Out Philly choreographer to premiere new installation

Arts production company Thirdbird will present the latest performance installation by out Philadelphia dancer and choreographer Meg Foley with the world premiere of “The whole time in the meanwhile,” Jan. 23-27.

Foley, who created the performance in collaboration with lighting designer Lenore Doxsee and composer/performer Chris Forsyth, described the show as an examination of how we feel, hear and see time passing through our senses and said the installation was inspired by the performance of another artist.

“I saw a solo performance created and performed by Saburo Teshigawara at Lincoln Center in 2010 in which he danced inside a set design that was essentially three big screens, so that he was in a box with the fourth side of the box being the audience viewpoint,” she said. “And the light environments and projections on the set kept shifting dramatically and affecting his actions, but I felt so far from what was transpiring, so safe in my seat, as if my body was just my eyes and ears. I wanted to be in the set with him, not to dance with him but to share space and to get a bit closer to the world he was experiencing. At the same time I was beginning an improvisational solo practice that focused quite heavily on how different physical actions and states generate different emotions and self-identifications. I wanted to see how the navigation of my own journey could result in/create/demand a full choreographed structure and, of course, what that structure would be.”

Foley, who is also the director of Moving Parts, a dance think tank, has had her works featured often in local arts events like Live Arts and Blindspot festivals, and said this performance installation isn’t intended to be linked creatively with any of her previous shows.

“I don’t keep previous works in mind,” she said. “I try to just focus on the materials and exploration at hand. There are actually a lot of shared creative themes and quetions between ‘The whole time in the meanwhile’ and a few past works, but I didn’t notice them until the work really started to take shape and we were fine-tuning more recently. When something emerges that relates to a previous piece, I take note and question the similarities or what I can learn from one exploration to another, but I do not intentionally reference previous work. Sometimes there are just ideas and questions you can’t shake.”

Foley said that while the show is being described as a world premiere, the performance isn’t set in stone and will continue to change.

“This presentation of ‘The whole time in the meanwhile’ is not singular or final; we are not thinking of it as a premiere,” she said. “It is an iteration from within a series of questions and investigations. Meaning, what you will see is a ‘first-done’ version, a finished work, of an ongoing investigation that we hope to continue beyond the show at the end of January. Where and when we continue development are the questions. We don’t totally know what it is yet, but we want to keep going, keep trying, keep figuring it out.”

Thirdbird presents “The whole time in the meanwhile” Jan. 23-27 at Christ Church Neighborhood House Theater, 20 N. American St. For more information or tickets, visit www.birdbirdbird.org.