The audience enters the parking lot of Electric Lodge in Venice to see a dancer unraveling tape with his feet. His steps on the tape are perfect and slow. I remember measuring the ribbon for ballet shoes, the size of the volleyball court, the size of the dance floor– what is he exacting? The headlights on the red Ford focus are on in front of him. Sounds of men on the moon amplify from the speakers on either side of the performance space. A dancer performs the first iteration of a movement motif– lying on her stomach, limbs and head lifted. The headlights illuminate her hair, the look of awe in her face, the texture of the jumpsuit, and the ground underneath her. Her floating limbs are so full of air that my attention shifts to the experience of air within my own body (tighter, traveling inward, enclosed by my coat). She, in space; we, in a parking lot.
The headlights of the car flash off and a red light to the left of the car shines onto it. The red Ford focus: the fifth dancer in the parking lot. Also covered in the white powder of the dancer’s jumpsuits, I wonder the car’s story. All four dancers tiptoe across the tapeline and drop suddenly. The motif appears again– suspended on their bellies, I see them falling through space. The dancers are so convincing in their sequential surrender and resistance to gravity on the hard asphalt, that for a moment the mass of concrete itself becomes a void, full of the lightest air possible. The uneven asphalt becomes craters, the dust, the milky way, a look into a telescope. The audience wonders what the line is dividing. What barrier is this? What start and end points do the line represent? What might it lead us to?
My third question is answered as a dancer leads the audience directly to the car. The audience that is “really into site specific work right now” becomes aliens approaching the UFO. We watch the dancer sitting in the driver’s seat. He is completely still and unaffected as a dancer rolls from the rear to the roof, and then down the hood of the car. He honks and gravity brings the dancer to the asphalt again.
The dancers lead the audience to their first position, on either side of the red Ford focus UFO. With its engine off, it inches across the tape. A toy car on the moon. As I imagine a wind-up gear on the back of a toy car propelling, the audience learns that just one dancer is pushing the car. Red Ford Focus reaches the finish line. My shoulders drop a little, the air travels lighter within me. The stoic driver exits to begin an ensemble dance of joining, separating, and rejoining. Like puppies playing tag on the moon the dancers continue to evade their realities. We are not in a parking lot but a dream, a place on the moon, a toy car approaching the finish, a dog park. These images emerge through the air traveling in the dancer’s bodies. My reality changes as my environment changes. I only know what there is by what there is not.
The puppy play disappears as a dancer begins approaching audience members individually. He has a tape player in his hand. I stand next to the final audience member he approaches. “This is what it sounds like on Jupiter!” he whispers incredulously to the audience member. She plays along. But then it’s not playing along– she smiles with her eyes big, her hand holding the dancer’s hand like two best friends would; she becomes a character in the dream space.
The other dancers realize what this dancer has just disclosed to the parking lot aliens and the other male dancer becomes irritated. The secret sharing dancer repeats “Everything is ok” to his friend. A one-on-one chase evolves into a group struggle with no intention. His limp body is lifted off of the floor and set down again but their pushes and pulls seem arbitrary. It is not a fight but a memory of a fight, of a persistent physicality lacking the clarity it sought. Their effort decreasing, the three dancers become tired and the other falls to the floor. A dancer breaks the tape to trap him under it. An acoustic guitarist enters and the three dancers walk with him, their attention on the entrapped dancer. He rolls across and under the line of tape whispering his apologies. The flashlight turns off, and he surrenders to the asphalt. He falls.
The car is a red Ford focus. A UFO. The dancers are puppies. And I am an alien dancer writer audience member that is “really into site-specific work right now”. My memories and my realities shift and sometimes I fall.
“Sometimes I Fall” was created by Jay Carlon and Lindsey Lollie and performed by Jay Carlon, Lindsey Lollie, Samantha Mohr, and Finn Murphy. Music and composition by Alex Wand. This performance was curated by Josh Berkowitz as a part of Electric Lodge’s Lightning Series, which features a wide range of Los Angeles talent and it’s offbeat and captivating terrain. The Lightning Series runs until Saturday, January 28th.