Dancers Kate Watson-Wallace, Jaamil Kosoko, Megan Bridge to perform pop-up

Jaamil Kosoko performs his creation, “explicit bodies.”
Jaamil Kosoko performs his creation, “explicit bodies.”
Posted: May 21, 2012

KATE Watson-Wallace wants to confuse the tourists.

The avant-garde choreographer and dancer is one of the organizers of “us.”, an evening of three dance pieces by herself, her partner, Jaamil Kosoko, and ’s Megan Bridge. But first, they’ve organized a pop-up shop at Christ Church to get potential audience members in the groove.

“You came to see the Betsy Ross House,” Watson-Wallace said, “and then we flip it.”

The four-day pop-up, a week before the formal performance, will include DJ sets by Ryan Hancock & Mike Z, performances by storyteller and comedian Rose Luardo, food, and a chance to see Watson-Wallace, Kosoko and Bridge’s rehearsal process. Tying the pop-up performers together is the idea of Americana and a celebration of the counterculture. Watson-Wallace referred to the participants as having a “Howard Zinn-y, ‘People’s History’ vibe.” “We wanted to give the public a reason to keep coming,” Kosoko said.

In the following week’s performance, “us.,” each piece will explore themes of identity and how it relates to each performer.

Bridge’s “Subject in Two Parts” combines a solo piece (performed by Bridge) and a quartet (John Luna, Lorin Lyle, Rebecca Sloan and Annie Wilson). The solo looks at the many layers of the self through different icons, such as Marilyn Monroe and Beat author William S. Burroughs. The quartet focuses on how we view ourselves through the lens of media. Bridge’s husband and the co-founder of , Peter Price, created video projections and composed music that is a mash-up of songs from the eras that Bridge’s piece reflects.

“explicit bodies,” Kosoko’s solo piece, tackles his identity. “It grew out of a deep conversation on black identity and what it means to be black now,” Kosoko said, adding that ideas from cultural critic Toure influenced his work.

“anonymous bodies” is the first collaboration between Kosoko and Watson-Wallace as the anonymous-bodies dance collective, although they’ve danced together periodically since 2006’s “House.” They have been working on this piece for a year and will incorporate memories they have of each other. “We were really obsessed with this idea of a shared memory and becoming each other. What does it mean for a black man to become a white woman, and vice versa?” Kosoko said.

Bridge sees many links between her work and Watson-Wallace and Kosoko’s: They all use technology in unconventional ways, and their creations have a social commentary angle. But there’s a lighter side too. “Our work is dark,” Bridge said, “but with a humorous side to it.” n

Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N. American St. Pop-up shop, 6:30-9:30 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday, free. Performances 8 p.m. May 31-June 2; 3 p.m. June 3; $12-$20; thefidget.org, anonymousbodies.org.

Contact Molly Eichel at 215-854-5909 or eichelm@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @mollyeichel. Read her blog posts at philly.com/entertainment.

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