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Lisa Wahlander is a Los Angeles-based artist who has worked with many well-known artists including has Ronn Guidi, Simone Forti, Jmy James Kidd, taisha paggett, Joe Goode and others. She is also a photographer who enjoys capturing performances in museums and other site-specific spaces. Her work titled The Impermanent Sky is created specifically around the changing light inside the Pieter Performance Space beginning at sunset. She labels it a ritual performance and the title is quite appropriate. The Impermanent Sky is part of Maiden LA 2017, a county-wide network of ‘happenings’ throughout the month of August.

Lisa Wahlander at Pieter Performance Space – Photo: Roger Martin Holman

Dressed in a white leotard, bare legs and her long blonde hair loose, Wahlander begins in an awkward shoulder stand position with her legs slightly bent. She is seen there for what feels like an eternity before a quiet musical drone begins and one notices that Wahlander’s legs are moving almost undetectable. Once her feet touch the floor, she moves across the floor like a headless creature crawling along the ocean floor; her arms resembling antennae with hairlike cilium beating in rhythmic waves at their ends.

Wahlander continues to move across the floor and her hair becomes part of the mysterious quality of this work. Her face is rarely seen, giving her lithe human form anonymity. For a moment, she stands next to the wall between windows, and then crawls behind a long black solid bench. Almost unseen at first, one notices her hands appearing like flowering buds and repeating the rhythmic waves of cilium.  She very slowly climbs atop the bench into a balled position, where she remains unmoving for a very long time. By doing so, Wahlander draws the audience’s attention to the slow changing light hitting her back and our ears listen to the beautiful original quadraphonic computer score being played live by composer Jeremy Zuckerman.  One hears how the music has taken on layers, with the original drone still humming underneath.

“The Impermanent Sky” – Photo: Roger Martin Holman

Wahlander disappears and reappears from behind the black bench. She methodically sways in silhouette holding a potted Philodendron on her head, its long foliage streaming down her back like the spine of a dinosaur. The light in the studio is getting dimmer while Zuckerman’s music is growing both in volume and density; sounding at times like waves crashing against cliffs.

As the light fades, Wahlander moves across the floor from behind the bench. The light is replaced with sound and seeing details of Wahlander’s movements is difficult. Before bringing the performance to an end she suddenly drops character for this work to suddenly do grande jetes around the studio. Fortunately, the anonymous creature returns as the light almost is nearly gone and Zuckerman’s score slowly fades with it.

Wahlander has used the waning light and Zuckerman’s music as equal elements to her movement. In a sense she has choreographed the light by letting it have its natural movement. The Impermanent Sky is a Zen-like experience. One must settle in, be absorbed by the stillness and enjoy its meditative quality. This is a stunning performance/ritual piece. Wahlander allows the natural light to move and sculpture itself around her body and the Pieter Performance Space. Her collaboration with Zuckerman adds a richness of layered images that are created differently in the mind of each person in the room.

Lisa Wahlander – Photo by Roger Martin Holman

The Impermanent Sky can be seen each Sunday throughout August, ½ hour before sunset. For more information and tickets, click here.

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Jeff Slayton
Jeff Slayton has had a long and influential career as a dancer, choreographer, and educator. Born in Virginia in 1945, Slayton began dancing as a child in order to correct his condition of hip dysplasia. He enjoyed a performance career in New York dancing for Merce Cunningham, Viola Farber and others. In 1978 he moved to Long Beach, CA. where began teaching at California State University, Long Beach as a part time faculty member. He became a full time faculty member in 1986 and continued to teach at CSULB until 1999. Jeff Slayton was one of the faculty members that helped design the Dance Center at CSULB as well as develop and implement the BFA, MFA and MA degree programs. While in Long Beach, he formed his own company, Jeff Slayton & Dancers, that operated from 1978 to 1983. He continues to stage works in the Southern California area. He is also the author of two books, "The Prickly Rose: A Biography of Viola Farber" and "Dancing Toward Sanity". For more information on Jeff Slayton please go to www.jeffslayton.org.

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