I’d Rather Dance with You than Talk with You


“Blackbird / I’d Rather Dance With You Than Talk With You” was a site/situation-adaptive performance engaging the small gestures and quiet movements of our bodies. The dance is taken up in the field of the audience, and the audience is immersed in the creation of the stage. As the performers work through cycles of structured improvisation, they pluck minute gestures from the audience—passive dance partners, idly watching—and transform what their movement would be if we turned up its volume. 

“Blackbird” started with the idea of listening with headphones—how our bodies respond to what we hear, how the headphones create an internalization, how even still, they create a curiosity from those around us, a voyeurism, a close-watching. The piece explores how we communicate through a constant fluctuation of internal volume levels, any particular level at any particular time never outwardly clear to those around us. The “voices” placed in the dancers’ heads for the piece are from two texts, The Blackbird’s Whistle from Mr. Palomar by Italo Calvino and Love’s Geography by Peggy Phelan. Both are from a past communication, a past dance that failed, faltered, left one dancer dangling with an absent partner. Now, with the remnants of that failure and new bodies, unknown and willing, the dance has learned how to find a partner in the space between what is left unsaid.

What is it to sustain a back and forth? What is it to sustain the effort of writ/h/ing with no response? What is it to sustain the dance—recover composure—when waiting has brought you to… Pause. Reset.  Cycles of… A location determined, places traded and a rest. Are these questions and answers, or confirmations of the same thing? It is a dialogue between the deaf. Please listen. Or better yet, dance.

“Blackbird” was adapted for the Uptown Arts Center Open House on February 22, 2013. The durational performance was staged throughout the four-story building on the stage, in the orchestra seating, in the second floor balcony, stairwells, third floor balcony, entryway, artists’ studios, and auxiliary spaces. Performers included Victoria Eleanor Bradford (choreographer), Jason Torres Hancock, Radmila Olshansky, Samuel Hertz and Joshua Kent.


February 22, 2013


Uptown Arts Center, Preston Bradley Center
Chicago, IL


Victoria Bradford

Collaborating Artists

Jason Torres Hancock, Radmila Olshansky, Samuel Hertz, Joshua Kent


© A House Unbuilt