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PERFORMANCE RESEARCH (GRIEF AND MOURNING FOR GLACIAL BODIES)

  • research initiative

  • embodiment process

  • site-responsive performance

What can live amidst the aftermath of decay? What emerges from the rubble left behind? How can dancing for more-than-human life be a form of remembering? How can movement create connection and intimacy with that which is no longer present? This body of performance research explores such questions through investigations of embodied memory and somatic practices. This research investigates how dance can be a form of remediation, healing, and survival. In an effort to continually investigate the physicality of grieving and mourning, more-than-human empathy, glacial ice loss, and lineages of channeling and healing along ancestral lines, this research is ongoing. Supported by various residencies, it takes many forms and is shared through public performances.

GLACIAL ERRATICS

2020 

The School for Contemporary Dance & Thought, Northampton, MA

Presented in HUT XXVIII

Fascinated by glacial erratics — the movement of rocks by glaciers — this 10 minute improvisational score moved through a progression of images and intentions. This work-in-progress brought together costumes made from emergency blankets, rhythmic sounds, and projected footage from a construction rubble pile to ask: how can we gather momentum and energy? What are the forces that move us?

concept, direction, choreography, performance, costume construction: Tyler Rai

dance: Sofia Engelman

sound design: Jake Meginsky 

FOR THOSE WHO HARBOR

2019

ARC Pasadena, Pasadena, CA

Presented in Gold Series No. 2

Grief moves; it transforms through moments of darkness and light. It changes form over time. In this 10 minute solo dancework, a shimmering gold figure advances and retreats through pools of light and swaths of darkness. Movements are visible only in glimpses; the senses feel into what cannot be easily known.

concept, solo performance, costume construction: Tyler Rai

sound design: Jake Meginsky

produced by: The Gold Collective (alexx shilling, Madison Clark, Sarah Leddy, Carol McDowell, Daniel Miramontes)

ECHO DUNE

2019

SPACE Gallery, Portland, ME

Presented in the Moving In SPACE Series

How does grief move through the body? How do we move through cycles of personal rupture and repair? How does witnessing grief amplify the potential for healing and change? In response to a grief both personal and climate-driven, this performance was a eulogy for glaciers and irretrievable loss. Raw, uncontained, shaking and exposed, this vulnerable embodiment of boundless grief exposed a tender kinship with the more-than-human world.

concept, solo performance, costume construction: Tyler Rai

sound design: Jake Meginksy

FOR LAURENTIDE

2019

Judson Church, New York, NY

 

For Laurentide is the second of a trilogy focusing on the life and death of the Laurentide ice sheet. The piece regards the sentience and will of Laurentide as a critical force in forming the contemporary landscapes of New York City and greater New England. The piece focuses on Laurentide’s journey as a geologic origin story upon which we stand. Informed by the research of scientists, geologists, anthropologists and artists, the piece serves as an exploration into embodied empathy with more-than-human entities, and holds space to mourn the loss of glaciers disappearing today.

 

concept, director, choreographer, performer: Tyler Rai

dancer: Sarah Lass

live percussion: Leonid Galaganov

sound design: Aly Gear

Produced by Movement Research

WE ARE WAKING DREAMING

2018

SWALE, Sunset Park/Brooklyn Army Terminal, Brooklyn, NY

 

we are the waking dreaming was a performance inspired by research on the glacial history of what is now called New York City. Playing with the metaphor of a glacial erratic as a traveling body, the 23 minute-long dancework was an acknowledgement of the landscape's geologic origins and an invocation for a more-than-human future. Through movement rituals and evolving soundscapes, the piece honored the transformative potential of deep time, monumentality, and communication with what is unseen. Presented on a docked barge at dusk, the performers and audience were rocked by waves and eventually shrouded in twilight.

concept, director, choreographer, performer: Tyler Rai

dancer: Emily Climer

sound design: Aaron Rourk 

 

Supported by the staff/stewards of SWALE + Mary Mattingly