Renay Aumiller, a slender woman with a 10 megawatt smile and a head full of ideas about bodies in motion, generously took an hour out of tech week to talk to me about her new work that her project-based company, Renay Aumiller Dances–RAD–will premiere tomorrow, June 5, at the Cordoba Center for the Arts (next to Golden Belt). BLOOD MOON will combine earthbound contemporary movement with aerial work. The 45-minute work “is not about spectacle at all,” Aumiller told me, contrasting it with the showiness of much aerial dance. “I wanted the aerial work to speak on something deeper.”
Stacy Wolfson defying gravity in preparation for BLOOD MOON. Photo: Stephanie Leathers.
Many readers will remember Aumiller’s beautiful, emotionally charged, ensemble dance that was included in the 2014 American Dance Festival’s HERE AND NOW: NC Dances program. Acquiring Dawn investigated the inchoate in an orderly way; BLOOD MOON seems likely to swing out over the edge of the unknown rather differently.
Last summer, an old friend, long unseen–Aumiller had trained in his Raleigh studio as a girl–contacted her with the idea of their making an aerial performance. Andrew Munro, formerly a dancer, is now a rigger at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium, and has worked with circuses as well. They did a trial solo work last November at Burning Coal Theater (they like aerial adventures there–remember Henry V (on Trapeze)?) and it went well enough to encourage the development of a full-length work. Aumiller, who has just completed her first year as an assistant professor of dance of Elon University, was working with her students on a concept, which she was able to lift and merge with the technicalities of aerial dance.
“This piece is by far the biggest I’ve ever made,” she said. “And having to build our own theater…I’ve never gone through that before.” Yes, you read that correctly. Within the raw industrial space of the Cordoba Center for the Arts (and right next to Liberty Arts sculpture studio), RAD built a 100 seat theater, sprung floor and all.
Aumiller is a member of DIDA, the coalition of Durham Independent Dance Artists, and RAD’s performances this weekend will complete DIDA’s first season of works by local choreographers and dancers. “What’s so exciting about Durham right now is that there is enough work, and it is different enough,” Aumiller said. “And DIDA [huge smile]…I’ve lived a lot of places, but Durham by far is the most supportive for dancers.” If you want to help celebrate that, slip over to the Criterion, 347 W. Main, around 9:30 Saturday night for the DIDA season wrap party.
BLOOD MOON will be performed June 5-6 @ 8:00pm; June 7 @ 4pm, at the Cordoba Center for the Arts, 923 Franklin Street, Durham, NC 27701. See RAD’s Facebook event page for a map and ticket information.
Talking with Aumiller brought to mind an early song, “Defying Gravity,” by the late great Jesse Winchester.
I live on a big round ball
I never do dream I may fall
And even one day if I do
Well, I’ll jump off and smile back at you.
I don’t even know where we are
They tell you we’re circling a star
Well, I’ll take their word, I don’t know
But I’m dizzy so it may be so.
I’m riding a big round ball
I never do dream I may fall
And even the high must lay low
But when I do fall I’ll be glad to go
Yeah, when I do fall I’ll be glad to go.
Listen to that honey voice here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4b3jA2JvWw