Tuesday brought multiple encounters with Bridgman|Packer Dance both on the stage of Schaeffer Theater and with their students in the dining hall. This company comprised of Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer is a longtime friend of the festival. Back in 2007 BDF co-commissioned a new work from the company, Memory Bank. Their most recent work, Voyeur will be performed this weekend at the festival, along with Under the Skin.

During the Show & Tell on Tuesday night, Art and Myrna showed a few clips of their work that illustrate how their use of technology has grown over time. Bridgman|Packer Dance’s relationship to technology and video started in 2000 when they began experimenting with an overhead projector to cast shadows on a red scrim in Carried Away. This lead them to think more about how the 3D body can interact or become a 2D projection. The obvious next step for them was working in video.

Always with wit and humor these two have created a vast number of works that integrate recorded video, live video feed, unique set design and luscious partner dancing. Their unique relationship to video work is born out of their use of physical partnering. Unlike other video work I’ve seen, the projections are treated as another partner in the dance. In Double Expose, recorded video and live video are projected simultaneously onto a mattress, allowing the dancers on stage to appear as if they in the same bed as the projections. The precision of the dancer’s placement in space makes these cleaver “encounters” that much more amusing.

However, Art and Myrna are not just here to perform. They are teaching two classes during their time here: a Modern Repertory class and Performance and Live Video. Tuesday during lunch we were surprised with a performance around the tables of the Commons from their modern repertory class. Music blared through a boom box in the back of the room and dancers appeared barefoot and in sneakers to perform some acrobatic partnering work.

Bridgman and Packer's modern repertory class surprised us with a performance in the Commons.

Bridgman and Packer’s modern repertory class surprised us with a performance in the Commons.

You can get your tickets to see Bridgman|Packer Dance’s performances on Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm through the Bates Dance Festival website and learn more about the company through their website.

-Posted by Caroline Barna. Caroline is BDF’s Social Media Intern for the 2013 summer.