Wilderness unfolds on a dark field in the entrance lobby of EMPAC, and all who inhabit the space — dancers, crew, musicians, and audience — share the same ecosystem. In this site-adaptive work, choreographer Yanira Castro contemplates wilderness as a minimalist environment — a barren desert or the smooth surface of a lake — where action is brought into high relief. The performance begins with a stark, emotional solo by an older man, followed by a quartet of dancers that perform a virtuosic dance, transforming the terrain. Viewers become a part of the performance system, as their behavior influences the sound and movement. No two performances are the same.
The performances of Wilderness take place within the oval environment in the lobby. There are 40 seats per show for audience members who wish to experience the piece from within. These spots can only be reserved by calling 518.276.3921 or stopping by the box office in person. Please arrive 15 minutes before the show start time to drop off all belongings, including shoes, at the coat check. Bags and coats will not be permitted inside the performance environment. Please note that the performance runs for 75 minutes and for approximately half that time you will be standing or walking within it. Audience members can also choose to view the performance from the outside of the oval.
The environment and audio installation will be accessible to audiences during building hours. At scheduled times, visitors will be able to enter the installation and activate the space with composer Stephan Moore’s sound.
Puerto Rican born and Brooklyn-based director/choreographer Yanira Castro collaborates with a core group of performers and designers. She creates hybrid performance works that integrate movement, installation, music, text, and visual elements such as film and video. She is the director/instigator of a canary torsi, an organism engaged in the creation of multi-disciplinary art collaborations. Castro has earned a reputation for creatively rethinking audiences’ perceptual and sensorial experiences of a performance, and her work has been presented throughout the US and in Europe. She received her B.A. in Theater & Dance and Literature from Amherst College.
a canary torsi creates site-adaptable dance projects within visual and audio environments. Established in 2009 by New York director/choreographer Yanira Castro, a canary torsi invites audiences to engage in scenarios that are anchored around live performance and extend into other media and online platforms. These multidisciplinary arts collaborations incorporate unconventional sites and transform traditional venues. Ranging from formalist movement and immersive audio installations to fictional Twitter feeds and photographic narratives, Castro's collaborations plunder behavior, gesture, text, and sound from a multitude of sources — fiction, film, photographs, ballads, historical artifacts — to engage participants in an immediate, personal encounter with the work.
Wilderness is commissioned by Dance Theater Workshop's Commissioning and Creative Residency Program with support from the Jerome Foundation, The Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Jerome Robbins Foundation and commissioning support from the New York State Council on the Arts Dance Program. Wilderness is also commissioned by the American Music Center Live Music for Dance Program, and is funded, in part, by Jerome Foundation, the Composer Assistance Program of the American Music Center and by the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation. Wilderness is also supported with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.
Leadership support for Meet the Composer’s MetLife Creative Connections Program is generously provided by the MetLife Foundation. Additional support is provided by The Amphion Foundation, Argosy Foundation Contemporary Music Fund, BMI Foundation, Inc., Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc., The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, Jerome Foundation, mediaThe foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and Virgil Thomson Foundation, Ltd.
Wilderness has also been made possible by EMPAC through an artist residency and production support: Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing Space program; space at 14 Wall Street is donated by Capstone Equities, and with residencies at the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and the Theater & Dance Department of Amherst College.
"Forget the safety of distance; this is the palpable sensation of art — up-close and personal."
— Debra Griboff, Encore Magazine
"Yanira Castro's intimate dance performance recaptures life's most private stolen moments…Castro here challenges all your assumptions about performance, and forces you to wake up. Gamble on it."
— Elizabeth Zimmer, Metro
"Castro's work is intellectual. Her movement is quirky; remarkably polished performances propel her unexpected stutters and awkward positions... Castro's smart, kooky shenanigans captivate..."
— Chris Dohse, The Village Voice