Local Arts

‘Ascension’ uses dance to celebrate the solstice

Courtesy of Alexander W. Lieberman

Charlotte native and sometimes resident Alexander W. Lieberman combines dance, video installation, music, food, and audience involvement to create “Ascension,” a celebration of the solstice, Sunday at Spirit Square’s Knight Gallery.

Lieberman is well known throughout Charlotte’s professional dance community. The 30-year-old graduate of Charlotte’s Northwest School of the Arts and UNC Greensboro toured Europe extensively with the renowned Pilobolus dance troupe from 2011-2013.

Upon his return to Charlotte, he’s performed with a number of locally based troupes including TAPROOT, Triptych Collective, The Moving Poets, and at the Charlotte Dance Festival with the CDF Ensemble.

“Ascension” is an experimental program featuring area dancers in a series of five separate works illustrating and paying homage to the solstice.

In producing the program, Lieberman is tapping into his fascination with interactive video. He uses a special computerized program to manipulate live-feed images throughout the performance. A downward facing camera is mounted directly above the stage, generating a feed from the camera that is projected into the gallery space.

“The solstice idea was a seed planted by Amy Bagwell (The Wall Poems of Charlotte project),” said Lieberman. “This program is breaking the fourth wall in theater as we’re going beyond performance and video installation and engaging the audience to move about. The motion in some instances activates image changes and is even incorporated into the projection.”

Lieberman said the various works run between seven and 15 minutes in length and feature solos, duets and ensemble pieces. He’s calling in many favors and tapping several friends in collaboration of this entirely self-funded production.

Joining Lieberman in performing are dancers Crystal Wellman, Shakeela Mays, Colton Douglas Southworth, Megan Rindoks, Sarah Lanners and Jonathan Paul Prichard. Live music is performed by Advertisement, William Jacob Johnson and Jason Hausman.

The ensemble group is putting in several days of advance rehearsal at “borrowed space” around town, including the McColl Center for Art & Innovation and Spirit Square, where they will perform in the former Light Factory space at the Knight Gallery.

Koichi Matsuda is catering specially prepared tapas-style hors d’oeuvres intended to be eaten as part of the performance.

“There are opportunities for the audience to get out of their seats and reflect on what they’ve just seen,” said Lieberman in describing elements of the performance. “The food design is part of that experience.”

Audiences can expect a tightly choreographed performance featuring intriguing and, in some instances, outlandish costumes.

“The program pays tribute to an entire season of solstice, from birth through evolution and ultimately enlightenment,” Lieberman said. “I hope people take away the artistic essence of the solstice and experience an element of its spiritual nature.”

This story was produced as part of the Charlotte Arts Journalism Alliance.

PREVIEW

‘Ascension’

Ascend to enlightenment with dance, music, video, food and drink.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Sunday.

WHERE: Knight Gallery at Spirit Square, 345 N. College St.

SUGGESTED DONATION: $15-$20.

DETAILS: www.alexanderwindnerlieberman.com.

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