“Traces of Us,” a collaborative public dance at Seattle's Waterfront Park, was one of four over the weekend.
Bright orange and dramatic dance dazzled under the sun at Seattle’s Waterfront Park over the weekend.
“Traces of Us” brought together choreographer Melissa Riker and six dancers from Kinesis Project dance theater, of New York City, costume designer Asa Thornton, four Seattle dancers and local artist Celeste Cooning, known for her intricate large-scale cut paper and fabric installations.
Four performances in and around the public over Saturday and Sunday, each day at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m., drew crowds of locals and tourists walking the popular summertime route near the Seattle Great Wheel, and was hosted by the Friends of Waterfront Seattle.
“To go from thinking we can do this, and then actually have these beautiful beings bring it to life is incredible,” said Riker, the choreographer of the piece, as she looked around at the audience watching the piece unfold.
“That’s why I make dance in public spaces. So we can do this and someone can see something beautiful in their day.”
Cooning said that she was introduced to Riker through a mutual friend, John Robinson, in the Seattle arts community. “It really started with a cross-country phone call,” Cooning said. “Our monumental kind of approach to bringing art to the public is aligned.”
The invitation for the piece called for folks to experience “time, memory, perspective, and connection” in the performance. A live band played, colored sand was stenciled into the sidewalk and wiped away by children, but what turned the most heads was the 115-foot long train made by Cooning.
Orange ripstop nylon glowed in the sun, creating patterns of light and shadow through her cuttings, and was stretched and unfurled by dancers at the beginning and end of the piece.
Riker has done many public-dance performances in different environments, and remarked on the “architecture and city curiosity” of Waterfront Park. She mentioned how the locals think of downtown, the viaduct and the waterfront as three different spaces.
“I saw it as one space,” she said. “I see that as an important change, as at least one divide will start to go away.”