On Sept. 16, Tacoma-based choreographer Carla Barragán and BQdanza dance troupe debuted a new work, Thick, at Tollefson Plaza. The site-specific performance is a response to the Gulf Coast oil spill and represents the enormity of the tragedy through a kinesthetic interpretation of the ecosystem’s birds and wildlife. The performance took place in the early evening on the plaza, and the dance incorporated its cascade pools. Those who were in attendance agreed: It was a pleasure to see humans moving in harmony with nature (i.e., the drizzly fall weather) instead of assaulting the earth, as from, say, an oil rig.
Spectators took the weather in stride: “It was a wonderful performance. So cool that it was raining because it helped all of us feel like [participants] since the dancers were splashing in the ponds,” enthused onlooker Michael Sandner. Colleen Gray observed: “The low light and rain were perfect compliments to the mood set by the movement and sound. The use of the water in the fountain in the last minutes somehow surprised both of us. We had completely forgotten where we were!”
“I was very happy with the performance” and even the rainfall, says Ecuadoran-born Barragán. The brick plaza was softly lit, the night gently fell, “and that offered the audience and me a very mystical experience of the performance. We are so used to [performing in large venues] that this was a very genuine display of focused talent from my five beautiful dancers.” A soundtrack of natural bird and insect sounds, and original poetry by Luke Smiraldo, added subtle intensity to the slow-paced dance piece.
Many thanks to BQdanza for a memorable tribute to a natural habitat still under siege.