Minneapolis-based dance duo Hijack (Kristin Van Loon and Arwen Wilder) are teaming up once again with New Orleans-based performer and choreographer Scott Heron for a two evening engagement at Bryant-Lake Bowl. It should be mad fun. The trio last collaborated on "smithsonian," which was performed at Bedlam and Open Eye before premiering in New York City at Dixon Place in 2010. This weekend is a chance to see Hijack and Heron's separately created work as they're in the process of making something new.
Photo by Gene Pittman. Courtesy Walker Art Center
"When we're at this stage, we just grab anything and go with it," says
Heron. "We find something that's interesting -- or not -- and make
ourselves wallow in it."
Right now, the unnamed new piece includes elements of jazz music, because while they were rehearsing at the Bryant-Lake Bowl they found a radio, and the first station that they turned to was KBEM 89.3. Wilder admits that they're not really fans of the music style, but are going with it and seeing where it takes them. Often, they find themselves "noodling around" (as Van Loon calls it) with no sound, or searching their laptop for gems from the internet. For example, in the past they've free-associated with phrases that have the word "west" in it. They've also found inspiration from John Denver music.
For this weekend's show, they won't be presenting the unnamed new work, but instead will perform three different pieces that show off Hijack and Heron's talents separately.
The first is "Mr. Hijack," a piece that was first developed as part of Bedlam's 10 Minute Festival, and was originally performed by eight people. Now re-imagined as a quartet, it features Arwen and Van Loon with Tom Lloyd and Craig VanTrees. Van Loon says that when they first developed the piece at Bedlam, they did so with the intention that it would lead to something going forward.
"It's a lot about there being too much to see and hear," says Wilder. "Your first reaction might feel like you're overwhelmed, but then things come around again and you have the experience of getting all the information you need."
The second piece, by Heron, refers to elements of the performance craft that could be thought of as embarrassing. Ventriloquism, mime, and ballet -- all disciplines in which Heron has expertise -- get showcased unabashedly and without irony. Heron wears a women's leotard, which "gives a lot of thigh an butt," he says. But he's not clowning in it. Rather, "I'm kind of embodying the beautiful dancer."
Arwen Wilder, Scott Heron and Kristin Van Loon at the BLB
"We're living in the age of irony," says Heron. "I'm always questioning,
'Am I really doing this?' I think I'm always laughing at the absurdity of
this profession: questioning it, examining it, making fun of it." At
the same time, Heron also explores sincerity in how he approaches the
Finally, the evening ends with "Hijack's Pink," about "math and time and grids and deadlines mixed with goofy, full-on dancing and images of dancing," says Wilder. The piece is in some ways a continuation of Hijack's performance at the Outlet Performance Festival last winter.
Often when they perform, in fact, they rip content from past showings, displaying them in different contexts. It's possible that some of what you see this weekend may be echoed in their upcoming performance at the Walker in December, mixed and recontextualized into something entirely different. In any case, it's a great chance to see them perform.
IF YOU GO:
Hijack + Heron Dance Show #5 7 p.m. Friday, June 14 and Saturday, June 15 Bryant-Lake Bowl $10-15 sliding scale