For 36 hours last November, Durango’s 20MOONS Dance Theatre held its “What is True?” at Durango Arts Center. For 36 consecutive hours, participants were invited into the gallery to write, dance, rest – all while exploring the theme “What is True?”
“We set some parameters for when participants entered the space,” said Co-Artistic Director Jessica Perino. “You could contemplate the question through witnessing what was going on, speaking out loud, sleeping, writing or moving/dancing. We had paper on all of the walls of the gallery, which we called a scroll. And they are just covered in writing and drawing.”
But that wasn’t the end of the project.
Now, the troupe has taken the words people shared during “What is True?” and have turned them into a performance: “Between Vigilance and Sleeping,” which will have final performances tonight (Friday) and Saturday at the MainStage Theatre at Fort Lewis College.
“We took those scrolls and we rolled them all out in the studio and just mimed them. We read everything, took photos, took video and looked for seeds of inspiration,” she said. “Since then, we’ve been crafting a show around those seeds of inspiration, which are coming directly from that event.”
Perino said “Between Vigilance” isn’t just a dance performance: There’s also theatrical scenes, live music and poetry.
“It’s really cool this time because our artistic director, our band has used the words from the walls, from the scrolls to create lyrics for the show,” she said.
What’s special about the show, Perino said, is that while staged by 20MOONS, it’s the community that was responsible for coming together and creating the content.
“I think what’s really special about this show is that it’s coming from the community, and that’s really what we were interested in. It’s amazing how much commonality came out,” Perino said. “My teenage niece came to the event and she was really not into it; she was like, ‘This is so stupid, I can’t believe my mom made me come here, I don’t get it, this is weird.’ She came with a friend and they started reading the walls and they didn’t want to leave. They were writing and watching and listening.
“After the event was over, I was so curious about what they thought about it, and they were like, ‘It was crazy because I didn’t know that other people thought like I do. I didn’t know that other people had these same questions. I didn’t know that other people had these same feelings and experiences. I had no idea.’”