Performance collective The Space We Make colloborates with student artists

Friday October 23 marks the opening of Making Space, a concert featuring original dance and theater works inspired by this year’s campus-wide arts and humanities theme of Human/Nature. Amongst the several performances that will be featured in the concert, audience members will experience the multidisciplinary piece, Delores | Stroke.

Performed by six student dancers and choreographed by guest artists Simon Thomas-Train and Caitlin Scholl, the piece will be the manifestation of a project the two artists have been working on within their performance collective The Space We Make. Based out of Brooklyn, the group seeks to push the limits of traditional performance art.

Scholl, a writer and musician, and Thomas-Train, a choreographer, dancer, and graduate of Middlebury College, co-founded the group with a shared understanding of the important role geography plays in the construction of local identity. The group was thus born as a means for exploring the complex ways in which performance art can be viewed, experienced, and performed in surprising and unusual spaces.

Of the multidisciplinary group, Scholl explains, “We work predominantly in music and dance, but all of our artists are polyglots who get to try a lot of different things and experiment with different mediums.”

Through their work with students at Colby, Scholl and Thomas-Train are continuing to build the latest piece for their company, Delores | Stroke. “It is something we have been working on with our dancers and musicians in New York, and we are using the students here at Colby to aid in the further development of the work and create the next iteration of it,” says Simon.

The piece, inspired by the Fisher King legend as well as writings by Jungian Psychologists, explores the many facets of traditional gender roles and how we build the masculine and feminine parts of our own identities. Delores | Stroke requires collaboration between the dancers, while the energy and work of the students shapes what we see. “I just provide a container for it,” explains Thomas-Train, who directed the students through the dance portion of the piece. “I come to the space with some ideas, but you have to be ready to change those ideas,” he explained.

The students describe the work as having a very collaborative nature as well as prompting self-awareness. “We’re never doing anything alone and every single moment we are looking at each other deciding what we are going to do next as a group,” says student dancer Nellie LaValle ’18. “We have to become more instinctual, and make choices,” she explained.

Julia Borges ’18, a fellow dancer, is fascinated by the innovation of the piece. “The way they think is so outside the box. We’re constantly having to work and rework these problems and equations in relation to each other,” said Borges. “It has been a lot of self discovery and learning how effective the body has to become,” she added.

“You get to know the other performers so much more. Not so much mentally, but physically,” said dancer Lucy Soucek ’18.

In terms of what the audience can expect, Thomas-Train explains that there is “a lot of beautiful live music that [Scholl] has created, sung with students. There’s video projection, there’s speaking,” he says. “There are sections within the piece when the dancers are responding to things they have never heard before, it is an un-experienced thing for them.”

“Anyone who is taking a gender studies class should just go,” Scholl adds.

In addition to Delores | Stroke, the concert will include the fifth annual First Year Dance Project, the first annual First Year Theater Project, as well as a vignette by professional dancers and musicians of The Space We Make, each of which is sure to offer a unique perspective and interpretation on the world of performance art.

Leave a Reply