Gia T. Cacalano has come a long way from her early dance training. One might call her transformation a “one-eighty,” her turn looking less and less like a pirouette. However, having spent twenty years of her life in New York City, she considers it to be her place of birth. That is, her creative birth.
After studying dance for two years at Marymount Manhattan College, Cacalano immersed herself in the Martha Graham style of dance, spending her last years of college alongside late greats at the center.
Graham, one of the most influential pioneers of modern dance, invented her own technique, drawing on strong emotions shared by humankind.
One could say that Cacalano is now doing the same thing here in Pittsburgh where she has lived and worked for close to a decade. The difference is in the style. Graham technique eventually bored her. When she finally burned out, she turned to improvisation which allowed her to do something completely different.
Unlike a typical Graham piece, which screams and sometimes shocks with overt passion, suffering, rage and joy, Cacalano says her work doesn’t “spoon-feed or over-emote.”
“I like to be more subtle, and for dancers to have freedom. Lack of freedom drove me away from Graham technique. There are the masses of people who just follow along, and then the ones who try to jut out of that,” she says.
She clearly is one who “jutted out.”
Her latest work seems a far cry from the drama and demand of the Graham style. That is not to say that she didn’t carry anything with her from that time and experience. She, too, is very much interested in the “human experience.” However, she is not interested in making clones out of her dancers.
“2010 The Next Installment” features four dancers and four musicians in a multi-media collaboration mostly based on improvisation. The group has been working together since late April, but the project is still evolving in the final days before opening night.
The show will be held at The Space Upstairs in Point Breeze, home of The Pillow Project. The improvisation will happen in and around an elaborate installation with moving walls, bamboo, branches and more.
While Cacalano explains that her work is open to interpretation, she says that all five sections in the two hour long show relate to one another. While vague in her explanation, she clearly has put a lot of thought and effort into her new work, and promises not to present “bad improvisation.”
For those looking for a unique performance experience, please see details below.
The show runs this Friday and Saturday, August 20th and 21st at 8:00 p.m.
The Space Upstairs in Point Breeze: 214 N. Lexington Street (Construction Junction), 412.225.9269
Tickets: $15 General Admission or $12 for students