Feeling the Audience

In addition to learning new ways of relating to their own bodies in space, Whiteside and Cannon have been learning new ways of relating to the bodies watching their bodies in space. "Whenever I get into a space," says Whiteside, "I think, 'Oh, the people are so far away, they can't see this. This gesture is going to get lost.' But actually, because the spaces are so hard, our soft bodies in the space resonate that much more. Little gestures, little expressions really pop out."

And unlike a traditional theatrical environment in which the audience is swallowed in blackness, invisible to the performers, the site-specific work gives Whiteside and Cannon a greater connection to audiences than ever before. "In these situations, we're a part of everything," says Cannon. "We can hear people talking on their cell phones, the guy walking down the street who says, 'Hey, good job,' in the middle of the show. You can even feel when you gain people, like when you're in the middle of a show, and somebody's walking on the sidewalk, and then he stops and turns, and other people gather. You can feel that happening, and it's really exciting. I feel more connected to an audience in this situation than I do in any theatre situation, even if I am hundreds of feet away from them. I feel them with me, sort of holding me up there, and the life and the activity that is around us and that we're a part of at that time, it's fantastic! [But] then you have to keep yourself from being so interested in the car wreck that just happened on the street and remember that you're having to do your thing right, so you don't fall. It's almost the ultimate exercise in performance awareness and connection to the audience."

  • More of the Story

  • They Might Be Angels

    For Blue Lapis Light, dance artists Laura Cannon and Nicole Whiteside become heavenly creatures

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