Meadville Tribune

Local News

February 26, 2013

Improvisational dance turns into on-site sculpture at exhibit


ERIE — Playing together

As for the collaboration with Gilman, “We play together,” Lodge explained. “We dance. We move, looking for the particular pose that will be sculpted.”

In Erie, when they went into the space for the February performance, the other sculptures were already in place and Gilman had a cup for him to dance with, Lodge continued.

And then something wonderful happened. The museum brought a group of sixth-graders who were touring the facility through the performance space. Asked if he could dance, Dodge responded by doing a set of movements for them, the likes of which, based on their tittering and snickering responses, they had probably never seen before.

Out of that set of movements came the posture Lodge and Gilman agreed upon for the piece. And when he tracked down the group to tell the sixth-graders he and Gilman were using a pose that had been developed during their visit, that visit had apparently been the most meaningful element of their day. “They couldn’t stop talking about it — and they were making a lot of moves,” Lodge said.

Friday’s performance, like a similar day-long performance on Feb. 1, two weeks after the formal opening of the show, will begin with improvisational dance leading to the on-site creation of a new figurative sculpture. This will mark the beginning of yet another phase of the show, which will continue through May 4.

While the installed portion of “The Cup” features 24 clay pieces by Gilman that have been fired, the piece constructed of red clay during each of the performances is of a much more temporary nature. “It will last for only a brief period of time,” Gilman explained. “It’s not fired, so it’s destroyed at the end. It’s about the decaying process — it’s about life, really. We grow. We die.”

Lodge is also fascinated by the transient nature of the sculpture. “They never get fired, but they get dried up,” he said, “so they’re moving — in a state of decay, almost. That’s a reason to go back and look at it again and again — to look at its process.”

For Gilman, the collaboration has been especially exciting because her work has always included, as she puts it, “a path that has been about dance.” While she’s fascinated by the motion, the fleeting quality of dance has also been an area of interest. “It happens in time and then it’s over — as opposed to sculpture, where there’s a process in making it, but then you end up with an object,” she said. In this case, it’s a fleeting object.

“I guess I like to move,” Lodge explained with a smile. “I like physical activity. I like the collaborative creative process. And I must like performing, too.”

He also likes to consider his body as an instrument, “so I like improvisational movement with musicians who can play improvisationally and let me be one of the instruments — so that we respond to each other,” he added.

Friday at 9 a.m., the improvisation will begin.

Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at

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