Last month a small, new dance collective called Flying Under the Radar (FUTR) premiered at New York’s Lightbox art space, with a contemporary dance performance and digital audiovisual installation called “where am i.” The piece questioned dichotomies of self/other and isolation/connection through the dancers’ interactions with each other, projections, recorded narration, and the audience. It jumped out as an excellent—and especially effective—example of creatively employing digital options to construct new dimensions of meaning, prompting multiple layers of consideration and introspection as the dancers responded to various media components. The result was a beautiful, surreal, and thought provoking whole that was more than the sum of its parts.
Flying Under the Radar is directed by Marlon Taylor-Wiles. “where am i” was co-created by Taylor-Wiles and FUTR dancers Maleek Washington, Zui Gomez and Jacqui DeFranca and lighting deisgner Joe Doran. The World Dances recently spoke with Zui Gomez about her experience developing and performing FUTR’s premier work.
“The creative process was incredibly exhilarating,” says Gomez. “This was the first time that any of us had started from scratch. We did all the choreography, costuming, lighting, and the audio/visual. It was like an unborn child we were all trying to visualize bringing into the world.”
Gomez describes the collaboration as a tremendous growth experience:
“It really lets you show who you are. It wasn’t just choreography set on me. It was all of the collaborators’ choreography along with my own. It was such a good feeling! As dancers, that opportunity is rarely given to us and I really wanted to show the audience who I am. It’s allowed me to be more honest with myself and more communicative with the people with whom I work. I think that’s important in any relationship—dance relationships, personal relationships, and just with yourself! And it’s so nice to have that communication, especially between friends. They know what I’m capable of and pushed me. Being honest and true to my heart was something I learned in this process, both as a person and as a performer.”
Asked what advice she would offer young dancers who might be inspired to follow in her footsteps, Gomez answers, "Be true to your heart and allow yourself to grow in everything that you do, no matter how big or small. Every experience counts."
(Photo by: Brandon Owen)