— Jane Franklin, Artistic Director of the Arlington, VA-based Jane Franklin Dance, on her collaboration with musician Tom Teasley on Blue Moon/Red River coming to the 2014 Capital Fringe Festival.–
– Where did the idea for your show come from? Tell us about the moment where you said to yourself: “I just have to do this!” –
I began this collaboration with Tom Teasley, an award-winning percussionist who lives in Virginia. Tom and I had known of each other as artists on the Virginia Commission for the Arts Touring Directory. We first talked when we connected in person at a school arts festival in Alexandria.
I grew up in Colorado which is my connection to the southwest landscape, climate and cultures. The sky and open spaces are breathtaking, beautiful and lonely at the same time, and there is a past that is identified with the ancient cultures. The petroglyphs, etchings in sandstone, found in the canyons of Colorado, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico are shapes of animals, symbols for water, seasons and journeys. Unlike hieroglyphics, the petroglyphs are not a language, but are pictographs that can be interpreted in many ways. There are lots of ideas about what the petroglyphs might have meant.
– Why is it important to you that you do your show? In other words, why this play now?
The southwest is different than what we experience here in this urban place. The original impulse was to share some of the emotion that is generated by the landscape and by its history. There is a variety of creation myth, and though it is ancient oral history in a way, it is not all that different from the multiple beliefs of today. I started to wonder about today’s body ink and tattoo as correlating to the personal meanings of the ancient petroglyphs. We have asked for samples of ink from our twitter and facebook networks, and some may be projected before or during the performance. If you have something you would like to share, you can still send a photo.
– some exciting and unusual elements of your show. What are some of your show’s most interesting “draws?”
We have an animated video backdrop that was created by Hernando Hernandez and Janette Kim over at Scott McLaughlin’s LMO Advertising in Arlington. The backdrop images fill in slowly as if they are being drawn by hand. The petroglyph type images are recreated from a stone drawing by a young Navajo man who I met at Canyon de Chelly in Arizona.
Tom Teasley’s acoustic percussion instruments are combined with modern electronics. He records himself as he is performing, and then uses that loop as an additional track as he plays other instrument. He’ll use the Balafone which is a wooden West African instrument that is like a modern xylophone and the Aqua-sonic which contains water to create bravado as it is played.
– What have you been learning about the show during rehearsals? –
I have added 5 new professional dancers to the cast. We are working with a few lines of text to deconstruct creation myths and to inspire angular movement Another starting point to generate movement is the goal to climb out of a deep canyon, to struggle to reach the top with others supporting to make that happen. There are references to brushing the soil and translating animal shapes, water spirals, linear decoration and journey. Has it been easy? It’s really an inching forward with the movement quality being of the greatest importance to reach the emotional resonance.
– What are you hoping you will be able to achieve with a live audience? What would you like them to walk away thinking about? –
We hope the audience walks away with a feeling of someplace new. We want to create a rich environment so the experience will have emotional resonance. Most of all we want to create an experience to soak in music and dance, with whatever it generates. The audience is part of what happens on stage, and we want the audience to be just that close.
Blue Moon/Red River has 5 performances beginning July 11, 2014.
Details and tickets