Jessica Warchal-King of The Embodiment Project presents Breach: Left Behind at Lafayette College

photo credits Ellen Rosenberg

In a collaboration with Los Angeles-based visual artist Alison Saar, choreographer Jessica Warchal-King of The Embodiment Project presents Breach: Left Behind, a site-specific dance experience that will become a part of Saar’s fall 2016 Breach exhibition in the Grossman Gallery, Williams Visual Arts Building, Lafayette College. The performance, which will be held on both Sunday, September 18 at 2:00 p.m. and Saturday October 1 at 11:00 a.m., features original music by Muhlenberg College musician/composer Paul Fejko, and professional dancers Laura Baehr, Jennifer Yackel, and Katherine Kiefer Stark (The Embodiment Project), joined by members of the Lafayette and Easton communities.

One of Warchal-King’s ongoing creative interests is the interconnectedness of people and our environments. Inspired by Saar’s creative research on American rivers, flooding, and their historical relationship to the lives of African Americans, and Warchal-King’s experiences as a female artist and as a witness to the central Texas floods of 2016, Breach: Left Behind questions “matter-ing.” Philadelphia-based Warchal-King’s own experience and her additional research on the Delaware River caused her to ask, “What’s left behind after a natural disaster? How do we define and determine what has value?”

Breach: Left Behind has been created for Saar’s Breach exhibit within Grossman Gallery. Water imagery is woven through the exhibition, in which a nude female figure standing 12 feet tall takes center stage, steering a raft while balancing a tower of found objects—trunks, pots, pans, and other household items—on her head. A series of acrylic paintings on varied, quilt-like surfaces that Saar has assembled from found sugar sacks, old linens, and mattress ticking portray male and female figures standing in water. Titles reference music and dances inspired by the flood, such as Backwater Boogie, Muddy Water Mambo, Sluefoot Slide, and Swampside Shag.

Saar’s interest in flooding was piqued during a 2013 residency at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, when she was dismayed to see how little had been done to rebuild African American communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Upon her return to Los Angeles, she began researching the histories of American floods and the effect on African Americans. The Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927, described as one of the worst natural river disasters in U.S. history, became central to her research. This historic catastrophe had a profound impact on the life of African Americans living in the Mississippi Delta and brought long-term social, cultural, federal policy, and political changes to the U.S.

During the Breach: Left Behind event, community members will be invited to participate in a movement experience and have the opportunity to embody their own ideas of the importance of water, feeling left behind, and defining what we value as individuals and as a community.

Breach: Left Behind and Jessica Warchal-King’s Movement Meditation Mandala residency experiences are funded by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation called Choreographers on Campus, an initiative of Lafayette College and the Lehigh Valley Dance Consortium (LVDC). Part of Left Behind was developed during PhiladelphiaDance.org In Process residency. Alison Saar’s residency at Lafayette is made possible in part by funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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photo by Ellen Rosenberg

Breach: Left Behind; a site-specific dance experience
Sunday, September 18, 2:00 p.m. – reception follows from 3-5pm
Saturday, October 1, 11:00 a.m. as part of the “Lafayette Arts Open House”

Richard A. and Rissa W. Grossman Gallery
Williams Visual Arts Building 243 North Third Street Easton, PA 18042
(610) 330-5361, or email prentick@lafayette.edu
Tickets: FREE and open to the public
Free parking at Buck Hall; enter from Snyder St. between Route 611 and North 3rd Street in Easton