If metal could dance, how would it move? If watercolors could be manifested physically into a dancer's limber body, what would they look like?
The process of turning raw materials into art happens daily in the workshops of the Torpedo Factory. On June 8 at 7:30 p.m., several artists will see their work and its inspiration transformed into dance at the House of Artists Gallery Celebration, a collaborative performance by the Factory's artists and BosmaDance. The event is free to the public.
"We are creating small performance vignettes inspired by the work [the artists] create," said Meisha Bosma, artistic director of BosmaDance, a company of 11 female dancers supported in part by the Alexandria Performing Arts Association and the American Dance Institute.
Bosma said the dancers have been working with a variety of different artists, including sculptors, painters and jewelry artists. Their various forms of media, and the meaning found within their art, serve as the basis for the dancers' dynamic interpretations.
"The materials that they work with transmit to the different movement qualities,” said Bosma. Metal, for example, demands sharp, direct movements. "If they're working with paint or water color, the quality would be very different," she said.
The dancers will also take inspiration from the artists' process in creating their work; for example, the way they use their hands. Bosma said it won't simply be an imitation.
"It's something choreographers and dancers do every day," she said.
EACH DANCER was assigned to a specific artist. The result is a "performance tour" that will bring the audience — who will be provided with maps — through three levels of the Torpedo Factory and into five different artists' studios.
Each studio performance will last 5 to 10 minutes. The first half of the hour-long show will feature the individual studios; the second half brings the dancers together for a 30-minute group performance.
Bosma said the musical accompaniment for the show will span from classical performances and contemporary tunes to spoken-word interviews with the artists. She said her dancers are "pretty much working independently" on the project, and that will lead to some unpredictable performances at the event.
"It tends to be a little avant-garde. It's somewhat improvisational as well," she said.
BOSMADANCE HAS gained a reputation as a dance company dedicated to collaborating with and enhancing the work of other artists, having received six Metro DC Dance Awards for its artistic contributions to the Metropolitan area.
And Bosma's reputation also continues to grow, as she was named one of the "Most Powerful Women Under 40" in the June 2006 publication of Washingtonian Magazine.
BosmaDance also has a performance — similar to the Torpedo Factory event — at the Arlington Arts Center on July 27.
"It's really exciting. They're very young artists and doing cutting edge stuff," she said.