gold threading and original black cloak is the muse of costume designer Hwa Park, creating a likeness to a figurine in a jewelry box. Bernard creates ambient sound with inserted sound by Boris Billier, a French sound installation artist. Billier’s clips reference foreign languages creating a memory of places where Bernard had taken “a vacation from death.”
Development of this work made possible through New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, NYSCA’s Electronic Media and Film Presentation Funds grant program, administered by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes (www.NYSCA.org www.eARTS.org), Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Blank Canvas residency at the Firkin Crane, Earthdance, Silo, D’clinic TRACTOR Residency and LiftOff Creative and Business Workshop.