The family structure is shown in a world premiere piece by the Seattle Dance Collective (Under the direction of artistic directors and dancers from the Pacific Northwest Ballet Noelani Pantastico and James Yoichi Moore), released online today and available for streaming November 11-21. Choreographed by Robyn Mineko Williams, the short video “Where You Stay” was filmed on Vashon Island, on the historic site of the Mukai Farm & Garden (where you too can visit the Japanese gardens and dance).
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the beautiful craftsman’s house and grounds are in 1923 BD Mukai started a flourishing strawberry farm, which his son Masa took over in 1934. When Executive Order 9066 was issued in 1942, Masa, his wife and son fled to an area in Oregon outside of the “exclusion zone” to avoid internment. After the Second World War, they were able to return to business.
Without addressing this story directly, “Where You Stay” places six dancers in and around the house, in an antique yellow dream landscape in which timelines are blurred, but the response is clear. Dressed in street clothes that could be seen from different eras, the dancers twist and bend over, but seem to be stuck in this place, like ghosts or broken birds.
Watching feels like the dream of walking through a house wondering if I lived here? Have I always lived here? Somehow you know your way around architecture. Generation threads extend over time and space, as a dancer James Yoichi Moore pursues a young boy (choreographer Williams’ son Knox) who could be his younger self, son, or grandfather.
Also on the premiere bill with the title Here & Now are two short films by the director Bruno Roque. “5 favorite things”, choreographed by HERD (Alice Klock and Florian Lochner) shows six dancers – with lockdown-chic soft pants – who move amoeba-like across a black stage in solos, duets and a full ensemble, while the camera closely follows a series of shots. And in “To Dust”, choreographed by Juliano Nunes, the FLOCK duo hugs and crosses each other in a raw gray backstage room. While the soundtrack rattles like a moving train, it means that time is pressing forward, one last dance ends, but the music continues.