Photography: Erez Avissar (Weird Magic)
Near the beginning, dancers take the stage in school-girl kilts, pantomiming moves from the Aliyah music video, “Are You That Somebody,” projected on the wall behind them. Awkward, childish and sexy all at the same time, their bodies mimic a kid copycatting what they see on MTV. There’s an ache of wanting a thing you both know and couldn’t possibly know.
It’s not the only narrative moment which seems to be reenacting preadolescent memory in nikeDeadDaddyDog, which its choreographer and director Sigrid Lauren frames as an autobiographical work interpreting the respective deaths of her father and childhood dog. Throughout, there’s a constant tension between moments of theatrical storytelling and ecstatic embodied emotion, operating on an entirely different frequency and driven by the sample-heavy score.
Lauren commissioned the soundtrack for the piece from nine producers: Chicklette, Pictureplane, Schwarz x Jeremiah Meece, Unicorn Hard-On, KILBOURNE, Abby Fiscus, Alexandra Crotta, Greem Jellyfish, and Rebecca Fin Somonetti, who was the only one to perform her part live at the performance at Manhattan’s Wild Projects this past Tuesday. Lauren sequenced the rest of the tracks, and added in a couple songs, resulting in a collaborative noisy carpet, which seems to seduce and coerce the bodies on stage.
The choreography is often divided into sort-of vignettes where the dancers repeat one movement vocabulary to one sequence of music. Movement and sound rub up against each other, the two building in intensity with a near erotic charge. The effect adds to the echoes of intimacy that the choreography explores, especially apparent in moments like the one in which the dancers pair off, taking turns mounting each other with a feral anxiety.
Lauren, who’s danced frequently for the artist Ryan McNamara, is best known for co-founding FlucT, a performance project she started with Monica Mirabile in 2011. The two dancer-choreographers frequently perform as a duo, but the project often expands to include other bodies. As in some of the latest FlucT works, Lauren’s most recent venture in choreographing solo suggests an intuitive understanding of how to work with many bodies at the same time. Some of the most exciting moments in nike, a 15-person piece, come from the patterns traced by the dozen-plus bodies on stage.
The emotional core of the piece, however, translates the foundational and complicated relationships that continue to inform our lives long after childhood. The choreography gestures at dominance and submission, careless care, and interspecies intimacy to create a flawed yet ultimately life-affirming vision of loving.