01 Aug 2018
After presenting 999: Alchemist Trauma Centre / Power Centre, at Ugly Duck in London last month Berlin-based artist, dancer and choreographer Alexa Wilson will show her latest project in Berlin, India and New Zealand later this year, thanks to funding support from Creative New Zealand.
In an essay published by online art platform Contemporary HUM, American dancer and choreographer Jorge de Hoyos responds to New Zealand artist Alexa Wilson’s performance work, which he first experienced at an audition for the Masters Study Program in Solo Dance Authorship in Berlin—an event they both took part in earlier this year.
A piece initially conceptualised while Wilson curated the two month long Morni Hills Performance Residency in the Himalayas, 999 is what De Hoyos describes as “bold, funny, and insightful”; “a chaotic, entangled mashup of dance, ritual healing with objects, and personal politics on a microphone that’s too hard to hear over loud New Age and Hip Hop music.”
His reflections relive some of the more unforgettable moments of Wilson’s performance, giving us, the readers, a sense of the intensity that filled the room on that audition day and in the performances he attended later. “As she takes off her pants the word “share” appears, written on her panties—perhaps an enlightened, empowered invitation of sexual freedom or an ironic dare to a misogynistic gaze. She invites people to write spiritual insights on paper, but it’s toilet paper and is therefore easily ripped. She launches into a visceral modern dance.” And asks the audience hypothetical questions as “she sits on a yoga mat stabbing an apple to mushy pieces.”
It’s a work that shares a similar energy of Wilson’s past performances—notably, The State of Being, a piece Wilson choreographed for Footnote Dance Company that toured New Zealand in 2014 and Star/Oracle, which was also performed around the country, and in Frankfurt, NYC, Berlin, Brussels and in Poland from 2012-15.
In this part-essay, part-interview, De Hoyos also sits down with Wilson at two different stages to discuss the developmental process behind 999,feminism, (channeling darkness) challenging binary perceptions and what it means to be brave when performing in front of an audience.
Read the essay in full.