Created for the foundry (2006)
Choreography and video projection by Alex Ketley
Music by: Arvo Part
Performed by: Alex Ketley, Hallie Hunt, Chloe Felesina, Hadar Ahuvia, Kasey Wulff
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"The poet Robinson Jeffers once referred to California as the “the place for no story.” Choreographer Alex Ketley, co-artistic director of the Foundry dance company, may have had something similar in mind for his forty-five minute, thoughtfully conceived and thoughtfully realized “Lost Line.” The work juxtaposes live dance (Ketley with Chloe Felesina and Hallie Hunt) with video images collected by Ketley and other dancers during a year-long trek through California. This is not the California of the six-lane highways, urban sprawl and congested cities but the one of lonely beaches, crashing waves, cragged mountains and sage brush dotted deserts. Only a few images—a refinery, a sun-lit apartment building—remind one that people actually live in this state. Ketley’s visuals speak of loneliness, vast spaces and grand silences which overwhelm and dwarf the lone dancer or two who appears in them.
In order to avoid fore-and backgrounding, Ketley set the large projection screen on the floor, at a slight angle to the dancers. This gave him parallel performance spaces without privileging one type of expression over the other. Arvo Part’s Te Deum, a score rich with a voluptuously mysterious sound palette in which individual voices and identifiable fragments coalesce only to be swallowed back into a sea of mystery, embraced the piece like a warm coat.
The choreography, duets, trios and a couple of solo looked like it was improv based, with no direct references to the images, except for a couple of times when Ketley responded to his own image on screen. Not surprisingly the lengthy duets for the women were full of slippages, fractures and roiling stretches. But just as often my attention was equally drawn to an immobile Ketley, sitting at the back or standing like a tree next to the screen as to the bodily landscapes the dancers created.
Not the least of “Lost Line’s” appeal--structurally simple with good timing as it was--came from the theoretical questions Foundry projects often raise. (Last summer Ketley made “Syntax” a piece in which he choreographed a poem’s grammar). Can we bridge different realities? What role do scale and context play in our perceptions? How do we make that leap from one imaginative realm into the next? Of course, no answers were forthcoming except for the ones you provided yourself. That’s the fun of this kind of program: well formulated intriguing questions create their own reward."