projects > collaborations

Off the Shelf was a collaborative project exploring the intertwined processes of creating and experiencing new short pieces in a very different milieu—a bookstore.

This work surfaced surrounded by books: an environment that undeniably influenced the movement and how it was shaped and perceived in unexpected ways. But instead of merely presenting previously made dances in an uncommon space or treating the entire store as a site-specific landscape, we brought the pieces into being as self-contained episodes that veered between having a lot or little to do with the literary richness amidst which they appeared, while foregoing many of the dynamics of a more conventional theatrical setting.

The performance consisted of four different approximately 15-minute-long sets, with breaks in between each (during which those in attendance were encouraged to browse). By deploying diverse combinations of composed and improvised dancing, and weaving in original and encountered text, three longtime artists fashioned movement solos and duets, solos with self-generated spoken words, and improvised collaborations between the two dancers and the actor serving as “reader,” who brought alive excerpts from books chosen at random.

Off the Shelf encouraged looking anew at relationships between books, language, reading, thinking, imagining, and making.