Epoch Tales with Mariah Steele/Quicksilver Dance

by Nicole Sao Pedro-Welch

This was my first time working with Quicksilver Dance and it was such a great experience! It was challenging, interesting, and most of all, fun!

Mariah Steele, artistic director of Quicksliver Dance was granted a studio dance residency at the Boston Center For The Arts for the months of October and November of 2012. During this time she created a new work for the Showcase along with revisiting other works she created from past years.

I was fortunate enough to be involved in the creation of hernew work titled: "Epoch Tales."  This piece followed the development of life on earth, imagining how the world may have moved in different evolutionary epochs. 

With this concept in mind, Mariah started rehearsals with structured improvisations using specific animals for inspiration.  Myself and other dancers in the group including, Naoko Brown, Amy Caine, Wayne Ong, and Mariah Steele first studied animals by watching films of comb jelly, jellyfish, crabs, frogs/lizards/amphibians, spiders, and primates to then improvising dance movement from what we watched. Mariah filmed our improvisations for the first few weeks before setting the actual work.

This process was extremely interesting and challenging. It was hard at times to embody the different animals but having to take on these specific animals definitely brought forth unique movement. There were a few moments while watching videos of ourselves improvising we sometimes found it difficult to recreate what we had once did as if the dancers in the video were somebody else, which was funny!

One portion of the process that stood out to me most was that one of the dancers, named Naoko Brown had been injured prior to rehearsals and could not put any weight on her left leg for the entire process or show. Mariah could have chosen not to use her in the piece, but instead she created movement sequences and a solo for her that used her limitation beautifully!

I thoroughly enjoyed the learning and creation process of this piece because it was a collaborative effort and Mariah was extremely encouraging and supportive as well as organized and clear about what she wanted.

I am looking forward to performing this piece again at MIT in April of 2013.

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