Arena is a performance choreographed by Madeline Hollander, which is comprised of a series of duets scored for 6 dancers and a beach rake truck. The beach rakes clear the path for the dancers whose movement patterns are recorded in the newly combed sand. In the first half of the performance, the dancers follow the truck. In the second half, the truck follows the dancers, effectively erasing all traces of movement as they go. These actions are repeated from 6pm until the sun goes down. The piece was presented as part of the Beach Sessions Dance Series on Rockaway Beach in Queens.
The initial concept for the piece reminds me of Richard Long’s A Line Made By Walking in that what is left behind is the trace of movements in the space. That the act of occupying the space transformed it in a subtle way. However, Arena marks and then erases the dancers existence and claims to the space by continually raking over the tracks. What’s really striking about this piece is the ephemeral quality of the movement documentation in the sand, which is true of every sand castle and message I’ve ever carved at the beach. Also, I’m struck by the durational and repetitive quality of the piece as this has been a direction suggested in feedback for my own work in progress.
Madeline Hollander is a New York based artist who works primarily with performance and video to explore how human movement and body-language negotiate their limits within everyday systems of technology, intellectual property law, and mass-culture.
Photography by Samantha Casolori; Film stills by Sam Fleischner