Questo sito non supporta completamente il tuo browser. Ti consigliamo di utilizzare Edge, Chrome, Safari o Firefox.

Visitor Parking: An Immersive Multimedia Experience

I must admit, I was scared walking in. The warehouse was dark, and I got lost. I called for directions, and someone shined a cell phone light to show me the path to the front door. I walked in, and was asked to sign a document to ensure I would not sue the company if I tripped and fell over the string that would be present through the performance. I’ll repeat—I was scared at first. But wow, what an incredible evening! I’m so glad I drove through the dreary night, in the rain, to see this performance.

Performance

mignolo dance: “Visitor Parking”

Place

Gardenship art, Kearny, New Jersey, December 10, 2021

Words

Sharon Rodden

Visitor Parking by mignolo dance. Image courtesy of the company

subscribe to the latest in dance


“Uncommonly intelligent, substantial coverage.”

  • Weekly articles from the world of dance
  • Wide diversity of reviews, interviews, articles & more
  • Support for quality art journalism

Already a paid subscriber? Login

Mignolo dance pulled it off again—a multimedia experience about mental illness and mental health. To begin, one dancer (Charly Santagado, co-choreographer) sitting inside an archway similar to a manger moved to a complex poem (“Visits to St. Elizabeth’s” by Elizabeth Bishop) either about a man, or about mankind, speaking of a “House of Bedlam.” She reiterated the first line after every new stanza, moving with precision through neck tics and odd twisting movements with a solemn but determined face. The poem unfolds, each repetition of the story about a cranky man, a busy man, a tedious man, a wretched man. Is the world flat or round? The movements resemble a sign language for the deaf or hard-of-hearing (the makeup of which the mignolo dance calls Movenglish) as the motions and the words wrap around each other, clearly depicting the sense of disarray and distress this person is feeling.

Suddenly, a film is projected above her; the audience looks up to see what’s happening. A woman in a green dress is tearing apart the walls of a room. The walls’ material is silver foil, and its crackling noise and the music together create a dramatic sense of being out of control. And then, somehow, we realize this woman is right behind us. We turn 180 degrees to see the room being torn apart, the woman in a fit of rage and agony, surrounded by string. She is screaming. She cuffs her ears as the music gets louder and faster.

Visitor Parking by mignolo dance. Image courtesy of the company

This is just the beginning of a 70-minute performance in which the audience is asked to actively participate, moving to different places in this drama. Some audience members are reticent and some are clearly absorbed in the experience. A refrain of the performance is the interaction between a therapist and the woman in green—the patient­—sitting in chairs across from each other. When they ‘speak’ (pre-recorded text), their movements simultaneously connect with the words, and they have a ‘discussion’, in movement, many times during the night. “How was your week?” the therapist asks. “The same, but not exactly the same,” says the patient. The conversation over time shows the intensity level rise for both the therapist and the patient.

The patient takes the therapist down to what she calls ‘the basement,’ an area that appears to represent a mental institution, where individuals portray their intense personal traumas through repetition. One person is sitting counting on an abacus; another is working on puzzles in ways that could never solve them, holding them upside down or putting her arms through the rungs. She splashes herself in a metal tub like the ones used years ago to wash clothing; the patient takes the tub and dumps the water on her. Chaos ensues.

There is an extended period where the choreography is positioned in and around three cars. One dancer hits her head against the horn; lights of another car come on as the dancers use the vehicles as props in unconventional ways. People come out of windows feet first, they are on the hoods and through the sunroofs, they are interacting chaotically and suddenly not interacting. It is painful to watch how disturbed these people look, and yet the sense of urgency is similar to what one sees on a highway when traffic is backed up—angry, unhappy drivers and their passengers. Only more so.

“Visitor Parking” by mignolo dance. Image courtesy of the company

When the patient and therapist talk again, their movements are wilder and less restrained, though the words are the similar. As the dancers start to merge together, it is clear that the therapist is in their world. She is guiding them; they are all together, and guitar strings sound in the background as the music emulates the comradery. Each dancer is lifted individually by the group as they all lean in together and become cohesive and synchronized to help each other. The group is simulating growth, and community, and offers a very memorable end to a piece that seemed very sad at its start.

But it’s not over. There is a tunnel with silver foil being pointed to by several dancers. They are asking the audience to step into the tunnel, while a disembodied voice tells the audience that it is dangerous, and that they should not enter under any circumstances. The audience enters anyway.

And there we all stood, in a circular room of silver foil, looking at each other. How terribly poetic. One audience member turned to me afterward and said, “It’s a teaching. It really touched me.” For me, it was a powerful, emotionally riveting experience. I was impressed with the depth of the presentation: the use of video, the implementation of many created sets inside a warehouse, the dimensionality of the movements the dancers used, and the words and music that worked seamlessly with it to create an understanding.

Sharon Rodden


Sharon Rodden is a lifelong lover of dance and believer that music and movement are joyful pursuits that make life worth living. Sharon studied modern dance in high school and college, with the intention of being a dance therapist. After an extensive career in technical writing and publishing, she has returned to studying dance at RVCC, with the intention of getting an Associates degree in Fine Arts in Dance. She is a certified exercise instructor, and enjoys teaching movement to seniors and special needs patients, which she is currently doing at studios in Hunterdon and Somerset Counties.

comments

Featured

So Far So Good
REVIEWS | Faye Arthurs

So Far So Good

The School of American Ballet is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. So is George Balanchine’s iconic “Serenade”—the first piece he made in America in 1934, choreographed on students from his brand-new academy.

Continua a leggere
Sound Effect
REVIEWS | Rachel Howard

Sound Effect

Sometimes there’s not much you’re able to say analytically about a dance work, and yet you know you’ve just witnessed a blood-guts-and-soul offering from an artist of the keenest kinaesthetic intelligence. Such was the case with gizeh muñiz vengel’s “auiga,” second on a double bill finale for the ARC Edge residency at San Francisco’s CounterPulse.

Continua a leggere
Hope is Action
REVIEWS | Gracia Haby

Hope is Action

The Australian Museum Mammalogy Collection holds ten specimens of the Bramble Cay Melomys collected from 1922–24, when they were in abundance. One hundred years later, a familiar photo of a wide-eyed, mosaic-tailed Melomys, the first native mammal to become extinct due to the impacts of climate change, greets me as I enter the Arts House foyer.

FREE ARTICLE
Common Language
INTERVIEWS | Candice Thompson

Common Language

Pre-pandemic, queerness and ballet were two terms not often put together. So, when choreographer Adriana Pierce started bringing a community of queer-identifying people together on Zoom—cis women, trans people of all genders, and nonbinary dancers—it felt like a watershed moment for many of them. 

FREE ARTICLE
Good Subscription Agency