Choreographer Brigid Baker is fascinated by the miraculous strangeness of the natural world, by its beauty and non-human weirdness. In her newest piece, Remain in Light (set to and inspired by the visionary 1980 David Byrne/Brian Eno album), she celebrates the “otherness” of the natural world and attempts to meet and engage it through movement.
This makes sense. Baker’s choreography, and the dance technique she’s developed in the enchanting, idiosyncratic bohemian haven of her Little Havana space, the 6TH Street Dance Studio, is based in a profound sense of natural movement. Her dancers move as if powered by breath or flowing water, legs and arms rippling, swirling or leaping as if bouyed, effortlessly, by air currents which they alone can feel. She is an extremely rare example in Miami of someone who has created an original style of dancing and way of teaching it. Her movement workshops are called “Lightbody,” her company is called Brigid Baker Wholeproject; both names give a sense of the holistic, naturalistic way she thinks about her work.
For her dance piece Big Beautiful, Baker made a film of rapidly changing, brilliantly colored creatures and phenomena – flowers, birds, insects, clouds, storms – a powerful backdrop to the dance, adding layers of meaning and wonder. Her social media feeds are spotted with startling images and news of happenings in the natural world. Wonderlawn, an abstract piece, pays tribute to those lost to AIDS. The 80’s in New York were a central era for Baker, when she was involved in cutting edge contemporary dance and the early hiphop scene. It’s not as strange as it sounds; during the same period, downtown experimental musicians worked with pop innovators and newcomers – it was a time when you could be serious, radical and pop at the same time, like in Remain in Light.
Baker has been teasing us with mini-videos of Remain in Light for weeks, which hint at the hypnotic flow of the movement and the music. This weekend, we’ll finally be able to dive in.
Remain in Light is at 8pm Thursday Oct. 31 through Sunday Nov. 3 at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium On.Stage Black Box, 2901 W Flagler St. Miami, 33135. Tickets are $22 at MiamiDadeCountyAuditorium.org. Presented by 6TH Street Dance Studio/Wholeproject.