Above: Joe Goode Performance Group rehearsing The Resilience Project
On February 29, Joe Goode and members of his San Francisco-based Joe Goode Performance Group took up a two-week residency at The Dance Center. This marks their fifth appearance on our season since 2000, testimony to a longstanding partnership with this wonderful ensemble. Their last visit, in 2011, featured Joe’s lovely and moving evening-length collaboration with puppeteer Basil Twist, Wonderboy, plus a look at his signature solo 29 Effeminate Gestures. This week the company will perform Hush, a narrative dance theater work taking place in a run-down bar populated by workers troubled by their own dark secrets and searching for pathways to self-empowerment and healing. We’ll be telling you more about Hush as the week progresses.
Last week, the company worked on what Joe has titled The Resilience Project. It aims to explore how we as humans deal with trauma, using storytelling and performance as a way of finding universality and strength in the face of adversity. “Resilience, to me, is about falling down and getting up,” Joe Goode has written. “It is about absorbing the impossible difficulties that come one’s way…it can also be about pressing the restart button, about accepting tragic and often devastating circumstances, and moving on to create a new condition for one’s life.”
When we first learned about The Resilience Project, we determined to find a way to bring it to Chicago. We imagined that this would be a superb element in our Audience and Community Engagement (ACE) program. After discussions with Joe, we identified American combat veterans as the population we wanted to involve in the project. Thanks to a grant from The Chicago Community Trust, plus the beautiful work and efforts of Joe and his team, we were able to bring this dream to reality.
Working with advisors from several veterans groups here in Chicago as well as representatives from our Creative Arts Therapies Department at Columbia College Chicago, we identified half a dozen interviewees who provided the stories that Joe and his dancers used as source material in assembling the Chicago Resilience Project performance. After a week of intensive rehearsal, the company performed the material on Saturday, March 5 for an enthusiastic audience that included veterans, their family members, individuals from the healing arts community, and teens dealing with PTSD. The project was deeply moving to all who attended and participated, and we are grateful to all those veterans and supporters who helped make the project possible.
More to come on Hush, so check back often or better still sign up for notifications when a new blog entry is posted! We hope to see you on Thursday, or Friday, or Saturday night.