Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Soft Sell

What you see above is a version of my erstwhile signature solo I'm Not Very Pretty. It combines a performance of me dancing at Bates Dance Festival in 1993, with photographs of the original production taken by Robert Flynt in 1986. 

Pretty as a solo was excerpted from the full-length performance SOFT SELL co-conceived by myself, visual artist Harry Roseman and writer Daniel Wolff.  In the show, the "solo" was performed sequentially by each of the three brave and beautiful dancers - Kaja Gam, Hetty King and Cathy Zimmerman - at the end of the first act. The hour-long SOFT SELL ran for three weeks at LaMama in the spring of 1986, then toured via the National Performance Network with Cathy, me and Marta Miller. 
The voices you hear are Daniel and Susan Haskins; others whose voices were heard in performance  included Maeve Kinkead, Jim Desmond, Mary Shulz and William Finn. 

SOFT SELL was a huge and rare endeavor for me for several reasons:

it was my first ever full-length work

it tackled a controversial topic - pornography - head-on
it was a juicy/thorny collaboration among 3 artists
it was a rare instance (in those days) of me directing but not appearing in the production

In fact, I didn't dance in SOFT SELL at LaMama because I was involved with another huge and rare endeavor: I was pregnant with my first child. 

For more images of Roseman's settings for SOFT SELL, check out his website.  Here's a link to Daniel Wolff’s latest book of poetry. And for an abbreviated version of the evening-length SOFT SELL, go here.

For many years I was lucky that photographer Robert Flynt created photos from our performances all over the NY area. I recently dipped into the digital collection of Renzi/Flynt work and got happily lost in time.  

SOFT SELL marked a threshold into a new perspective on dance making for me - thirty years ago! Today I can feel myself morphing away from being a "dance" filmmaker into … something else. More on that in the next post.

Recent news in brief: 
Besties was accepted at Autumn Shorts in Kentucky; Honeymoon at Seattle Transmedia Independent Film Festival - neither of them screen dance festivals, which is just the way I like it. 

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