Final Thoughts on The Copier at Cedar Lake

Ana-Maria Lucaciu in The Copier, photo by Evan

I returned to Chelsea on Friday evening for a final viewing of Jill Johnson’s The Copier. As I mentioned in my review of the opening night performance, every viewing of an interactive installation such as The Copier provides a unique and slightly different experience. So I was eager to observe the installation again and see what new subtleties I would discover.

David Poe’s score, which is filled with digital chaos, resonated with me even more as I became aware of the sounds around me: the distant blare of an ambulance, cell phones beeping before the performance began, the sound of people shifting from one part of the room to another, even the faint sound my camera made when I took a photograph. But the harsh technological sounds in the score are balanced by melodic piano solos, and the choreography reflected the distinctions between the two. The dancers moved as an ensemble to the jarring city noise or the sound of a copier, often rushing about at lightning speed and following – or at least recognizing – each others’ movement. To the more serene sections of the score, they danced slowly, almost delicately, in duets or solos – without any noticeable copying. The piece’s peaceful closing, with dimmed lighting that distinctly contrasted with the fluorescent white lights that hung along the sides of the theater, emphasized the significance and rarity of an individual moving freely and independently. Copying was the inspiration for and theme of The Copier, but I found the moments of individuality to be the most poignant and striking.

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2 Responses to Final Thoughts on The Copier at Cedar Lake

  1. mockstar says:

    A most beautiful and fitting epitaph, since ultimately The Copier was about individuals being together in the same space.

    Also, re the slight debate that raged here a few blogs ago about the definition of an “interactive” piece — some of my favorite stolen moments from these performances happened when the company approached an audience member and performed an improvisational dance with them.

    I watched in awe as dancers Matthew Rich and Ebony Williams delicately placed their hands and arms on people standing and seated around the stage, and how people reacted by placing hands and arms on them. Interestingly, the audience members were never giggly, nervous or taken aback in response — they seemed bemused, delighted, transformed by the interaction. It was exquisite, and moving.

    Having dancers right alongside audience can be compelling, and when photography is encouraged and rehearsals are open to the public it shows a company that is open to innovation.

    But dancers dancing with the audience: that is interactivity. It just doesn’t get much more participatory than that.

  2. Evan says:

    Thank you for sharing your observations, mockstar. Regarding your thoughts on the interactivity of the piece, I couldn’t have said it better myself!

    Cedar Lake is definitely one of the most innovative and progressive companies out there. They were the first company in NYC – as far as I know – to reach out to dance bloggers and invite us to be part of their opening night for the 2008 winter season. The Copier was a fabulous addition to their installation series, and I’m looking forward to watching the company evolve and grow.

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