Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Christine Cali and Gabriel Forestieri, Jon Sims, 8/2004

The Sound That Comes Out
Choreographed and directed by Christine Cali and Gabriel Forestieri
Performed at the Jon Sims Center for the Arts
August 13, 2004

We walk through our everyday lives connected to our earth: breathing its air, bathing in its water, and walking on its turf. Some of us recycle, plant trees, and light our days and nights with solar energy. Perhaps you even own one of those newer Energy Star appliances or a hybrid vehicle. Not often, though, do we think about how we are connected to the planet. Sure, the hippies down in the Haight do, but the common person rarely contemplates about where that uneaten food goes (how about a compost?) or what you can recycle. And just a few months ago, the question of environmental dance works, and were there any, came up. This was a tough one! Why had there not been a lot of dance works created specifically exploring our environment and issues surrounding it?

Christine Cali and Gabriel Forestieri’s new multi-disciplinary work “The Sound That Comes Out” fills this void with an intricate work that explores social and environmental issues. Combining dance, spoken word, satirical drama, video, song, bicycle ballet, and live music, this performance piece explores support systems, the disconnect between thought and action, and our relationship with the earth as a symbiotic (and often lopsided) one. This idea of “give and take” is prevalent throughout the work, but is most clearly seen in Cali and Forestieri’s duet where their use of contact improv, speed, and realness showed a relationship that utilized space and time to its fullest. Cali and Forestieri danced and sang with refreshing abandon while also moving together with responsiveness and an understanding of how their bodies related to each other and, on a larger scale, to the earth. One of the most intriguing segments was a dance for four, dressed in corporate-type button down shirts covering the dancers heads. They chugged on the floor like they were driving cars, gyrated their hips, and performed an impressive Roger Rabbit. I remember the Roger Rabbit; my friends and I did it at bar mitzvahs and dance parties. It was probably one of the hokiest hip-hop moves around, yet everyone loved it because everyone else was doing it. Like my girl friends and I doing the Roger Rabbit, these “stuffed shirts” danced like they couldn’t see what was truly going on around them; they were simply bodies going through the motions rather than being aware of their surroundings, and the smart choreography and costuming worked wonders.

The non-dance aspects were just as enjoyable and thought provoking. One small skit involved Cali dressed in a cocktail-type red dress repeatedly eating delicious looking chocolate cupcakes until she looked sick and ashamed. I felt this spoke to the average person’s tendency to take things at face value without questioning its validity. We are force-fed material everyday in ads, newspapers, magazines, music, school, etc. Yes, some people complain, but not many do anything about it. They just walk around feeling guilty, yet progressive action or change in behavior rarely occurs.

The live music, performed by Tim Frick (composer) on bass and guitar; Dan Cantrell on Rhodes and accordion; Mike Ramos on guitar; and Ben Tuttle on drums and glockenspiel infused energy into the work. Accompanied by video by Benjamin Connelly of Monopod Productions and a performance by the San Francisco Bicycle Ballet, this work certainly left no rock unturned. From a Material Girl adorned in trash (with great looking tulle heels) to headless dancers, “The Sound That Comes Out” intertwined dance, drama, and song to create an introspective performance piece. It’s too bad that Cali and Forestieri are moving to New York, but it is for a good cause. The dancing duo be working on their master’s at NYU, and from the looks of things, they’ll be creating many insightful works to come.

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