The audience moves around the square room, observing the paintings on the walls and sculptures hanging from the ceiling. Works of art are projected onto blank white walls. In a setting that takes on the visage of a standard art show, the evening takes an unconventional turn as dancers emerge behind the black curtains and begin to perform.
“Passage Through Blue” is a collaboration of paintings, sculpture and dance, with the added element of interaction with the audience. Soyoung Kim created the art and storyline of the performance, while Fernadina Chan and Adriane Brayton, co-directors of the Continuum Dance Project, choreographed the dance.
“We were really interested in making interactive art, art that the audience can be involved with and respond to,” Brayton said. “Throughout the show, the audience gets to move around to different areas of the space, almost like a living museum. There are different sections in the space that the audience will walk to and see throughout the show.”
Kim said her works were as interpretative as the dances that accompanied them, but they all draw on emotions and internal thoughts.
“It’s a combination of my paintings, which are abstract, but they are meant to be internal landscapes, so there’s meant to be a lot of emotion and energy,” Kim said. “That was inspiration for their movements.”
Anna Riera, 38, of Jamaica Plain, was among the audience members who participated in the show, holding a loop of rope in which Brayton danced with during the performance.
“I was not expecting to be involved,” Riera said, picking up on the unconventional nature of the show. “I didn’t think it was going to be an interactive event, but that made it all the more interesting.”
Boston Center for the Arts hosts a dance residency program three times a year, in which artists apply to have a stagnant environment to create and perform their craft. The center also provides all the promotion for the final show, Brayton said.
Continuum Dance Project had the space for five weeks, Chan said, four of which they spent choreographing the dance and designing the space and the fifth for putting the whole project together.
“Once we came in, we all decided to use the unusual spaces like the nooks and the closets,” Chan said. “We used the big space to create the last piece, which is the one most conventional part of the piece where we started to open the space as much as we can.”
Riera said she particularly enjoyed the transition from separate performances to the one conventional dance at the end, commenting on how it was “cool to see all the diversity in the group and how they danced together” when they all came together.
Not wanting to tell a clear-cut storyline, the dance itself shows the same abstract vein surrounding the theme of birds, so the audience constructed their own interpretation of the choreography’s message, Chan said.
She said she hopes that the dance will at most take “the sentiment of that story with what the birds represent — taking flight, letting go, coming out of the cage.”
Kim detailed the sentiment of the story, “Taking Flight,” which “is about an emotional journey for the character, and to come at the end to some peace.” She later said, “It’s about internal struggles, but then coming to a resolution, whatever that resolution may be.”
The main goal of the performance was to create a piece where the audience wouldn’t just be observing the dancers but actually identifying themselves as performers, Chan said.
“We strived to create something slightly less conventional with the audience traveling around, moving from place to place to see different things,” Chan said. “They’re not just going to sit back and watch a dance show, so I’m hoping people feel more engaged with the performance and that they have more of a central experience.”