SiteWorks 2009 will not be the type of dance recital your grandma might envision. She might imagine herself nestled in a comfy theater seat with lights dimming as a group of 4-year-olds in tutus bumbles out from the wings. What she’s more likely to see in Siteworks are dancers of all ages. Some dance in the water of the upper reflecting pool, clad in hip-waders. A more formally dressed group in fancy gowns, hair coiffed in updos, might baffle her with their masculine chest beating and football shoulder pads.
What might further puzzle your grandmother and possibly other onlookers who happen through three outdoor plazas at the Museum of Glass on June 11 and 12 at 4 p.m. and June 13 and 14 at 2 p.m. is a highly organized, grant-funded and professionally curated event that carries an idea over from three years ago.
Josephine and Paul Zmolek and their Barefoot Studios brought the first SiteWorks to the Museum of Glass in 2006. As artistic directors this year, they’ve solicited and chosen performers and performances from their new home in Idaho, having moved there recently so that Josephine could become the Idaho State University director of dance and where Paul is adjunct dance instructor. While the Zmoleks will return briefly to Tacoma during the event, the production has fallen into the hands of the new incarnation of BareFoot Studios, the BareFoot Collective. Sharing the role of on-site coordination with the president of the BareFoot Collective’s board of directors, Jeff Hansen, managing member Carrie Goodnight will juggle twin roles as she also works as a dancer in several pieces. She explains that the biggest differences in this year’s program from the last event are the scale and breadth. This year’s programming happens over the course of several days and includes performers from Seattle, California, and as far afield as Spain. Programming runs the gamut, Goodnight says. Viewers can expect beauty, seriousness, and the standard thought-provoking fare that the Collective — and the Zmoleks — usually dish up in their programming, but whimsy and a lot of play will feature heavily as well. And of course, it’s all served with a heavy emphasis of site-specificity, taking advantage of the unique physical, architectural, and geographical details that the Museum of Glass offers.
Take, for instance, managing member Amanda Herman’s piece, The Wading Game, in the upper wading pool. Yep, you guessed it. Dancers will don their hip-waders and explore the connections between wading and waiting — in fishing as in life — playing with the concept of the rugged Northwest fisherman.
Goodnight explains that her duet, Watched, “is inspired by the idea of people walking by. In the perfect world, I’d like to have people milling through dancers, really shifting the boundaries.”
Ultimately, Goodnight suggests, SiteWorks takes Tacoma and makes it a magnet for the dance community while luring in casual onlookers from the museum and the city beyond it. “All the different sites will create a journey,” she says. “It’s very public, but also private, in a sense.”
And the best part of it all?
Thanks to the generosity of grants from the state, the city, and a partnership with the Museum of Glass, the event is totally free.
[Museum of Glass, The BareFoot Collective presents SiteWorks, June 11-12 at 4 p.m., June 13-14 at 2 p.m., free, 1801 Dock St., Tacoma, 253.284.4750]