U.S. choreographer Tiffany Mills joins forces for the first time with Puerto Rican composer Angélica Negrón and French vocalist Muriel Louveau to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” with the creation of “Endless Shapes”. This hybrid evening-length work weaves pre-recorded electronic music, voice, and movement to create a world inspired by Shelley and themes of liminality found in her seminal novel.
Liminality (being in-between, on a threshold, disoriented) was a common occurrence for Shelley throughout her life and writings. She often existed in an altered state caused by life challenges and traumatic events — extreme weather, family deaths, cancer. The artists relate to Shelley, liminality, and her genesis of a creature representing the beginning and ending of life. With the last of these, they find personal connections: Mills recently gave birth to her second child; Louveau just lost her father, after a near-death experience.
Liminality is traditionally associated with mid-stages of ritual, political, and cultural change. How can this term now be applied to a female-driven exploration of the life cycle focusing on portals and passageways? Negrón, Louveau, and Mills will examine how the threads from Shelley and their personal lives transmigrate and intermingle. They will start with Shelley as an historical figure and source of inspiration via “Frankenstein”, and crisscross with their familial connections. As the artists map internal landscapes in an episodic journey, they will blur boundaries between: past/future, old/young, life/death.
The artists will cross-pollinate Negrón’s blend of electro-acoustics mixed with classical instrumentation, music boxes, tank drums, and found sounds; Louveau’s extreme vocal registers and neo-classical influences; and Mills’ background in contemporary partnering/improvisation. The aural landscape will speak to the subconscious. Through repetitive malleable patterns, delicate textures, fluctuating drones and ritualistic processed voices, Negrón’s recording will embrace a mysterious dream-like atmosphere. Additional artists including dramaturge Kay Cummings and six dancers add to the artistic team to create a suspended world.
The artists believe this hybrid project will connect to a wide audience, as it: (1) blends forms: dance, vocals, music, literature, (2) engages multiple cultures and audiences: France, US, Puerto-Rico, (3) crosses generations: Shelly/19th Century, Louveau’s father/20th Century, Mills’ daughter/21st Century. Development to production will unfold in 2019. The timeline: DanceNow NYC Performance (9/2019), Stockton University Performing Arts Center residency + performance, NJ (10/2019), Isadora Dance Festival residency + performance, Russia (10/2019), The Flea 4-evening NYC Season as an “Anchor Partner” (11/2019), ENT Performing Arts Center residency + performance, CO (9/2020). To maximize audience-artist dialogue, performances will include Q&A sessions; residencies will include master classes.
As a society, we value the deep, halting insights of creative people like Shelley. Using her story as a catalyst, the artists aim to build awareness of today’s issues of liminality faced by others who might not have a voice — the infant, the terminally ill, the patient diagnosed with mental illness. The artists wish to broaden societal awareness to include those who are marginalized and overlooked, while exploring the frontier of understanding liminality.
“El Colapso” is part of a song cycle, which presents a collection of ambient influenced songs about escapism, delusion, longing and mortality. It features Negrón (voice, live electronics), Bayoán Ríos (charango and zampoña, or Andean pan flute), Shayna Dunkelman (xylosynth), as well as an orchestra of found sounds crafted through cookware and other domestic sounds. This song explores a similar sound palette to “Endless Shapes” with manipulated found sounds, a mysterious dream-like atmosphere, and repetitive malleable patterns.
Start and End Dates
11/13/2019 — 11/16/2019
New York, New York