PLACE (No Place) is an evening-length dance work with integrated video, set, and puppetry by dancer/choreographer Lisa Gonzales and designer Tom Lee. The work investigates the relationship between place and being, and unfolds in a constructed, immersive, and shifting environment that houses both the dance and the audience.
Through movement, shadow, video projection, and textual and tactile elements, PLACE (No Place) conjures place in a way that illuminates and eulogizes connection and loss within a constantly shifting ecosystem. Gonzales and Lee draw upon their own experiences with memory and loss while fostering each audience member’s sense of connection to, or disconnection from, places present and lost.
Sponsorship by High Concept Labs allows Gonzales and Lee to incubate this new devised work in preparation for a 2017 premiere. This will be achieved through improvisation, rehearsal, and media experimentation, with the goal of a unified design. Informal showings, studio visits, and workshops will also assist in the development of the work.
Lisa Gonzales is a dance maker, performer, and associate professor at Columbia College Chicago. Interested in the complex array of meanings revealed by bodies in relationship to environment, Gonzales’ work often investigates some aspect of the power and frailty inherent in humanness. She has shown her work in diverse spaces such as DTW in New York, The Dance Center of Columbia College and Links Hall in Chicago, the historic Lu-Ling Theater in Taipei, Taiwan, at the Dostoyevsky Theater in St. Petersburg Russia, in Helsinki, Finland, and in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.
Gonzales is co-founder of The Architects (a dance collective dedicated to the performance of improvisation) and considers the politics of a collectively organized group teaching collaboratively and making performance work improvisationally and non-hierarchically to be an important artistic and social practice. She has been described as a performer of “stunning power and nuance” by the New York Times. Gonzales attended Middlebury College and received her MFA from the Ohio State University. She is grateful to her mentors and collaborators for inspiring her life-long commitment to dance and creative practice.
Born in Korea and raised in Hawai’i, Tom Lee is a designer, director, and puppet artist. His work frequently incorporates live-feed video and projection design with puppetry, exploring the synthesis of manipulated objects, miniatures, and figures with the language of film and animation. Growing up in Hawai’i, Mr. Lee was exposed to Asian theatre traditions that have had a profound impact on his work. Following the professional acting program at Carnegie Mellon University, his interest in performance and design found their synthesis in puppet theatre.
Lee’s puppetry performance includes War Horse on Broadway and Madama Butterfly with the Metropolitan Opera, among many others. Tom has created numerous original pieces, including Shank’s Mare, a collaboration with Japanese puppet master Koryu Nishikawa V, which will tour to Japan this summer. Shank’s Mare received the 2016 Arlyn Award for Outstanding Puppetry Design. Tom is a recipient of the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Designers and taught design and puppetry at Sarah Lawrence College for ten years.
Tom and Lisa were introduced while working on the puppet piece, Hiroshima Maiden, by Dan Hurlin. This is their first formal collaboration.