Performing artists are always looking for ways to break down the barriers between the work they’re making and those who come see it. Installations that take dancers off the stage and into the crowd are one method. Muscle Memory Dance Theatre and Ghost Town Arts Collective have collaborated on such a project, You Will Know When You Are There: A Journey in Art and Modern Dance, a combination gallery show/installation/performance culminating over the next two nights at Life in Deep Ellum.
The idea started with Meghan Cardwell-Wilson, a member of both groups, says Muscle Memory co-artistic director Lesley Snelson. Snelson, Muscle Memory co-artistic director Amy L. Sleigh and Cardwell-Wilson joined with Ghost Town members Heidi Rushing, Liz Elsberg and Jean Roelke around the broad theme of an introspective journey. “The subject of this event,” according to the press release, “is transformation and myth: processes that twist and turn, taking us somewhere … a place that is unknown until arrival. You will know when you are there.”
With each group playing off of the other, Snelson says, the visual artists designed and built an installation inside the performance space, and the choreographers created a 40-minute dance piece that interacts with the objects. The action takes place off the stage at floor level, but the audience will be seated – a concession to sight lines. Muscle Memory is accustomed to collaborating. “Pilot,” their annual concert of new work by emerging choreographers, has been a success in bringing public attention to young artists.
A gallery exhibition of works by Ghost Town has been up at Life in the Deep Ellum since Oct. 10 and a reception and dance preview was held Oct. 15. This weekend, gallery doors open at 7 p.m., with performances at 8.