Dance preview: Improv artists team up for 'Structure and Flow'

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Gia Cacalano has been jet-setting around the globe promoting and fine-tuning her art, improvisational dance. In recent months, her work has taken her to New York City and the Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom for a festival uniting artists from across the world.

Friday and Saturday, she will bring a slice of these collaborations to Wood Street Galleries, Downtown, when her troupe, Gia T. Presents, shares "The Frequency of Structure and Flow." The piece is set to live music and has French artist Miguel Chevalier's "Power Pixels 2013" installation as its backdrop.

'The Frequency of Structure and Flow'

Where: Wood Street Galleries, Downtown.

When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A Q&A with artists will follow both performances.

Tickets: $20; $15 for artists and students. Email to reserve tickets in advance.

In Pittsburgh, improv dance doesn't percolate to the same degree as other art forms. The hunger for it is growing, Ms. Cacalano says, but the understanding of what goes into improvisational movement still is lacking.

"They need to understand it's like anything else: If you don't work at it and really commit, it's not going to stand the test of time."

This weekend, artists from several cities, including Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Amsterdam, will unite to present the products of months of presentation. Ms. Cacalano's brother Vincent, a premier figure on the international improv front, is one of the guest artists. Although dancers and the musicians live apart, they exchange notes and sounds via the Internet to sketch out the framework for the performance. For the few who are in Pittsburgh, Ms. Cacalano meets with them to map out some ideas.

"We work on things and then we just kind of leave it as a structure that will shift or change dramatically in the end," she says.

At the show, dancers can interrupt this predetermined framework at any time if they feel it's necessary. It's an "instant composition," Ms. Cacalano says. "We're creating the choreography right within that moment."

Dancers also will engage with and respond to the musicians, whom Ms. Cacalano plans to interact with more than in previous performances.

"The musicians don't just have to hang out in the corner or in the orchestra pit," she says. "It is very collaborative in that way, as well."

Mr. Chevalier's self-generative video installation will fill the space with psychedelic splashes of color.

"If you move in the space, the installation is triggered from these movement censors that are hung from the ceiling," Ms. Cacalano says.

Like the dancers, audiences should stay open to let the moment and the movement take them in fresh directions.

"I like them to really interpret things that connect with them on a personal level. Whatever you think it's about is exactly what it's about," Ms. Cacalano says. "I'd like them to come away with an appreciation and a better and clearer interpretation of what improvisation is."


Sara Bauknecht: or on Twitter @SaraB_PG.


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