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After the piece ended, Silva and Perez sat down with three of the dancers and Hunter to discuss what the work meant for them.
City Weekly: What did you think the piece was about? What kind of images struck you?
Marisela Perez (poet): It felt like a struggle, a fight between the dancers, like kind of tense.
CW: Did you see your poetry there?
Perez: In the sense that it was in-your-face, sharp movements; it seemed real.
CW: Jesus, a lot of your paintings reflect some of the violence the dancers showed. Did you see your work in the dance?
CW: What was it about?
Silva: Street life. [Kids in gangs] where everybody’s close together, another guy might come and change it. One of them might not like him, so it starts a struggle between them without them knowing. They start rumors and begin to push each other.
CW: Did you see gang life in the dance?
Silva: I did, a lot.
Caine Keenan (dancer): What’s hard for me is using the word “violence” rather than “aggression.” Violence is a rough word. It has malicious connotations. In the piece, there is more compassionate touching. It’s almost the emotion gets too much, which is why we get a little bit aggressive with each other. The climate of our [dance] group sometimes is that we’re so close, we get on each other’s nerves, we have to push each other away.
CW: Walt, you helped initiate this project, what did you see?
Walt Hunter: I always come back to the bottom line: It’s about these kids I’m really attached to. I love that Jesus and Marisela could feel their art and who they were in the piece, the intensity, the aggression. That speaks a lot to what their lives are like and what they’ve been through.
CW: Jesus saw elements of street life there. Did you?
Hunter: Yes, the push and the pull, the aggressiveness of it. That was there. I remember the first time we played soccer in the club. Fifty of them in the gym and somebody would make a mistake, and they just jumped on the guy, and it looked like they were beating the hell out of him. I realized they weren’t killing them but just like wild dogs, nipping at each other, taking bites. There was that kind of a feel about the piece.
Jo Blake (dancer): When we’re tossing Fujji around, Charlotte told us that she described us as a pack of wolves or hyenas playing with this young thing. But then we also have a camaraderie in the piece where we will come together.
CW: How did it begin?
Keenan: We sat down at the end of one rehearsal, and we had to write 10 words that describe ourselves. And on top of that, one word that best described all the other dancers. The way [Boye-Christnesen] puts us together, she likes bodies moving together, a lot of it is motional for her. Then we get to put in the emotion of the piece with the eye contact and the partnering. Something will come out of movement phrases that we are doing or because of the relationships between the dancers during the piece.
CW: So how did you describe yourselves, your identities?
Blake: I talked about race. Being African American, Mexican, Filipino, then sexuality, being a homosexual. And then we talked about being a friend, a dancer, a performer, a son, a waiter…