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  • What's My Line?
  • Cathy Weis (bio)

My work often consists of live performance and live projected video images, and includes a team of collaborators: performers, videographers, lighting, and sound people. I began drawing as a way to communicate. When I physically couldn't demonstrate something, I could draw it. When I wanted to show a floor pattern, I could draw it. When I wanted to show where everyone was at a certain moment, we would all have a single drawing in mind. Storyboards are one of many tools I use to communicate.


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Drawing of Electric Haiku: Calm As Custard, 2005, Dance Theater Workshop.

Courtesy the artist.

[End Page 46]


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Drawing of Electric Haiku: Calm As Custard, 2005, Dance Theater Workshop.

Courtesy the artist. Performer: Scott Heron. Photo: Richard Termine.

Storyboards acted as graphic short stories. The two-dimensional cartoons marked a sequence of moments that gave the collaborators an aesthetic, a way to begin working together, and suggested when things might change. I worked with a sound artist who performed onstage. We used sound to make people see things that weren't there—a performer opened his coat, releasing an unseen flock of birds. The drawings told the artist when different sounds came into play to help build the unseen world. [End Page 47]

Over the years, my drawings changed from choreographing beats on stage to choreographing for the eye of the audience. When a moving image is on stage, it demands attention. The choreographer needs to control this. One important tool is the performer's focus. The performer must be able to create live imagery without having to stare at the screen. By following a carefully mapped-out floor plan, she knows without looking what images she is creating and is free to focus her gaze elsewhere. These three images refer to the same sequence in the performance. Below: Drawing created in rehearsal as a way of remembering a movement sequence. (Facing page) Top: A map of the complex floor patterns the performer must follow. Drawings courtesy the artist. Bottom: Photo taken during the performance. Performer: Jennifer Monson. Photo: Emily Stork.


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The Bottom Fell Out of The Tub, 2010, Experimental Media Performing Arts Center (EMPAC).

[End Page 48]


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[End Page 49]

Cathy Weis

CATHY WEIS is from Kentucky. She has performed with the Louisville Ballet, went to Bennington College, tap danced on the streets of San Francisco, and performed as a disco queen before coming East. She is the recipient of a Bessie Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and other honors. In 2014, she launched Sundays on Broadway, a weekly series hosted at WeisAcres Studio in SoHo, which features performances, film screenings, and discussions. She lives and works in New York City.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1537-9477
Print ISSN
1520-281X
Pages
pp. 46-49
Launched on MUSE
2018-05-12
Open Access
No
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