One Breath is an Ocean for a Wooden Heart is an unusual modern dance duet for a disabled dancer and an able-bodied dancer that is informed by the relationship between physical transformation and identity. In this performance, the dancers wear 28" wooden stilts secured to their arms and legs. The stilts are constructed from familiar, every-day objects to create illusion and are a visually compelling tool of transformation. The queen-Anne style table legs enable the dancers to create a basic illusion of table and chair shape. Through the quality of their movement, the dancers are transformed through a wide range of imagery: animated furniture, magical toys, 8-legged insect, 4-legged gazelle, 2-legged birds. The affect is an eerie otherworldliness as two dramatically different bodies navigate a movement and sound landscape that is both enabled and constrained by their use of wooden stilts.
During the development of this peice, Sonsheree noted the experience of being disconnected to the ground (by the 28" distance of the stilts). This affirmed Lisa's experience as a 15-year prosthetic user; someone who performs tasks using tools that prevent 'feeling what she's doing.' While thinking about that specific experience of disconnection, Sonsheree and Lisa made a creative decision to try to remain physically connected in some way to each other through-out the peice, until the end when they part.
One Breath is an Ocean for a Wooden Heart premiered December, 2007, at Ekstravagantna tijela (Extravagant Bodies) Festival in Zagreb, Croatia. It was also performed for audiences in Dubrovnik, Croatia, Ljubljana, Slovenia, Washington D.C., Jacksonville, and San Francisco.
Lisa Bufano, Sonsheree Giles and Jerry Smith
Lisa Bufano and Sonsheree Giles
of AXIS Dance Company
Music created and performed by:
One Breath is an Ocean for a Wooden Heart
was commissioned in part by AXIS Dance Company in association with Alliger Arts, and supported, in part by CA$H, a grants program of Theatre Bay Area, in partnership with Dancers' Group.