The stage that was assembled on Cross Campus over the past several days will host a dance installation beginning this Wednesday.
The exhibition, titled “Slow Dancing,” is a piece by former visiting faculty member David Michalek and is being sponsored by Yale’s Institute of Sacred Music. It will feature a series of 52 slow-motion films — approximately ten minutes each — portraying dancers from all over the world. Different films will be shown on three big screens simultaneously each night of the exhibit, allowing the audience to compare the dancers’ different techniques. The exhibit has previously been staged at the Paris Opera Ballet and the Venice Biennale.
Director of the Institute of Sacred Music Martin D. Jean explained that the show uses computers to randomly select and display different films, adding that the movies will not even begin at the same time.
“This work plays with time because you’re looking at a 5 second dance movement with a beginning, middle, and end over a period [of] 10 minutes in absolute perfect digital clarity,” Jean said. “There’s no ambiguity of the image, and you have a sense of utter reality but set in a pace that is completely fictitious.”
Jean and the Institute of Sacred Music had been looking to put on Michalek’s exhibit for almost three years, Jean noted, emphasizing the artist’s strong connection to Yale. Michalek has had two exhibits at Yale in the past.
Melissa Maier, manager of external relations and publications at the ISM, said that even though the exhibit is not religious in nature, Michalek himself has a profound relationship with the spiritual. Jean noted that the artist had at one point considered priesthood as a vocation. Maier explained that the ISM is an interdisciplinary graduate center and is concerned with all arts, adding that the institute does not require its exhibits to have an apparent religious tone.
Jean said that the exhibition also aims to honor the center’s fortieth anniversary, which the ISM marked last year. The Institute meant to stage the show last semester, Jean explained, but was unable to due to logistical challenges. Jean explained that he wanted to stage an exhibit that would lead members of the Yale community to venture outside and view a show in an unconventional space.
“[We wanted to do] something that would get us out of the chapels, the concert halls, classrooms … and this seemed to be a fitting, gracious exhibition to mount,” Jean said.
But several students interviewed expressed mixed emotions about the exhibition. Many said they were confused about the construction efforts on Cross Campus, adding that they did not know what was taking place.
Regina Chan ’15 said she had passed the stage but was not aware of the event, and wondered whether the ISM had done enough publicity to attract students. Rohan Goswami ’15 said he had never heard of the ISM before. Both Chan and Goswami said they might attend the event in passing, but that they will not go out of their way to view the exhibit.
The exhibition is co-sponsored by the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library and International Festival of Arts & Ideas and Site Projects New Haven.
Contact rohan naik at email@example.com .