Dallas — Social Studies and Other To-Dos is a collaborative performance project from DGDG: The Danielle Georgiou Dance Group, Silk Stockings, and The Color Condition. Danielle is the Artistic Director and Choreographer of DGDG; Slik Stockings is a performance duo consisting of Georgiou and Hillary Holsonback—they are creating the video work for the piece; The Color Condition is a partnership between Sunny Sliger and Marianne Newsom—they are creating the sculptural installation and illuminated costumes. Dancers, Michaeli Brunk and Kirstan Clifford, are coming from Austin to participate.
We chatted with Georgiou about her involvement in Aurora 2015, in which the buildings of the Dallas Arts District, from One Arts Plaza to the Dallas Museum of Art, are used as giant canvases for light installations. There will be performances and other happens at various museums and venues throughout the Arts District.
TheaterJones: Can you speak to the collective work of Aurora since you have worked with the event all four years in terms of growth? How do you believe an event like this stands up in a global context?
Danielle Georgiou: Collaboration is key to Aurora. The event relies on the inter-connectivity of all its players. From the founders, Joshua King and Shane Pennington, to the curators, to the artists, to the event facilitators, the facilities, to the people in and around the community that come as spectators and participants. Aurora is built in a collaborative manner and is, at it's core, all about the collective spirit. This year's theme speaks directly to that: All Together Now. We have all come together to create this magical one night event. I have seen this concept form and grow over the last few years, from an infant organization to now a mature, massive event that continues to excite.
There are festivals of lights in major cities across the world, like White Night in Toronto and the New York Festival of Light, and I believe Aurora Dallas lives up to those histories as well as adding its own dialogue and vocabulary. I truly believe that Aurora is a major player in uplifting and solidifying Dallas' presence in the global art world.
I noticed that your work has been influenced by German expressionism…. how so and which artists/filmmakers in particular of this period have influenced you the most?
In the context of Aurora, my interest in German expressionism comes into play in regards to movement. This work has a slight trace of influences from the Bauhaus dances that were created by Oskar Schlemmer, Paul Klee, and Wassily Kandinsky. They were inspired by the architectonic cubical stage space designed by Walther Gropius for the Dessau Bauhaus. The dances used simple gestures—walking, sitting, jumping—and the dancers are seen as figures symbolizing new technology and an exploration of the human element.
Did I think of these things while creating the work for Social Studies and Other To-Dos? No. But these artists are among many that I have researched for the last 10 years, so I'm not surprised when they show up in the my work.
Since your work is grounded in femininity…. how do you believe it connects to the feminist movement today?
While I don't think it's important that my audience at Aurora will notice or register that I'm a female artist, I suppose the fact that I'm a feminist means that I'm content with people viewing my art as they would any other art piece at Aurora.
Since this piece is cultural in nature following traditions born from our seasons and the passage of time, how do you believe our global connectivity is affecting these traditions here in the United States? Is technology negatively affecting rituals of community and/or connectivity to each other and nature?
While a more thorough answer to your question can be found in Thomas de Zengotita's Mediated, I'm sure there is plenty to discuss in the question you raised. Our piece deals with cultural connections in a more sensory perspective. In terms of Aurora, an event based in connecting with technology, the only detriment would be people not attending and not using their phones, sharing photos, capturing moments. Because the point is to connect. To use technology. To find ways of communicating across borders and cultures. Have some fun. Eat some cookies. Dance.