Preview: Colony Square JACKS it up to host Dashboard’s party of original modern dance

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Is JACK the inside circle at the club? Or the diner where they eat off a continual hangover?

Is JACK a who? Or is it a feeling or the happening of neon gas in your last-night best friend’s backyard?

Claire Molla, Erik Thurmond and Melissa Word are the three-headed vehicle of JACK, a social performance on dance party politics. Dashboard hosts the event on Friday at 8 p.m. in the surprising context of an unused space at the largely corporate Colony Square. 

Though this will be Thurmond’s third Atlanta performance with Dashboard, it is the debut of these local dancer-choreographers working as a collaborative trio. Seeded in friendship and shared conversation, JACK will ask their sexy questions and resist answers to our interpersonal dance-floor dramas: How do we embody our awareness of being watched? Of moving with others? Can we even have a purely physical, ecstatic experience in public?

The cast of JACK: (from left to right)Claire Molla, Erik Thurmond and Melissa Word. (Photo by Anton Molla)
The cast of JACK: (from left to right) Claire Molla, Erik Thurmond and Melissa Word. (Photo by Anton Molla)

With sound by DJ Everything Happens for a Reason, the movers stylishly physicalize these internal dialogues. Their fluid, pulsing world confuses preconceived notions around this kind of dance space by blurring who is dancing and what is the space. At times, it seems like their mutable unit is operating more in relationship to the space itself than in relationship to each other (or anyone else). The simplified movement vocabulary creates discernible rhythms and repetition, and it allows the viewer to notice different ways their collective amoeba is inhabiting and extending the spatial web.

Like a chameleon or hologram, their structures continuously dissolve in and out of postured vignettes. These multifaceted mutations range from dark to quirky, funny, ecstatic; and it complicates the club atmosphere with nuanced roles of agency and power. Ambiguity clouds the distinction between witness and performer like we could all be in a music video together … while we’re watching it.

Dashboard hosts this pop iconic (or iconoclastic?) look at the ritual of going “out.” The organization’s savvy for arresting unexpected spaces regularly unsettles the usual art-going experience; and this event holds true to form. JACK promises a woozy dance party dream that blurs personal performance distinctions and demands our authentic reactions in the moment. Like the club.

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