This Friday, July 6th, from 6-10 p.m., Pittsburgh dancer and choreographer, Shana Simmons, will transform the Union Project in Highland Park into a museum of performance art.
Simmons, who grew up in Pittsburgh and graduated from Point Park University, has more recently completed her Master’s in Choreography from the Laban Institute in London. While there, she was inspired by a show called “In The Moment,” a collaboration with the Trinity School of Music. The performance took place in two different buildings, with pieces ranging from improvisational to completely prepared. Simmons wanted to recreate the concept, in her own way, here in Pittsburgh.
This past winter, she was able to do just that, but on a smaller scale. Through a residency with the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, she developed a thirty minute work that took place in the Dance Alloy studios, within several rooms of the building.
Now, through the continued support of the Kelly Strayhorn, as well as the Heinz Endowments Small Arts Initiative, Simmons has created a larger version of her vision. “Relative Positions” will feature over twenty artists in various styles – choreographers, musicians, writers/poets, installation and visual artists. Each performer will present a shorter work that will repeat throughout the evening as audience members are free to wander through the space and experience the show in any way they prefer.
Several Pittsburgh favorites will take part in the project. Gia Cacalano will present one of her signature improvisational pieces. The Pillow Project will perform an hour long work that can be viewed in snippets or in its entirety. Newcomers on the scene, Beth Ratas, as well as the Murphy/Smith Dance Collective, will also present.
In addition to some of the dance community staples, Simmons has chosen quite a few unique performers, to give the evening a multi-disciplinary feel. One collaborative group called AMaisTwoOrMore features tango and modern dancers, musicians, and video projection. Also, Pittsburgh poet, Elizabeth Hoover, will perform part of her written work in a small closet-like space in the building. And Ryan McMaster, of tripWIRE, has prepared a looped cello piece as an installation.
To pull the show together, Simmons has created a piece to be performed three times throughout the evening, in what she calls “the big room” of the Union Project. Throughout the night, the room will be used as a gathering place for people to relax, take a break from the performances, and discuss what they saw. Also, it will be the viewing space for Simmons’ ten minute structured improvisation that will “swell, then dissipate,” and culminate the entire event.
Of the happening, Simmons says, “My hope is for the audience to wander through, experience something, choose what they want to watch, and for how long. Our goal was a cross-pollination of dance, music and visual arts.”
WHAT: Shana Simmons Dance Presents: “RELATIVE POSTIONS”
WHERE: Union Project, 801 North Negley Avenue in Highland Park.
WHEN: Friday, July 6th 2012
VIP Experience @ 6pm
General Admission begins @ 7pm
Two full Acts of simultaneous performances running from 7pm-9:30pm.
Audience can come and go at will.
COST: VIP Experience $25, 2 tickets for $40
General Admission $15
More information, online ticket buying, maps and schedule, click HERE.