Christopher K. Morgan and Artists are working on a new piece at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer.
There is something comforting about the art of choreographer Christopher K. Morgan. It only makes sense then that for his latest work fermenting at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer, he would embrace the fiber arts. His new dance, the-yet-to-be completed “Native Intelligence/Innate Intelligence,” swirls in soft woven fabrics.
Of four parts shown on Thursday night with his Christopher K. Morgan and Artists, three were wrapped into sculpted macramé ropes that enhanced the dance’s fluidity and expanded the gentle movement beyond the body.
Add to that the resonating cello, as composed by Wytold, and a table full of delicious snacks where audiences were free to graze, all were instantly seduced into Morgan’s warm world. It was a place where one seeks to reconnect and give relevance to ancestral culture. It was also inviting, and at EMPAC, it became a salon showing at its most modern.
Morgan has once again drawn from his Hawaiian heritage for this work-in-progress. Hawaiian chants and hula, that show reverence to the Earth and to all humankind, punctuate into Morgan’s work. The movement appears as if he is opening a door, pulling something toward him or racing forward to capture the fleeting past.
His solo was especially alluring as he seemed to transform into an eagle – allowing his large shawl to span out and then coil around him before falling to his feet. Morgan has a way of making the simple, beautiful and dignified. He and his dancers are thoroughly charming.
The first section of his unfinished work showed the dancers at their best, converging and dispersing in the most interesting ways. Forming a human sculpture, with limbs entwined and hands, heads and feet melding in all directions, served as a testament to the body’s ability to be endlessly fascinating and, if open, the spiritual attachment we should feel to each other.
In another section, Tiffanie Carson escapes her physical trappings, but is held back by the group who take her emotional temperature with hands on her heart.
The lightening design is also gorgeous with color lighting up the floor in reds and blues.
There is much to see and consider in “Native Intelligence/Innate Intelligence.” And I do hope, once complete, it returns to EMPAC for a full airing. Snacks are welcome too.