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scape: Times Square Project

Co-commissioned by Danspace Project and Times Square Arts as part of Danspace Project at Times Square September 20-23, 2018 6pm Public Plaza at Duffy Square. Inspired by Times Square’s history as the home of Broadway musicals, vaudeville, dance halls, and vernacular dance forms that emerged throughout the 20th century, Danspace Project partnered with Times Square Arts to commission three new, site-specific dance works by esteemed New York City artists. luciana achugar, Laurie Berg, and Full Circle Souljahs (Ana “Rokafella” Garcia & Gabriel “Kwikstep” Dionisio) to explore strategies for perception, amplification, and activism within the cacophonous landscape of Times Square.

scape layers a landscape of information over complex movements, reflecting two conceptual inspirations tied into Times Square’s culture and history. The first is the elaborate, synchronized choreography of 1991 Tony Award-winning Broadway musical The Will Rogers Follies. In the center of the Theater District and amidst the elaborate human ballet of Times Square’s pedestrian traffic, scape becomes an intricately patterned, decontextualized chorus number — an exercise in cooperation, each performer one important part of the greater whole, but only briefly in unison.

The work also references the central device of the 1988 science fiction horror film They Live, in which a pair of sunglasses reveals within advertisements the subliminal messages aliens are using to dominate humanity. Berg’s version, in contrast, responds to the “brandscape” of Times Square while seeking to inspire action and change. 3D-style glasses will reveal “hidden” messages on the costumes of the performers and pedestrians, featuring texts developed with Jaime Shearn Coan and designs by visual artist Liliana Dirks-Goodman that deploy color therapy, subliminal messaging, and binocular rivalry.

scape: Times Square Project

By the end, they had so transformed the space, or your perception of it, that you might have mistaken the flashing ads behind them for poetry” – Siobhan Burke for The New York Times

Created by Laurie Berg with Anna Adams Stark, Jodi Bender, Melanie Greene, Madison Krekel, Kyle Marshall, and Tonya Sisco
Soundcape by Rena Anakwe
Text by Jaime Shearn Coan
Costume design by Liliana Dirks-Goodman
with printing by Print All Over Me
Glasses by Everything Branded
Gloves by Tyler James Designs

“I want the opportunity to communicate visually with an audience that is unprepared for viewing performance and invite them in. It is my hope that the details of the performance (the costumes, choreography, bodies, messaging, and glasses) will draw people in despite the scale of Times Square, leaving viewers not only with a souvenir (the glasses), but a heightened sense of their surroundings as they go about the rest of their day. We will be a tiny convergence inside of a huge flashing cacophonous cocoon. A beacon of light.” – Laurie Berg