photo: Jeffrey Bane, loopdiver
loopdiver: Journey of a Dance (NET, PBS documentary)
Premiered: Lied Center for Performing Arts, Lincoln, Nebraska, 2009
Choreography: Dawn Stoppiello in collaboration with the performers
Videography & Music: Mark Coniglio
Dramaturgy: Peter C von Salis
Lighting Design: David Tirosh
Set Design: Colin Kilian
Production Manager: Jennifer Sherburn
Performers: Morgan Cloud, Jennifer Kovacevich, Johanna Levy, Travis Steele Sisk, Dawn Stoppiello and Lucia Tong.
Commissioning Partners: Lied Center for Performing Arts, Creative Campus Innovations Program (APAP and Doris Duke Foundation), the National Endowment for the Arts, 3LD Art & Technology Center, Jerome Foundation, Multi-Arts Production (MAP) Fund.
The development of loopdiver began with a simple idea: to explore the concept of loops, a structure pervasive in culture since the popularization of the computer. We first created a 6-minute long performance that was complete in its own right, with movement, music, video and theatrical lighting; then, using a special software tool, we transformed a videotape of that performance into a 60-minute long choreographic ‘score’ from which we rigorously generated the live choreography. While the digital materials (video, sound, light) maintain the absolute precision and perfection of the computer, the learned choreography is necessarily imperfect due to human interpretation. When placed together on stage, we see the performers in a constant struggle to adapt to an externally imposed machine rhythm. loopdiver asks the viewer to join in on this simultaneously dreamlike and maddening journey as the performers attempt to escape their prisons of repetition. The meaning of the materials grows and changes as it appears again and again, ultimately challenging us to dive in a break free of our own repetitive and potentially destructive behavior.
“loopdiver is thematically complex, a conflicted piece that replicates the jerky, eerie, instant repetitions of computer imagery via live dancers, who also rebel and fight it some of the time. It’s both intriguing and numbing to watch, as innovative and off-putting as early responses to musical minimalism seemed in their day. This is not about pretty, reassuring design.” – Sid Smith, Chicago Tribune (Read Full Review)
“Most of these rigid patterns conform to an overall rhythm: rush, pose, hold. Obsessive repetition drills them into our brains…. It’s as if these people are numbly replaying the embedded residue of crises. Their mechanical precision both undermines and sets off their humanness.” – Deborah Jowitt, Village Voice (Read Full Review)
“Perhaps the most profound idea [in loopdiver]: if the patterns in our lives are forged by our reactions to previous patterns being ruptured, who’s to say—when the dust finally settles—that any true patterns exist at all?” – Mitch Montgomery, OffOffOnline (Read Full Review)
“… six dancers were working on an intricate sequence, painstakingly repeating a short section several times to get each step, gesture and sound timed and executed exactly right. It is grueling work, but loopdiver depends on specificity. ‘If they’re not done perfectly, the piece loses its meaning,’…” Steve McElroy, New York Times (Read Full Article)