Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A few questions with Ellen Lyle of Open Collision Dance

Posted By on Tue, Apr 6, 2010 at 8:04 PM

click to enlarge Dancers Alyssa Bruehlman and Caitlin Yuhas
  • Dancers Alyssa Bruehlman and Caitlin Yuhas

Eyedrum's latest art exhibit, Obscura, is inspiring other artistic mediums to express themselves. This Sun., April 11, Open Collision Dance performs new work in conjunction with Obscura. The exhibit plays with ideas of light and darkness. The dancers will migrate throughout the space much like a gallery walk. We caught up with Open Collision Dance founder and choreographer, Ellen Lyle, to find out a little more about the event.

What is Open Collision dance and who's behind it?

Open Collision Dance is something that I founded back in the fall of 2009. It is sort of a collective of younger artists, a lot of college students and recent graduates just getting together and making new work and working in an experimental fashion and then exploring new environments. So in the fall of 2009 we did a performance using a prayer labyrinth. It was a stone prayer labyrinth and a large open field surrounded by trees. The goal is kind of to get out into the community and just give new audiences a chance to view dance and view art.

What's your overall approach to dance?

The approach I take is partially collaborative in that I make the movement with the dancers stemming off of some idea or image. I would say the style is kind of a combination of my background being in both ballet and modern. And I would also say the work has a very emotional history behind it and that tends to fuel the choreography.

You told us about your background as far as modern and ballet dance. Anything else a little different?

I do have a strong academic sounding [background]. I just graduated from Emory with their dance program and Sophie [Slesinger] did as well. And so the approach I take to my work often comes from a very intellectual standpoint.

Obscura highlights the contrast of light and darkness. What is the name of the April 11 performance and how does it fit with the exhibit?

We have kind of been keeping under the same name of Obscura because the work that we're creating is based purely off of our reaction to the light in the space and to each individual piece of art. We basically come in and [have] taken time with the exhibition and then created the movement purely kinesthetically based on each piece. So, I wouldn't say that there's meaning behind each section of the piece but rather that it's based off the images we've seen and how we respond to that in our bodies.

What are some of Open Collision Dance's future plans?

Well, we are currently just focused on this performance. I'm interested in doing more site-specific work out in the communities trying to find other ways that we can reach into different little pockets of Atlanta and reach out to other audiences. It's kind of a loosely based organization right now in that the dancers are constantly changing and the way we work together is constantly changing based on the space and that sort of thing. And so I think it's just something that we are going with the flow right now.

Before we wrap it up is there anything else you'd like to say about the performance or the company in general?

I am just very hopeful that we'll get a nice group of people out to see this. I think a lot of what happens at Eyedrum is very unique artwork and they bring in a different crowd of people, and I think it's something that I'd like for more people in Atlanta to get the chance to see.

Obscura. Through April 24. Free. Gallery: Fri., 3-8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 1-6 p.m. Open Collision Dance Performance: Free. Sun., April 11, 5 p.m. Eyedrum, 290 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive S.E., Suite 8. 404-522-0655. www.eyedrum.org. www.opencollisiondance.org.

(Photo by Lori Teague)

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