As the grassy patches of McCarren Park and McGolrick Park continue flooding with excited folks ready to mingle, art too, abounds.
Dancer, choreographer, and conceptual artist Gabrielle Lamb knows better than most.
When the pandemic confined her to teaching dance and creating choreography in a smaller space, an incredible realization came to mind: a stage merely denotes boundaries. And her stage was now her 5×8 foot Persian carpet.
The Carpet Series Begins
In the midst of 2020, Lamb also received a Works in Progress commission from The Guggenheim Fellowship, so she began filming her carpet series project and noticed how it piqued the interest of those passing by. With that clear curiosity, she decided to create a small show. Lamb lives in Hamilton Heights, but many of her collaborators live in Greenpoint, so they began rehearsing via Zoom and then took their show to the public.
The dancers of Pigeonwing 2020: Giovanna Gamma, Robin Cantrell, Patrick O’Brien, Victoria Sames, Cody Berkely, Tiffany Mangulabnan, Kailei Sin
Composer: James Budinich
In 2020, the show consisted of short solos, but in 2021, the show has evolved given the opportunity for the dancers to interact in closer proximity once again. Keep an eye out for new contributors in this rendition!
The Public Response
The results have been quite positive, and it has been an interesting experiment for the dancers. Lamb recalls that in the midst of 2020, pedestrians were fewer and further between, but the competing noise was also less intense, so each condition has its challenges. That said, Lamb loves the fact that people are able to come and go. While more traditional dance styles are often misinterpreted as elitist, Lamb feels as though it is important to make dance an accessible art form — to bring it to the people, rather than making the people go to it.
Introducing dance to new people in this manner has been an exciting silver lining, especially when it comes to children. Oftentimes parents are less inclined to bring small children to long dance concerts, but Lamb has noticed that children frequently stop to watch their performance – and tend to have much longer attention spans than most would expect. That highlights another importance of bringing dance to the people — exposure.
Where You Can See The Carpet Series
The Carpet Series will be appearing Thursday evenings throughout the city. Other shows include those at the NY Botanical Gardens on weekends in July and some indoor opportunities such as the one from June 27th at Dixon Place.
Though they are now back to rehearsing in a studio space, Lamb says that her experience with the carpet series has changed her choreographic language and the way she looks at the possibility of expansive movement within smaller confines. She said she has always been inspired by the showtime dancers and fascinated by the ways in which subway dancers can move so boldly in smaller spaces, and while those genres are not necessarily her style, she has learned how to adopt aspects of that for her purposes.
Additionally, Lamb and her fellow collaborators are protected by the presence of foam puzzle pieces that live below the 5×8 foot carpet, a development that Lamb says has opened up a whole world of possibilities for street artists.
Lamb intends to continue doing The Carpet Series both as a pop-up public event and for private gallery or rooftop events.
You can learn more about Gabrielle Lamb and her past and present works, plus more about the other dancers of Pigeon Wing Dance on her website, https://www.pigeonwingdance.com, or by following the Instagram @pigeonwingdance.