Watermark choreography by Michelle Silagy presented by Silagy at the Winchester Street Theatre (80 Winchester), Thursday to Saturday (April 24 to 26) at 8 pm. $15-$17. 416-504-6429 ext 32. Rating: NNNNN
michelle silagy is going with the flow. Last week the choreographer watched her living room ceiling collapse because of a leaking radiator."I tried not to see a parallel with my work, but of course it's there," she laughs. "It's so ironic."
Ironic because her new piece, Watermark, opening tonight (Thursday, April 24), is all about the many properties, destructive and rejuvenative, of the wettest of the four elements.
A mixture of movement, text, music and ambient sound, Watermark explores the physical properties of water and its relationship to our lives.
"I was inspired by the relationship between water and reflection as a parallel for life and dreaming," she tells me over coffee in her now dry living room.
In her own life, water has often been a source of peace.
"It's been a conduit to reflection or a place to find solace," she says quietly. "At times of great transition, things seem clearer when I'm near a body of water. When I can't talk to anybody else but myself, it seems like the natural place to be."
Silagy began the piece more than a year ago. She was initially inspired by literary works on water -- everything from Aristotle to Canadian poet Anne Carson. Carson's structural fluidity especially impressed her.
"She changes time and location in the middle of a phrase," points out Silagy, "yet somehow it's all coherent."
Co-founder of the experimental 8:08 Series for developing pieces, Silagy worked solo on Watermarks for two months, creating the initial gestures and phrases.
Once in rehearsal, she handed off material to her dancers, then sat back to watch them interpret.
As the piece nears completion, she's decided to have some sections improvised during performance. Nerve-racking, maybe, but Silagy feels this is essential to her development as an artist.
"Years ago when I first started, I'd do everything step by step," she explains. "Now I want my dancers to be more engaged in the creation."
Her relationship with her dancers (Megan Andrews, Danielle Baskerville, Darryl Tracy and Barbara Pallomina) -- or interpreters, as she prefers to call them -- is unique.
"I want to work with people who have strong opinions," stresses Silagy. "I want them all to have a stake in this. I'm not afraid to make mistakes or be wrong. I'm just one of five artists who've contributed."
She hopes to create a work of quiet reflection, one that allows the audience to absorb what they're seeing.
"I wanted something gentle and non-invasive. That can be as effective as something that's violent."firstname.lastname@example.org