A diverse group of performers will convene on Vashon next week, coming from far and near to perform a distinctive form of improvised dance at Hanna Barn Studio.
The performance, “True Reverse,” set for next Wednesday, will feature local dancers Joan Hanna and Karen Nelson, joined by guest artists Lily Kiara, Ray Chung, Katarina Ericksson, Nora Hajos and Mary Ganzon.
All the dancers have known one another for decades and collaborated on various dance projects throughout the years. Each has an extensive background in various styles of dance, but as a group, they are perhaps best known for their work in contact improvisation — a touch-based, often duet dance form that includes falling, rolling, flying and spiraling.
According to Nelson, who helped organize the performance, the concept of improvised dance is very different from that of comedy or theatrical improvisation.
“The process is entirely democratic,” she said. “Unlike a dance form with one director or choreographer, each dancer has an equal voice and responsibility for the piece.”
The result, Nelson said, is a performance rooted in spontaneity and collaboration that forges a unique and exciting connection between the dancers and the audience.
“The whole room vibrates with presence and appreciation for the present moment,” she said.
The seven-member cast of “True Reverse” includes three Europeans, two of whom now live most of the time in the United States.
Hajos, born and raised in Hungary, came to the United States to explore contemporary dance improvisation in the late 1980s. In the intervening years, she has worked with leading avant-garde dance artists, including Steve Paxton, considered the founder of contact improvisation; Simone Forti, the originator of LogoMotion, and Lisa Nelson, the creator of Tuning Scores.
Eriksson danced professionally in Sweden before moving to San Francisco to live near the family of her husband, Ray Chung, and to raise their child. Chung, originally a space engineer, is a well-known performing artist and teacher.
Kiara, who lives in The Netherlands, is a dancer, performer, teacher and accomplished singer-songwriter who has made several recordings of her songs. In addition to her performance at Hanna Barn, she’ll also perform her songs at 7 p.m. Sunday at Snapdragon Café. (See brief on page 11).
Ganzon, a dancer, teacher and bodywork healing professional from Toronto, performed at Hanna Barn last summer, when her partner Pui Ming presented a solo piano concert there.
During their performance at Hanna Barn, the dancers will explore themes of going backward and forward in time, giving meaning to the title of the show, “True Reverse,” said Nelson.
“For them, improvisation is a process and a goal at the same time,” she added.
“True Reverse” will be presented at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, at Hanna Barn Studio, 7712 S.W. Point Robinson Rd. There is a suggested donation of $10 to $20, based on ability to pay, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Call (503) 740-0523 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.