It’s hard to put a label on Erika Shuch, the young choreographer/writer/director/collaborator whose shows are drawing sold out crowds and the attention of established dance artists like Joe Goode. I’ve got a profile in the Chronicle today:
?Erika Shuch’s freckled face washes pale with embarrassment as she recounts her first work. “There were three of us, and I imagined we had a chain around us and we were trying to break out,” she says. “I had people parading across the back of the stage in roller skates and tutus. My friend played the cello. We were all wearing black and we had on, like, lots of mascara.”
She sighs and drops her head into her hands. It’s a rainy afternoon at the Mission District’s Intersection for the Arts, where Shuch is taking a break from rehearsals with her Erika Shuch Performance Project. “We played a Korean song my mom used to sing about a rabbit,” she continues. “It was completely like, ‘What’s in my head?’ ”
Shuch laughs nervously, but an interviewer could be forgiven for doubting that first piece was really so bad. Since arriving in San Francisco five years ago, Shuch has been spilling the contents of her head onto the stage in surprising ways — with startling and often moving results . . .
. . . Shuch’s newest, “One Window,” will run four weeks, an extraordinary luxury for a dance production.
Not that Shuch’s work could easily be classified as dance. “For me, dance is always underlined by a story or theatrical impulse,” she says. “It’s ‘performance.’ That’s the word I’m trying to use. The pressure comes when people say, ‘Is it dance or is it theater?’ It all starts blending together toward the common purpose of what the work wants to be.”
“One Window” uses movement, but also singing, acting, a beatboxer and an assortment of power tools. The set design, by Sean Riley, has the performers building their confines during the course of the show. But as with most Shuch works, “One Window” began with an unlikely image.
“I kept thinking about that trash compactor in ‘Star Wars,’ ” she says. “The walls are getting closer and closer — how do you react? You panic in the face of this doom, but there’s also a moment of peace in the middle of the chaos. I’d like to believe that we’re able to arrive at a moment of peace before the end comes, flash-bang.” ”
I’ve been a believer in Shuch’s work since “Vis-a-Vis,” though I thought her last, “All You Need,” didn’t quite find its core. I haven’t seen “One Window” yet–I thought I’d let the run settle in first. I’m seeing it tonight.