When Brigid Baker throws a party, it’s a party!
The April celebration at Baker’s 6th Studio in Little Havana, Miami began in the parking lot, with Broadway diva, Bertilla Baker, singing “Get the Party Started” as she rose in an open elevator to the back door platform of the studio. Alongside on the building’s blank wall, we watched the “Wall Rapture” as a graffiti artist contributed to the scene. Dancers mingled with guests and everyone was cooking to the vibe as “baby” break-dancers hit the platform to bust their moves.
Once upstairs we entered Brigid Baker’s true domain. As proficient a visual artist as she is as a choreographer, the studio was festooned with exquisite detailed hangings made from found objects. A magnificent chandelier composed of horizontally hung plastic bottles mixed with fairy lights in one corner; a mound of ephemeral “garbage’ lay against a wall; hanging nests, huge golden chain-links made of cardboard that later would be pulleyed up to the ceiling to make rings, a mesh overhang made of stockings… all characteristic of Baker’s vision of a world made magic through the use of already touched objects. The universe made anew through recycled materials.
The indoor performance began with Hip hop artist Chillski setting us on fire with his vibrating body that popped to music created by midi-bass player Steven Mathieu and the Kid Blast Sound System, who also created the incidental music for the soundtrack to Comet Love Joy. Chillski’s mini disciples, the TruSchool Kids, no more than 8 or 9 years old, displayed their gifts in the art of breaking as Baker’s dancers cleaned up the “trash” spread over the stage space behind them, piling it on top of the growing mountain at the back.
As the music changed, Baker’s dancers began walking… unraveling patterns as they held handmade props, one dancer trailing the long golden braid of a comet’s tail across the floor. Comet Love Joy had begun.
Brigid Baker is a completely authentic artist. She lives her truth and we see and feel it in every molecule of movement that she passes on to her dancers. She captures the daily, the quotidian, the taken-for-granted, the private moments, and the deep and soulful reality of what it is to feel a life lived. She gets to the heart of things and somewhere along the line between humor and pathos, we usually find ourselves weeping at the poignancy of it all.
A graduate of Purchase College in upstate New York, Brigid Baker studied with the most iconic dancers and performers of her time. A disciple of Kazuko Hirabayashi, Baker embodies the best of modern dance, with a direct link to the greats: Martha Graham, Mel Wong, Merce Cunningham, and so many more. With these roots and references, she has consistently been her own entity, absorbing the history, but always making work in her own voice. A true iconoclast, she has the ability to make a full length concert on a shoestring, creating the costumes, sets, and all the conceptual elements that make a Baker performance a universe unto itself.
Comet Love Joy is the perfect example of how Baker sees and feels the world into its better-ness. Pick up the trash to reveal and make something beautiful. Find the exquisite in a single gesture. Open the heart center and expression will flow. Find the corporal parallel to what is small and great and display the human condition. These elements form the backbone of her expression, and through endless training and philosophical immersion, her dancers get it, express it, and embody it.
Baker’s corporal language is uniquely her own. Whether it is gesture or the grand movement, all of her lines emanate from the core, with the heart opening to complete each moment. Her dancers move like random molecules or like souls in complete unison. They make the stage a sacred space that we are drawn into. Baker’s musical choices reflect her commitment to creating a complete story in every frame, much like a soundtrack to life as it changes from moment to moment.
An excerpt of Comet Love Joy will be showing at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in a celebration of Miami Dance Week’s Miami Dance Sampler on the 27th and 28th of April at 8 PM
Little Haiti Cultural Center
212 NE 59th Terrace
Tickets: $20 general, $10 student & senior
Comet Love Joy will have its own theatrical premier in the fall of 2012 in Miami.
For more about Brigid Baker, WholeProject and the 6th Street Dance Studio: