Between a Rock and a Soft Place (2016)
Choreography: Elle Hong in collaboration with the dancers and Spencer Agoston
Dancers: Elle Hong, Sonya Levine, Sarah Marks Mininsohn, Medha Swaminathan, Wan Tat Abraham Tse
Lighting, Costume, and Scenic Design: Elle Hong
Videography: Ella Israeli
Music: Michel Polnareff, The Books, Elle Hong (c. Bernstein/Sondheim), Laurie Anderson, Noah & The Whale, Emeralds
Performed at the Schönberg Dance Studio (247 Pine Street) on the Wesleyan University Campus in Middletown, CT. Featured as one of many final research presentations for CSPL321 in the event, "Not First, Not Last."
Between a Rock and a Soft Place was conceptualized and performed during a yearlong research seminar focusing on artistic representations of movement, memory, and migration. The inspiration for this piece was derived from Trinh T. Minh-ha's work on the traveling self and the negotiation of identity that must be employed for those born of the diaspora—those born of fragments. Minh-ha states, "The traveling self is here both the self that moves physically from one place to another . . . and the self that embarks on an undetermined journeying practice, having constantly to negotiate between home and abroad, native culture and adopted culture, or more creatively speaking, between a here, a there, and an elsewhere." As such, this project is devised into a suite of three dances respectively titled, Here, There, and Elsewhere.
These three pieces explore (dis)orientations with physical and psychical dwellings, how we create community and coalition through allowing our/selves to cross paths, and how we might utilize dance as a means of creating ephemeral utopias. This project is an attempt to push back at the difficulties of trying to assimilate into American social values, an understanding that this particular world was not built to honor subaltern difference(s). The multiplicity of perspectives through dance as a commons provides the opportunity for social change - to create a physical manifestation of worlds we would like (and most importantly, need) to see.