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 commissioned by Design Cloud Gallery Chicago and was first shown as a work-in-progress performance at HUB Northside on January 5 and adapted for the Uptown Arts Center on February 22, 2013. Performers: Victoria Eleanor Bradford (choreographer); Jason Torres Hancock and Radmila Olshansky; (also originally performed and created with Samuel Hertz and Joshua Kent).


June 19, 2013
January 5, 2013


Design Cloud Gallery
Chicago, IL

HUB Studio
Chicago, IL


Victoria Bradford

Collaborating Artists

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


© A House Unbuilt