A collaborative dance company started by UArts grads in 2007, the Pink Hair Affair a series of playful Fringe pieces in the late ‘00s showcasing their choreographic talents. Several of the Pink Hair founders —Annie Wilson, Christina Gesualdi—went on to become key figures of the Philadelphia dance world, but the company lay dormant for the last few years as its members spread across the world, from Oregon to Panama City.
Company director Laura Jenkins recently returned from Los Angeles and has revived the much-loved company for a 2018 Fringe Festival production, The HeARTbreak of a Serial Monogamist, with performances at The Whole Shebang September 17 + 18. The piece deals with the middle stages of grief, that time after the initial shock, when people simply offer the advice of “time will heal”. Jenkins compiled her experiences with grief—break-ups, moves, career changes, deaths—and turned them into an interactive interdisciplinary work that shows there are tools we can use to help us through the rough times.
She spoke with FringeArts about the project.
FringeArts: What inspired the show?
Laura Jenkins: I moved back to Philly in October 2017 (after living in LA for just under three years). I knew once I got back that I needed and wanted to put on a show again, and I thought the Fringe Festival would be a good way to ease back into the dance scene here. I originally wanted to do a show idea I’ve had with PINK HAIR AFFAIR for almost 10 years now… but life happened. In April of this year, I had a strong desire to do a show based on experiences I was going through, experiences that I’ve been through and little did I know, experiences I was going to go through. It sort of evolved from the need to heal and process grief. Creativity is and was a huge part of my healing process and I felt driven to share it—to normalize this feeling of grief, and to let people know it happens to the best of us.
FringeArts: What themes/messages do you want to convey?
Laura Jenkins: I want to share the grief that we all go through (or will go through). I want to normalize the feelings of despair, depression, feeling lost and alone, feeling crazy and angry, feeling so sad and heartbroken you don’t know what to do. I also want to show that there are ways to deal, tools to use to get your through. To note that this shitty time is important for us to go through — because it’s where we learn, grow and tap back into our true selves or maybe even find ourselves. To stay present during the dark time and not just hide in our bed or fall into a replacement relationship.
FringeArts: How would you describe your choreographic style?
Laura Jenkins: This show is more then just dance. So it’s all very new to me. My style of dance is modern (whatever that means!). I have added some yoga asana into my movement and even some hair whipping, booty shaking from my NFL Cheerleading days. It’s combined with a lot of emotion, pedestrian movement, speaking and actual art/crafts/installations I have used as part of my process.
FringeArts: How does the use of audience interaction help you convey your themes?
Laura Jenkins: I want the audience to partake in things I’ve actually done. I want them to experience the tools that have helped me cope with the heartbreak and grief I experienced. I think participating and interacting involves them on a whole new level. Now they aren’t just seeing my process they are experiencing it.
FringeArts: How has the show evolved since inspiration?
Laura Jenkins: It continues to change. That’s the thing about art, is it ever really done? I implemented various experiences and meshed them together to create a curated and organized show and I find myself adding new details daily.
FringeArts: Who will enjoy your show?
Laura Jenkins: Anyone who has been heartbroken. Anyone who has went through a life change that caused anxiety and depression and slight loss of self. Anyone who has lost someone dear to them. Anyone who has experienced grief. And anyone who is interested in the process and the pain and is drawn to help and be the support system for those who go through this.
What: The HeARTbreak of a Serial Monogamist
When: September 17 + 18, 2018
Where: The Whole Shebang, 1813 South 11th Street (rear entrance), South Philly
Created by Laura Jenkins, Pink Hair Affair
- Experience Philadelphia Museum of Dance at the Barnes Foundation - October 1, 2018
- Excerpts from the Manifesto for a Dancing Museum by Boris Charmatz - September 20, 2018
- The PINK HAIR AFFAIR Returns, Heartbroken - September 14, 2018