Erin Crawley-Woods on her Inspiration for Visible Seams
This post is by Lauren Burns, a sophomore Multiplatform Journalism and History double major.
The typical dance performance does not come with a warning to wear comfortable shoes and to bring an umbrella in case of rain, but Visible Seams is not the typical dance performance. For Erin Crawley-Woods’ MFA Dance Thesis, she creates a site-specific piece, starring 15 graduate and undergraduate dancers, that incorporates the architecture of the Clarice Smith Center in its choreography. Erin explains her inspiration and vision for Visible Seams in the following Q&A interview.
Lauren Burns: How did you develop the choreography for Visible Seams?
Erin Crawley-Woods: This piece began as a collaboration between fellow MFA candidate Stephanie Miracle and me in the Spring of 2012. We combined two dances that we each had choreographed separately on the staircases of the Grand Pavilion and then created new material for the long hallway and courtyards upstairs. For my thesis I have continued to develop, expand upon and edit our initial ideas and inspiration. It is best described as a site-specific dance during which the audience is guided through a roving tapestry of movement and sound that flows up staircases, rolls down hallways, perches in windows and poses in the courtyards of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.
LB: What inspired you to create a site-specific piece?
ECW: One of my inspirations for this piece was the films of Busby Berkeley. It was the staircases in the lobby that gave me that inspiration as they reminded me of the grand sets in some of his musical numbers. So from the beginning the piece has been inspired by this site. It has therefore been important to me to keep it situated there and to make something that is truly specific to this building, something that could not be performed in this way anywhere else. I have been able to incorporate the architecture– staircases, balconies, long corridors, windows– to create shifting perspectives and angles for the audience, in a sense to choreograph their journey and view of the space and dancers much as Berkeley did with the camera.
LB: Did anything else influence your creative process?
ECW: I am really fueled by working with others, so I was inspired through my collaborations with Stephanie as well as with Tomek Regulski, DMA Composition, who composed some of the sound for the piece. And as this is being performed in a non-traditional venue, it took a lot of collaboration on the part of the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies Production as well as the Clarice Smith Center. Often figuring out those logistics can seem limiting or burdensome, but I find it can also add energy to the creative process. So, overall, I guess my inspiration was this place – not just the building but everything that goes on within it, and my interest in pursuing this project was to create a thread through all of that, through the process of making a dance.
Visible Seams runs October 9-16 at 6:30PM. The performance is free, but day-of registration is required, and can be reserved online.