Catherine Cabeen and Company’s next evening-length work will premier at On the Boards,
January 17-20, 2013.
Fire! is an interdisciplinary performance project choreographed and directed by Catherine Cabeen, inspired by the work of Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002). Utilizing the same combined research methodology and creative practice that informed Cabeen’s 2011, Yves Klein inspired Into the Void, Fire! takes on the work of a female artist whose aesthetic is exact opposite of Klein’s. Through colorful sculptures and assemblages, Saint Phalle's bold work examines child’s play and violence with equal curiosity. In response, Fire! will wrestle with the idea of creation through destruction.
Taking a cue from Saint Phalle’s Nanas, monumental sculptures of voluptuous female figures in motion, Cabeen’s choreography indulges in the joy of physical density. Pushing against the established dance aesthetic that weight and whimsy are mutually exclusive, dancers will move as one body, celebrating the strength that rises from their combined mass. Costumes and set pieces by collaborating visual artists will interact with the dancers, creating a mosaic environment that weaves together both the animate and inanimate creatures on stage. Inspired by Saint Phalle’s Tarot Garden, the interactive stage space will be inhabited by the archetypes of the Tarot’s Major Arcana. The fluid states of consciousness articulated in the Tarot will create the evolutionary journey of the work.
Saint Phalle faced intense criticism for stepping out of the traditional roles of wife and mother to become an artist. Simultaneously, feminist scholars critique her for using her body in her work. Fire! will explore both how much, and how little, has changed in 60 years, in relation to representations and realities of femininity, sexuality, and power. Fire! will encourage all people, but especially young women, to embrace their weight as strength, speak their truth, and dance in the face of fear.