Triangle Arts Review described it as “sensual, engaging and breathtakingly beautiful.” Susan Broili Arts called it “Compelling” and “Powerful.” All 4 performances were sold out and received standing ovations.
Culminating from over a year-long development phase that began in June of 2017, Coke Ariail and ShaLeigh Dance Works unveiled the world premiere of Bamboo Wind this past January 2019. The ambitious collaborative effort commissioned 20 local artists in the fields of music, lighting design, poetry, photography, sculpture, theatre, costume design, and dance for a multi-media performance installation. Each artist worked collaboratively to develop a series of mixed-media room-size environments that took over an entire wing of the Fruit’s warehouse complex for a three thousand square foot hanging bamboo forest. The environment included a stage floor where the installation concluded with an evening length dance-theatre work. “We saw an opportunity to foster collaborations across varied artistic fields and cultural divides through this project,” Comerford said. “We hope to create expanded future opportunities for the general public to participate in experiencing original works of art while also strengthening the creative capacity of artists and honoring the diversity of our community.”
The title is based on a seven-canto poem written by Coke Ariail which served as the thematic impetus for the major multi-art installation and performance. Arial also created fourteen original bamboo sculptures that were integrated into the installation and set design. Three photographic essays inspired by the poem were projected on screens within the labyrinth. The phenomenal team of local photographers commissioned included Catharine Carter, Lynne Feiss Necrason and Wojtek Wojdynski.
Multi-instrument performer, teacher and composer Robbie Link was commissioned to develop an original score performed live for the work. The evening was presented in seven sections comprised of text, solos, duets and ensemble work. The dancers were joined by two talented and accomplished actors: Dorothy Brown and Michael Foley. SDW Company member Emilie Raleigh was commissioned to design and create original costumes that interacted with the movement of the dancers. Nationally recognized lighting designer Jeremy Kumin shared his remarkable theatrical designs throughout the installation as well as on stage.
Bamboo Wind was made possible by the generous support of the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation and an Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artist Grant from the Durham Arts Council with support from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.