Choreographer Lauri Stallings has just announced gloATL’s largest site-specific work yet, the ironically named “Hinterland.” The light-based parade spectacle, produced by Kelly Nelson’s entertainment company Luminocity Atlanta, will take place November 27, and gloATL will perform public previews October 9 and November 5 at dusk in downtown Atlanta’s Fairlie-Poplar District. Robert W. Woodruff Park, which abuts Five Points and Atlanta’s historic center, will be the “gravity hot spot.”
Antwan “Big Boi” Patton, of the hip-hop duo OutKast, will appear in a Stallings work for the first time since Atlanta Ballet’s 2008 production of “big.” Artistic collaborators April McCoy, Ryan O’Gara and Adam Larsen, who have worked with Stallings at various times during gloATL’s 13-month existence, will also lend their talents to “Hinterland”; this blend of light, technology, dance, aerial work, music and design will be the first time all three have collaborated since “big.”
Patton will appear as “Ringmeister,” one of several characters who’ll be threaded throughout the event’s non-linear theme, described by Stallings as “a very strange carnival.” The rapper will perform music from his new album, “Sir Luscious Leftfoot and the Son of Chico Dusty,” and his music will be woven into the rhythms of Balkan culture, integrated with music by Balkan composer Boris Kovac and the indie folk group Beirut.
To bring the production to full scale, Stallings is currently introducing a new batch of local dancers to her unique movement style. Those selected by audition are participating in gloLAB, a program of Gaga-based technique classes and choreographic process. More than 40 dancers are expected to perform in late November. Part of the creative process will also involve an artistic residency at the Rialto Center for the Arts, which Stallings appreciates for the “tapestry of cultures” represented in its programming. During the performance, from the Rialto through the Fairlie-Poplar District, dancers will “bleed” from buildings, attempting to ignite the area’s nooks and crannies. (Photo of GloATL dancer Nicole Johnson, in makeup for “Hinterland,” by Parish Kohanim.)
Stallings explained why Woodruff Park’s “mosaic of subcultures” attracted her. “It’s as close to [New York’s] Central Park as you’re going to get in this city,” she said, mentioning the park’s chess and card game tables, reading spaces, piano and sound system that plays classical music. “The place has been sitting there so many years. It’s either a place people want to go to or it’s a place they want to run away from. We want to neutralize it … so it can reveal itself.
“It’s an important space in the city. The heart of downtown needs to be defined. It’s important in order for us to move forward.”