New York City based contemporary dance company Third Rail Projects brought its unique talents for site specific choreography to Geneva from Tuesday, Sept. 10 through Thursday, Sept. 12. Company members offered classes, open rehearsals, performances and workshops on the Hobart and William Smith campus, as well as at Billsboro Winery and the Geneva Farmers’ Market.
Fresh from performances in New York City and the Albany/Capital region, Third Rail Projects delighted audiences both on and off campus with “Roadside Attraction,” a versatile new work set in a ’70s-era pop-up camper that has been retrofitted to become the stage.
The company’s website notes: “‘Roadside Attraction’ is a family vacation that steps back in time to when Supertramp was on the radio, Connect Four was on the folding table and frisky business was in the bunks. Mom’s red Candies clapped from the camper’s linoleum kitchen window before she emerged in her cheetah print bathing suit with matching blanket, her platinum wig blowing in the breeze.”
The work centers on the mother, who dreams of a life beyond the hum-drum of suburban, middle-American family life. The resulting movement sequences careen over and through the camper and campsite, sparking unrequited desires that sometimes unravel into tender reconciliations. Quirky, humorous and heartbreaking, the work skips between bubbles of pop music woven into an original score.”
The show was created in collaboration with the six performers and directed and choreographed by Jennine Willett, with Third Rail Project’s other two co-directors Zach Morris and Tom Pearson.
In a review this summer titled, “Family Camping Trip Packed with Phantom Selves, Hopes and Dreams,” New York Times senior dance critic Alastair Macaulay wrote “… the choreography takes everyday impulses and makes them lyrically potent…it covers quite a range, from satire to real pain, with an eloquence that stays in the memory.”
Siobhan Burke of The New York Times commented “Leave it to Third Rail Projects to take a 1977 Coleman pop-up camper and convert it into a stage, which is just what they’ve done for ‘Roadside Attraction,’ a new nomadic performance-installation and shrine to kitschy Americana.”
Jenna Scherer, of Time Out New York defined the show as “boundary-busting.”
Professor of Dance Cynthia Williams invited the company to Geneva, where their residency activities included:
Tuesday, Sept. 10:
Zach Morris taught a master class focused on improvisation in Winn Seeley Dance Studio, 10:20-11:45 a.m.
And there was an evening performance of “Roadside Attraction” in front of Bristol Gym.
Wednesday, Sept. 11:
Jennine Willett taught a master class, Intermediate/Advanced Modern Dance Technique, from 11:50 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. in the Winn Seeley dance studio. All intermediate/advanced dancers were welcomed.
There was an open rehearsal in Winn Seeley Gym Theater, 1:30-4:30 p.m. (and was open for guests to observe); Zach Morris met with DAN 214 students in Stern 101 from 1:25-2 p.m. to discuss creating and performing site specific work.
There was an evening performance of “Roadside Attraction” at Billsboro Winery.
Thursday, Sept. 12:
A performance of “Roadside Attraction” was held at the Geneva Area Farmer’s Market on Exchange Street.
All performances and master classes were free of charge and audience members were encouraged to bring blankets or folding chairs to sit on during the performances.
Third Rail Project’s residency and performances were supported by a grant from the New York State DanceForce. DanceForce receives funding from the New York State Council on the Arts and its Dance Program. For questions about any of the company’s activities, please contact Cynthia Williams, (315) 781-3495, firstname.lastname@example.org.