by Hannah Joo for The Dance Journal | photo credit Bianca Castafiore
This October, the InHale Performance Series marked its 30th showcase of works by local choreographers. Curated and directed by Jessica Warchal-King, InHale provides a space for performance, dialogue, and exchange between dance artists.
Often, we arrive at a dance performance with a certain set of expectations. Months of rehearsal culminate into a final production of carefully tailored designs in choreography, sound, and set. Dancers are elevated on a proscenium stage and, in comparison to the time they have spent preparing, have only a brief moment to connect with the audience.
What is special about InHale is that it provides an alternative to this notion that the artist’s worth is defined by the product by highlighting the artist in process. Of the nine pieces shown at the 30th InHale Performance, many of them were works that were in progress, revised, and revisited. In addition, audience members are given evaluation sheets where they can leave comments regarding their thoughts on the works that they watched. No matter their prior knowledge in dance, audience members were encouraged to give written feedback to the presenting artists. In this way, InHale is not about crafting a polished, finished exhibit of dance. Rather, it offers a glimpse into the organic state of the choreographic evolution. To see creativity in action is an important reminder, for dance artists and audiences alike, that dance can and should continue to change. The choreographers of InHale displayed an impressive ability to reconceptualize both new and existing works.
Equally impressive was the different modes of collaboration that was present in many of the works. When the River Meets the Sea, performed and choreographed by Madhusmita Bora and Annielille Gavino Kollman, explored the intersections between classical Indian and Western modern movement, music, and language. Choreographers Lingyuang Maggie Zhao and Evalina “Wally” Carbonell constructed their work around specific objects. Disappearance of Visage, a solo choreographed and performed by Zhao, took place in a pile of leaves while dancers in Matriz, by Carbonell, moved around and ultimately intertwined with a black banner that stretched the length of the room. Sucker, a piece presented by the Remote Dance Project, paired intricate choreography with captivating visuals projected behind the dancers. Freshblood/KC Chun-Manning performed Of soft fissures and jagged spine to the live vocals of Camilla Dely while No Wrong Feelings by Collo O’Brien incorporated text by Alan Watts.
From up and coming artists including La’Nise Amrbrose (Hallelujah, Heather Hunter) and Allie Linn (Shed), to seasoned choreographer Jessica Warchal-King of the Embodiment Project (“One foot yet in this wonder place, One testing new ground that feels more like home.”), the 30th InHale Performance was one that embraced the wide spectrum of dance artistry in Philadelphia. The choreographers of this particular showcase demonstrated a keen understanding of dance as a multimedia and multicultural practice. InHale, as a space where dancers can celebrate their continuing growth and evolution as artists, helps to foster a community of dance in Philadelphia that can remain open to new disciplines and ideas around dance.
Review of Inhale Performance Series, Friday, October 21, 2016