Fiona Lee

Empty Stages
video (improvisational dance/original music)

“Empty Stages” focuses on a single improvisation session on an empty stage without an audience. The weight of our collective loneliness at this time informs both what we see and what we cannot observe. The dancer moves by herself, exploring both the empty space and what it feels like to move with no one watching. “Touch” therefore both as a form of physical and emotional connection is absent, as there’s no witness to “move.”

Meanwhile, the musician who recorded her own original music to accompany the dance, also created in solitude. The original video footage is silent, with the exception of gusts of wind and birds chirping. The overlaid track was produced as a response to the dance, contrary to the typical choreographic process which is based off of pre-recorded music.

While dancer and musician made their artistic contributions separately, new harmony is created in piecing these moments of inspiration together.

Regardless of how removed from reality it may be, we now have the power to virtually bring artists together with technology. But what have we lost by separating the dancer from her musician and her audience in real-time? Do observing these performances in fabricated unison change how they’re perceived? The clock cannot be turned back…we’ll never know how the presence of a musician may have changed the dance, nor how a breathing audience may have transformed it for artist and spectator. Performance art is experiential, and perhaps it must evolve to find its new place.

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© Fiona Lee