Bridgman|Packer Dance uses video technology to enhance their dancing's impact
There are only two of them, but when Bridgman|Packer Dance take the stage, they appear to be a multitude.
That’s because the duet, a married couple, are masters of video technology. Like many choreographers, they use it to create an every shifting scene. But that’s just for starters. They project moving images onto their costumes and skin, which confuses the real with the imaginary. The video also multiplies their presence into infinity. It adds physical and emotional depth to their dances because they make seen what most dancers and dances can only imply.
This delightful duo, no strangers to the Capital Region, made a stop on Friday night at The Egg. They performed two of their best – “Under the Skin” and “Remembering What Never Happened.”
The opening piece, to a pulsating electronic jazz piece by Ken Field, starts off frenetic. While watching projected letters, numbers and symbols rise onto a backdrop, Art Bridgman would suddenly appear in the center of it all. And then so too would Myrna Packer. And then they would suddenly disappear or did they? Their real and video images of themselves combined into a fascinating stew that left viewers constantly guessing.
When they were together, they engaged in what they were best known to do – their own brand of contact improvisation. They would run at each other, collide and pose – Packer often upside down – a leg or arm shooting skyward. But there were many fluid moments where they embrace and glide as smoothly as ballroom waltzer.
Yet they are also solid soloists whose musings, which could be as simple as a running dash or a collapse to the floor, enchant because they are doubled, tripled, quadrupled, etc.
“Remembering What Never Happened,” with a variety of music, slows down the pace and explores the fallibility of memory. Cast into a rocky landscape, the two toss and tumble, trying to escape what appears to be a dangerous descent.
The music, ranging from Maurice Ravel to Etta Baker, is overlaid with echoing voices speaking of the exploit. It feels mysterious, risky and beautiful. And really, it couldn’t be so without the video – the third important partner in this collaboration between technology and bodies.
Kudos are due to Bridgman|Packer Dance video designers Peter Bobrow and Jim Monroe in “Under the Skin” and technology designer Phillip Gulley in “Remembering What Never Happened.” They make magic.