Sunday, November 6, 2016

Costume change


Ophra Wolf used a thin white veil as the jumping off point for her Dress Project performance. She entered her space, on a red rug positioned between the audience and a row of dresses displayed on hangers, covered by a veil and holding a candle. She removed the veil and welcomed her audience but kept the fabric in hand as a tool to, literally, help project her story.

The Dress Project performance, a full sensory multi-dimensional creation by Newburgh-based movement artist Ophra Wolf, features a collection of dresses contributed by local women and the artist's fusion of their stories with dance. Ophra is the face of Force & Flow Integrated Bodywork where she offers a dynamic approach to therapeutic mind-body training and integrated wellness. The project was funded by an Individual Artist Commission Grant from the New York State Council on the Arts and administered by Arts Mid-Hudson.


Her project's varied dresses, reflecting women of all walks of life and the diverse city they represent, is displayed at Space Create on Broadway in Newburgh. The October 26 evening performance featured Craig Chin, a frequent collaborator with Ophra, who set the tone with ambient music. A card displayed next to each dress summarized its owner’s story with her work, age, background, connection to the community, and the memories behind the garment. Like their owners, the dresses crossed continents, worked varied occupations, witnessed changes in society, carried their own deep-rooted cultures, and made breaks with tradition.


As part of the performance Ophra used the veil as an ephemeral surface on which to project video of interviews with the dress women. The recorded narration and Craig’s guitar sounds chronicled Ophra’s dance during the hour long performance. The dress display along the wall acted as her own public closet, letting the audience see her process of choosing what to wear and changing her clothes for the next dance. The featured women sat in the audience and were invited on stage after the performance. Ophra bowed as part of her gratitude for her subjects because, when it’s all said and done, these were their stories.  


Force & Flow Integrated Bodywork: www.forceandflow.com
Space Create: www.spacecreate.co

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