Dana Bell’s Poses for Communication playfully explores the physical language of performed communication. Two dancers perform a duet which examines the formalist elements of ritualized movement-- specifically contrasting the poses associated with ballet and yoga (respectively), in doing so juxtaposing their divergent origins and guiding intentions. The origins of ballet as an etiquette based system in Renaissance European Courts as spectacle and interactive communion is in deliberately mismatched dialogue with yogic asanas which, while historically conceived as channels to interior connection, now have outer meaning-- they are the contemporary silhouettes of centeredness, a balanced life, the sacred. Behind dancers Meg Clixby and Helen Schreiner is projected video, in which the poses become abstracted as geometry, and the dancers themselves become semaphores, flattened as an apparatus for visual signaling.
Whereas the dancers appear in classic modern dance costume and wigs to reinforce a stock anonymity, the style of the video draws from the time when yoga was introduced to the West, its structure and coloration hearkening to psychedelic imagery. Richard Hoffman's score for the piece translates as an art rock exploration of Eastern music. The dramatic elements of the score serve as a point of humor in opposition to the control and blankness of the movement, an apparatus highlighting the absurdity of cultural flattening and appropriation within contemporary culture.