Artistic Director & Producer: Joseph Heitman
Editor: Joseph Heitman, Julia Asher
Dancers: Sarah Gottfried, Malia Lam, Richard Sayama, Jessica Stucke, Nayanika Vyas, Tsubasa Nishioka, Julia Asher, Mayu Nakaya, Catherine Messina
Film Choreography: Mayu Nakaya, Katie Messina, Joseph Heitman, Robert Mark Burke, Gable Couch, Imani Gaudin, Misaki Hayama, Rebecca Allen, Sara Pizzi, Aika Takeshima
Live Choreography: Julia Asher, Malia Lam, Sara Gottfried, Jessica Stucke, Nayanika Vyas
November 2-4, 2023
In the post-pandemic digital age, the art of filmmaking is a skill that has pushed and inspired many performance artists to create new ways of working and creating. Joseph Heitman, Artistic Director of One Day Dance is no stranger to digital art making. Choreographer as well as avid filmmaker, designer and editor, Heitman presents his company’s fourth season at The Tank with a series of nine short dance films by nine different choreographers, and four live works created by ODD company members. Each film feels like an artistic time capsule, drawing the audience into each choreographer’s world in a matter of minutes.
Each season participating choreographers are chosen through a blind application process in which Heitman and his dancers have an equal vote. The selected choreographers then choose the ODD company dancers they'd like to work with through a live audition. Heitman implements a unique and specific process: to create each film in a non-consecutive 24 hour period. This time constraint undoubtedly propels artists to let go of their inhibitions and follow their instincts as they remain in full control of casting, location, movement, and music. “I love nothing more than to meet incredible new artists and provide for them the tools and funding they need to explore the realm of dance film,” says Heitman.
The opening film of the season, Thorn by rogue wave’s director and choreographer Catherine Messina, emerges with a striking visual: three bright red roses placed on a countertop. Dancer Julia Asher scoops and twists her spine around the other performers who are clustered like statues throughout the space. Messina’s film illustrates group versus individual dynamics while highlighting her liquid-like choreography.
Choreographer Mayu NakaYa’s film, The Society, employs a more linear narrative. Rooted in Times Square, dancers Asher and Sarah Gottfried move to mysterious piano strums amid pedestrians whose faces are blurred in a rainbow glitch. This image reflects a simulation of city life and the pulse of humanity. The Society explores how individuals both fit into society and stand out as individuals. “I focused on the ‘existence of people’ who are both part of a large crowd and an independent individual, and tried to take an approach to expression that is only possible with film,” says NakaYa, who uses multiple settings, including a dark studio and an open concrete field to transmit the dancers into new environments that inform their exploration.
Following the eight film premieres is Heitman’s own debut for Season Four, The Horsemen. Intense and provocative, Heitman’s all-female cast are blindfolded, straight-faced and dynamic, moving to the film’s thrashing sound score. Vibrant red, yellow, and green light bleed onto the white cyc behind the performers. Heitman uses linear and sharp-hitting shapes to expose what feels like a dimension of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” spirited and forceful.
Exploring the dichotomy of virtual versus physical performance, live works by One Day Dance company members Malia Lam, Nayanika Vyas, Jessica Stucke, Asher and Gottfried round out the evening. Especially memorable is Gottfried’s Poised to Love, inspired by “The Book of Disquiet” by Fernando Pessoa. Dolly Parton’s voice echoes in the theater as her dancers breathe, lift, sway, and spin to Gonna Hurry (As Slow As I Can). Wistful and full of voluminous movement and seamless floor work, Poised to Love mesmerizes. Innovative and compelling, One Day Dance Season 4 is not only an enriching digital experience, but a celebration of collaboration and the many possibilities it offers artists and audiences. “Working with One Day Dance is a great experience to explore, challenge, and accept different points of view, trusting in the creativity and professionalism of the whole team making a dance film together,” says choreographers Sara Pizzi and Aika Takeshima of SarAika Collective."