Spyral Garden is a futuristic human menagerie. Shiny figures bring the forms of flowers to life as motion mandalas, reflecting gradients of changing colors. The mirroring movement, rippling cascading canons, and solitary stillness embody the flower’s bloom. Integrated lighting from underneath is a reflection of the inner beauty and life that thrives within, attracting an other source of pollen….
– choreographer, Eric Dunlap
Occasionally, great beauty can be derived from unnatural constraints. Think of a rose bush constrained to the grid of a trelles, or a ballerina’s foot in toe-shoes. In this case Eric chose to create work that would fit within a ten foot square, extremely small space for a dancer to express himself. A flower was suggested, a dynamic beauty that lives a lifetime confined to one spot. An organic symmetry blossoming over time. One flower led to another, and another.
There are three flowers in the garden creating a suite: a trio, duet, and solo. For the trio, trililium grandeflora, the radial symmetry of a majestic white lilly was emphasized with three white stripes of electro-lominescent ribbon (flat peices of plastic that glow when electricity is applied) bursting like a star from the center of the formation. The trio’s choreography relied on the recognizable shapes of yoga — the downward dog, the cat’s pose — to create a geometry of boiling angles and straight lines. Radial symmetry created opportunities for movement in canon and shapes of snowflake complexity, especially when viewed from above. When performed, the live image from an overhead video camera is projected above and behind the dancers to further the symmetric effect and create even more complexity in the design. The music is an ambient blend of beats and washes mixed live by our resident mixtress.
The duet, sapholaeliocattleya, had a slightly different history. The beginings of this piece came as a commission for a music industry event. We were invited by our dear friend and superstar promoter, Lee Chappell to present Sapholaeliacattleya at the Release of Cyndi Lauper’s new album. (Mptwah! Mptwah, Darling.) In our interest of being timely and political — plus the E. wasn’t working yet — we opted for the “Jon Benet goes to Hell” version. We dressed up one dancer as a little girl in a frilly pink cotillion dress and the other as a one-horned blackout deamon from the Negiverse. Despite the obvious nod to icons of Japanese animation, the reactions were, well, interesting. Audience opinions aside, we realized that the costumes, while amusing to us, were distracting from the sensual choreography of wrapped reflections and winding symmetry. We exchanged the little girl for another one-horned deamon but transformed them with reflective silver and lit them with changing heavily-saturated colors. Again a three-strip electro-luminescent design complimented the lighting from below in a spyral like the folded petals of a budding flower, radiating in green, magenta, and gold. The title sapholaeliocattleya was a malapropism on a species of a rare orchid and seemed appropriate for a sensual female duet. Again the piece was made with a spatial constraint of a ten by ten foot square.
To maintain the theme of floral symmetry in the solo, cyanacynthus, Eric hung upside-down in a simple sling-harness for weeks developing a minimalist set of angular designs — an alphabet of body shapes — that would have been impossible if he used a restrictive suspension harness. The name cyanacynthus was a play on the latin nominclature for a blue bell-type blossom that dangled inverted from its stem. Where the trio displayed a mechanical, almost impishly ritualistic movement, and the duet created a relationship of entangement and dynamic support, the solo zoned into the inner-meditative state of the yogi, sublimely freed from gravity, floating over the final electro-luminescent pattern — a blue-edged triangle, the first perfect polygon — to embody an harmonious symmetry of self: the Biblical Cross, the Swastika of Limbs, Odin’s Hanging Man…, all symbols of contemplation. The inward spyral. The soundtrack, a shimmer of cheery bells over a strongly viceral and groundingly deep pulse, celebrates the ecstacy of spiritual healing.
We are especially proud of this suite. The finsihed version is very sci fi abstraction with some nice ambient zone times. Very nice…