By Ashabi Rich for The Dance Journal
The Projector Series 1.5
Presented in collaboration with Vox Populi Gallery and Little Berlin Gallery
Installation Design: Arien Wilkerson and Joe McCarthy
Sound Designer/Composer: Wrex Mason
The organic VOX POPULI and Little Berlin galleries are collaborating to showcase TNMoT AZTRo Performance Art and Dance Installation, LLC from Hartford, Connecticut for a three day, six-performance run ending Saturday, June 24, 2017. Two shows per evening, in the VOX Blackbox, at 7 and 9, are a testament to their stamina. The company was created in 2010 by then 18 year- old founder and director Arien Wilkerson. The Projector Series 1.5, is a cross gallery, multi-media “set of performance installation works blending dance, live digitally composed music and Film based visual media.” Utilizing live video streaming,” light, sound, spatial manipulation, the human form, movement as modes of inquiry and engagement between audience and performer, as well as the lager community beyond” (web), there are video clips of James Baldwin and Sun Ra along with live rapping by DomsentfromMars. Lots of tight choreography executed with strong technique and complete command of intent and expression illustrates attests to a thoughtful intellect intentionally applied to be relevant to positive change in our present society.
Co-curated by Vox Populi’s Jim Strong and Little Berlin’s Eric Preisendanz, the show is introduced as a work of sensory overload_ a ”Digital Purgatory”; but, I call it a sensory feast! “Fresh”, “Creative”,” Innovative”, “Exciting” and “Fascinating” are descriptive adjectives that come readily to mind while viewing ”The Projector Series”. Company members Henry Olivo, Joseph Heitman, Lauren Horn, Erica Nelson, Kailah King, Arien Wilkerson, and Greg Dearons II give us a serious range of technique and style so wonderfully utilised in this company. Modern, Cake Walk, Ballet, B Boy, Hip Hop, West African, Crunk, Jazz, and Break Dance are interwoven in seamless, delightfully surprising solos, duets, and all- members- in offerings. Black Lives Matter and the victims of police shootings are memorialised. The politics of division and disengagement via economics, race, and gender are also addressed. In interviews, Wilkerson states a mission to create “revolutionary ideas within performance” and to have “marginalised communities to be inclusive” within the patronage choices of the local elites. He seeks to have local talent, in any physical locale area, be recognised. This recognition should be manifested by choosing such talent for performance engagements on a regular basis. He also seeks to have a permanent home performance base, in Hartford, where training and performance can happen, particularly in small, intimate settings of 75-100 people. His vision brings to mind the tablao style of Flamenco dance.
Wilkerson opens the performance through an interaction with the audience. He instructs you to breathe fully, aligning your spine and planting the metatarsals firmly on the floor. Take that lead and allow your vessel to empty in order to refill with this young genius’ work. By so doing, you will leave full, fulfilled, inspired, and refreshed.