Embodied Memory: Heather Maloney's In This Place

Categories: Dance
AB Maloney.jpg
Local choreographer and performer Heather Maloney likes to disassemble the ways that we think, see, feel, and move through space. Lately, she and her collaborators Joanne Barrett and Shaneeka Harrell have been conducting experiments in memory. They are deep in the process of building In This Place, a new physical theater project premiering this week.

For this project, Maloney will be stepping outside of Inkub8, her Wynwood dance lab, to explore FUNDarte's On.Stage.Black.Box theater at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium. She recently took a break from rehearsals to tell us what she's been up to.

Cultist: What's at the core of this project?
Heather Maloney:
There are three performers, and we each started with our first memory of our house -- walking through the house and speaking about what we see and where things are located. Memories are inherently spatial, and this piece brings it back to the idea of the body being the container of memory.

Once you opened up your memory box, were you able to see and feel more than you expected?
Yes. But they are still partial pictures. If you're looking at your first house, for example, the picture never becomes complete. In my own house, I don't remember my parents' room or what it looks like above the kitchen counter because I was short. So the picture never gets completed.

Has it been therapeutic for you?
I don't know if therapeutic is word for it, but remembering to remember brings a sense of recognizing one's parts. And also the randomness of what those parts are. It's really interesting what we carry with us. And I think the randomness brings a sense of acceptance or humor.

Do you expect the viewer to enter into your memory? Or their own?
In the physicality of partial memories, the viewer creates their own partial pictures, usually in relationship to their own memory. And one of the things I'm very interested in as a choreographer is generating "state" -- a state that holds the conceptual and emotional intention. From there, the architecture is built. The characters are very researched, and the artifacts of the gestural language are in place. But then it all gets arranged in the moment of the performance. One of the reasons I really like working with states is that they are generated in relationship to the subconscious of the performer as well as the observers.

Is this a way to let go of your individuality for a moment?
Yes, but in a way, two things are happening at the same time -- the internal landscape meets the exterior landscape.

And for this project, you've stepped outside of your home base at Inkub8.
Yes. This year FundArte is presenting several different Miami-based artists in the black-box space at the auditorium. Which is a really awesome space. What's cool about it is that it's large, because it's an opera house, so it has a huge seating area and all of the technology and lights and space. You can really transform it. You have choices around where the audience is or how you use it. And a full grid, in terms of lighting. So it's a great space, and a needed space for artists who aren't necessarily looking to be in a proscenium environment.

In This Place, Friday at 8:30 p.m.; On.Stage Black.Box Theater, Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St., Miami. Tickets cost $20; call 800-745-3000 or visit ticketmaster.com or fundarte.us.

--Annie Hollingsworth, artburstmiami.com

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Location Info


Miami-Dade County Auditorium

2901 W. Flagler St., Miami, FL

Category: General

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