Dancer Janice Lancaster may never go back to performing in theatres, she says with a laugh. She’s fallen for the bowl at the Food Lion Skate Park: the deepest, steepest terrain at the park, which is the setting for the Saturday evening Black Whole event.
“You just want to scoop your body in there,” says Lancaster, a former Asheville resident who has choreographed the movement for Black Whole. With her husband Adam Larsen projecting images onto the skate park’s surfaces, and local musician Jason Daniello playing theremin music, Black Whole will be an immersion in sound, movement and vision.
And unlike the traditional theater-going experience, Lancaster says. In many ways, the event skews toward ground-breaking: The skate park hasn’t been used as a performance space; Lancaster, Larsen and Daniello have been working long-distance (Brooklyn to Asheville) to create the experience; and Black Whole will be a one-night experience.
Part of the experience will come from the pre-show, the “Theremin Garden” set up by the Bob Moog Foundation. Audience members can interact with the instruments, setting the pre-show mood with their eerie and original music.
“The community feeling is going to be really cool,” Lancaster says.
Imagine: The audience members will walk into the park, under the April night sky, surrounded by theremin music. Eventually they’ll take spaces around the skate park bowl, some standing, some sitting, some on bleachers—all with a bird’s-eye view of the dancers within and the images moving across the concrete surfaces.
“It’s rather unique and nice to be projecting in a surface that’s not on a stage or in the round,” Larsen says.
Creating the event has been a months-long process, though the event’s organizers and its dancers will have only a week to actually rehearse it. “It’s going to be raw, immediate,” Lancaster says.
The Black Mountain College + Arts Center organizers asked Lancaster to help create the event as part of its year-long celebration of women series. Lancaster had danced last fall at the museum for the worldwide “Freedom of Information” project. As for the venue choice, Alice Sebrell at the Black Mountain museum said the skate park-as-venue idea was “a lightning bolt that came out of the sky and accidentally hit my brain.”
Adding the Moog Foundation and Daniello’s music “just fits right in there” with the goal of immersing the audience.
“I have always found electronic music great impetus for moving,” Lancaster says. “It elicits a very organic response from my body.”
The dancers will play with the elements of space and time—a very Black Mountain College-type theme, she says. The choreography involves structured improvisation and elements of chance.
“You can look at migratory patterns from overhead,” Lancaster says. “We’re going to play a little with the concept of four dimensions.”
who: Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, with City of Asheville, Moog Music, Harmony Interiors and Centering on Children
what: Immersion event involving video, sound and dance
where: Food Lion Skate Park, 3 Cherry St., downtown ASheville
when: Saturday, April 25 (9 p.m. $10/$7 for BMCM+AC members, city employees and students, free for children under 12. Info and advance tickets at 350-8484 or at 56 Broadway, downtown Asheville. Pre-show features interactive “Theramin Garden” and Moog Music’s Jason Daniello.)