ADG Interprets “Clearstory Squares” Through Dance in the Addison

Andover Dance Group (ADG) returned to Christopher C. Cook’s multi-panel painting “Clearstory Squares” in the Addison Gallery to perform the second phase of their dance this past Friday.

ADG coordinated their dance with Cook’s installation, which is rearranged every few weeks.

As the panels of the paintings are changed in the future, ADG will also change their choreography to suit the new arrangement.

This year, ADG consists of 18 dancers, split into two smaller groups.

This phase featured seven members of ADG, Juli Brandano ’12, Emily Field ’13, Graham Johns ’14, Madeleine Kim ’12, Enek Peterson ’12, Madeline Silva ’13 and Noel Um ’12.

Sounds of chugging trains and shaking maracas created a rhythmic beat that accompanied ADG’s dance.

The dancers’ attire, leotards in natural and muted colors, complemented Cook’s simplistic multi-panel landscapes.

ADG’s interpretive dances flowed smoothly as the dancers moved from one gallery to another.

Each dancer performed a solo at the end of each piece before moving on to the next gallery.

ADG’s dance performance in the Addison lasted about 10 minutes.

An intimate group of audience members applauded ADG’s performance after each piece.

Judith Wombwell, Instructor in Theater and Dance and Director of ADG, who choreographed the performance, said, “Every once in a while we want to challenge ourselves as choreographers, dancers and as a department to do something unusual and to break out of mold of performing on a stage, [a place] which is safe when you get used to it.”

Wombwell said that the group had done a similar performance several years ago when the artist Trisha Brown’s exhibit was on display.

Wombwell wanted to try performing in the Addison again, with Cook’s unique artwork as an inspiration.

In addition to the visitors, members of the Addison also thoroughly enjoyed the dance in the galleries.

Julie Bernson, Curator of Education at the Addison, said in an e-mail to The Phillipian, “It has been amazing to watch the choreography come together and evolve for ‘Clearstory Squares.’ To see the students rehearse and perform Ms. Wombewell’s choreography in the gallery spaces has been magical.”

Bernson had been working with Wombwell during the summer. They viewed Cook’s plans for his changing installation and met with Cook to decide on his concept for his exhibition.

“It was fascinating to see how ‘Phase Two’ was performed on Friday shifted in relation to the reinstallation of the panels, as the dancers shifted from being contained in one corner of the room to spreading out throughout the entire room and addressing all four corners. This meant the audience had to stand inside the four dancers, becoming enveloped by their presence and movement,” said Bernson.

Bernson continued, “The audience also became aware of their location in the room and their relationship to both the paintings and the dancers in a way that was different from when all of the movement was in front of them, and they could easily move out of the way and become passive.”

Cook was the director of the Addison from 1969 to 1989.

After retiring from the Addison he taught in Andover’s Art Department until 1998.

The configuration of “Clearstory Squares” has changed twice already. The first group of ADG dancers performed the first phase during Parent’s Weekend.

The panels will be reinstalled in a different configuration once more in December, and ADG will perform several times on December 2nd and 3rd to accompany the new phase of Cook’s “Clearstory Squares.”

Contributed reporting by Sarah Lee ’13.