Jessica Lang is inspired by artistic collaborations. Her pieces testify to the transformative power of movement, music, and visual composition coming together to create a mesmerizing performance. All of that will be on display this weekend when Lang’s troupe debuts in South Florida at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center.
Lang is the choreographer and artistic director of Jessica Lang Dance, founded in 2011 and debuted in 2012 at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. A graduate of the Juilliard School in New York City and a former member of Twyla Tharp’s THARP!, Lang was a freelance choreographer for ballet companies before starting her own company. But, she explains, working freelance was like “being a guest in someone else’s vision." Therefore, forming her own venture was inevitable.
When it comes to her company, Lang has found that collaboration is a major part of her unique artistic vision. She says she is “open to working with other artists to achieve a cross-art experience in order to open fences and the imagination of the audience.” Sometimes she seeks out artists; other times she is asked to collaborate, much like in the recent premiere of Tesseracts of Time, in association with the well-known architect Steven Holl, for the Chicago Architecture Biennial.
On the program in Miami is Lines Cubed. Set to music by John and Thomas Metcalf, it presents a creative partnership with the interior design company Molo. The Canadian-based studio is committed to the creation of space-making, which combines the disciplines of art, architecture, and design. Lang incorporates Molo’s soft blocks and walls to highlight the lines and colors of Piet Mondrian’s artwork in her choreography. Lines Cubed was first performed in 2012 at Jacob’s Pillow 80th-anniversary celebration and includes nine dancers as a visual composition of Mondrian’s use of vivid hues in his painting.
Lang is also interested in working in film. The dancer says she would like to present “movement ideas for box office films, making film for dance in an artistic connection.” Two of the program’s pieces reflect this interest: White: A Dance on Film, an interconnection of dance, speed, and space; and i.n.k, a video interaction with the artwork of Shinichi Maruyama.
A former member of Hakuhodo Photo Creative, the Japan-born Maruyama is also a freelance photographer. The performance i.n.k. was inspired by his series KUDHO, which developed from Maruyama’s days as a student studying Chinese characters in sumi ink. “I loved the nervous, precarious feeling of sitting before an empty white page, the moment before my brush touched the paper,” Maruyama writes. In this case, an empty stage and a blank paper are both waiting for the moment of inception; i.n.k. is a collaboration of these two distinct art forms.
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Also on Saturday’s program are Mendelssohn/Incomplete, Among the Stars, and The Calling, set to music by Felix Mendelssohn — pure dance and unfinished pieces left open for the possibility of completion. Among the Stars, featuring music by Ryuichi Sakamoto, is a pas de deux on pointe, while The Calling, with music by Trio Mediaeval, is a short solo performed with a large white skirt — an integral part of the choreography.
– Diana Dunbar, artburstmiami.com
Jessica Lang Dance
8 p.m. Saturday, November 14, at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, 10950 SW 211th St., Cutler Bay. Tickets cost $22.50 to $45. Visit smdcac.org.