Released September 1st, 2015
© Shinique Smith 2015
Astrology, alchemy, mythic love poetry and the motion of the intersection on which The Greenway Wall mural stands inspired this epiphany of three performances enthused by the gesture, materials and conceptual inspirations in her work. Gesture III: One Great Turning was filmed in front of Smith’s mural Seven Moon Junction, with the use of aerial and ground videography. The performance is a manifestation of Smith’s collaborative approach to art making and showcases the breadth of her repertoire through her paintings, large-scale installations and performance based works while grounded by her personal history and influences throughout her life.
“When I was a little girl I learned of the Sufi whirling dervishes, and in my innocence, I tried to dance like them. I would spin in the back yard in the hood in Baltimore until my mind was freed.”
This idea was the jumping off point for Smith to create a work with dancers that would evoke and expand the mural design and its details through groups of dancers moving with hypnotic resonance.
She made skirts by cutting and tying fabrics and created her own textiles from her paintings for the garments that the dancers wore. The parasol props and large swaths of silk fabric were hand painted by Smith and all were integral to the movement.
The dynamic process that the KAIROS Dance Theater utilizes was a kindred to Smith’s ideas, which made for a great collaboration wherein the choreography became a mixture of improvisations prompted by Smith’s vision and excerpts from KAIROS’ superbly crafted existing work, Her. The eloquent and expert editing and the sound composition of Gary Pennock, sculpted the form of the video and brought Smith’s ideas into full manifestation.