On Friday night I sat on the Simulation: Living the Simulacra round table as part of Prelude.10 Festival. The spirited conversation roved around the value of Live Performance: “Why does performance that asks us to be inquisitive and socially engaged human beings matter?” I was there mainly as the Director of Marketing for Dance Theater Workshop, with other speakers Kimon Keramidas, Reid Farrington, Andrew Schneider, Reggie Watts, Kevin Cunningham, Eric Dyer, and Tanya Selvaratnam. None of which I had met before, many of whom I have admired from a far. The conversation was lively, and peaked around ideas of visceral connection, proximity, and the joy of when a performance goes awry and both the audience and performers share a feeling of possibility.
Since the panel I have been thinking more specifically about what is it is to share experience. It seemed that whenever the panel agreed on something “being effective” or truly “live”, it was because the audience member could feel what was happening (breath, anticipation, wonder, authenticity). This is a key issue for me as an artist. My investigation is rooted in electrifying the relationship between audience and performer. I believe this kind of charged space is absolutely crucial to open pathways for abstract communication that leads to emotional shifts in the viewer. This kind of performance must exist to create room for reflection on humanity (maybe more specifically society), and hopefully allows for progress to be made in the individuals understanding of other, one another, and self.