Penelope Freeh

Resurrection Resolution

Posted by on Mar 13 2018, in Uncategorized

It’s been quite awhile since my last post, so this will serve as a resolution of sorts, a way to shepherd in 2018: I will be blogging more. I received a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant to excavate my body of work, blog about each piece, and create a new solo based upon my archives.

The solo, Tuxedo, will be part of a full evening of new works to be presented the first weekend in November at the Bryant-Lake Bowl Cabaret Theater in Minneapolis. There are some fun surprises planned for this show. May I just say, clowns!

Tuxedo will, I imagine, be both a tying up and a setting free. Re-contextualizing my preexisting work will be a way to make amends of sorts. I want to do the work of this, the painful facing of my old selves as I retrace the genesis of each piece and tell its process story. These movements and moments have lived in me, even if I ultimately was not the performer. They are in me just the same, and I get to reclaim them now. A new narrative will undoubtedly emerge, one about tuxedos, nostalgia, façades and the desire to break them down. It will be about formality, animality, deconstruction, and possibly resurrection. But with a twist: I am commissioning contemporary ballet choreographer Helen Hatch to create this new solo for me.

Today I met with Helen. It was our second gathering to review my choreographic archive. This is sort of an oblique way to go about having a retrospective moment, but I am not interested in remounting a bunch of old work. Rather, I want to force myself to look at it, talk it over with Helen, write about it, then reconstitute it all into a new thing, something she will make and I will dance.

We are watching my works in order, generally speaking. I tell her the circumstances of their making, the genesis stories. She asks me questions. We take notes as we watch, and it’s quite sweet. I am so happy to have her alongside me for this part of the project and process. It is so helpful to talk things out, even if the talking’s backwards. She asks great questions and really gets at the heart of things.

For lack of any graceful way to do this, I will launch right in, piece-by-piece. I will blog about each work separately, so as to track it for myself, and in order. The blog titles will be that of the pieces. I’m sure that cross-references will be made. Helen and I are already doing that, just with the five works we’ve watched since last week. This is what is starting to excite me now: this making of connections and somehow, though we can’t see it yet, a new something is forming, ethereal and hovering.