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Georgette McConnell

This site specific performance in Golden Gate Park captures the harsh reality of the pandemic and then finds beauty in the constraints and isolation that the artist must now navigate. The out of doors is a refuge from our fears of contagion. The musical score reflects the natural ambient sounds that emanate from the life of a public park - birdsong, wind, water, and human activity. There is silence also, which invites us to become aware of the immediate moment. The dancers dance in isolation. There is no physical contact, in keeping with our mandate to remain socially distant. Yet they interact subtly and find ways to support and entertain each other. The performance site spans a gravel space with park benches and pollarded London Plane trees scattered throughout, a sidewalk with concrete rectangles where hopscotch or marbles might be played, and a small grassy hillside. The dancers’ improvisations reflect the inspiration each environment evokes. The three dancers were expressive of the many moods that come and go as we face each day of these uncertain times.

S Baguskas

I very much enjoyed the performance. I thought the dancers were amazing, and though each one had their own language of movement, there was a dialogue between the three of them that was successful. Given that the evening we saw the performance was foggy and quite cold, it was true professionalism on the part of the dancers to not let that interfere. The only criticism I have is that it would have been nice to have a playbill of some sort, saying who everyone was and the name of the piece, etc. Or an announcement. I didn't understand some parts, like was the woman with the notebook part of the piece? I finally figured out she was, though her participation was so oblique as to be ambiguous. Or maybe that was the point.

The setting was perfect and intimate enough though also wonderfully public; for example, the kids riding through on their scooters. And the AA meeting (I think?) near the bandstand. The public stage aspect made me feel very much part of a community (whether the public was aware of what was happening dance-wise or not), and it also added some hopefulness to my own worldview. Congratulations! I hope I can see more!

Victoria Fifield

That was a sheer pleasure for me to see the As Is performance. I didn't have any expectations prior the show, but the performance landed so organically into that day. Dancers first were creating some sort of borders or frames, interacting with space, When one of the dancers Shareen started to move her hands in such a manner that opened a new dimension for me and let me enter the happening. I rejoiced to see dance, my heart was full of gratitude for seeing the performance after such a long break, and despite the pandemic. I was walking around with my daughter, seeing the action from many angles. There was a definite sense of presence that the performance created, that will repeat never again, because it encompassed so much more then could have been expected, the whole plaza, so many people around, birds, trees, wind, me myself 'as I were' in that moment was a part of it. In choreography I saw many conversations, humor, and reflection of what is. The music was very special, I wanted even more of it. Amazing dancers, and wonderfully choreographed by Jennifer Perfilio. Thank you for that experience. And I'm looking forward to seeing new pieces coming

Erika Malzberg

Seated motionless on my park bench in GGP, I felt like not just an audience member passively watching the As Is production, but a participant: in art, in communion, in the life of our city finally, finally starting to re-emerge from this pandemic even as the weight and the consequences of the pandemic continue to hang over everything. It’s a daunting task to translate into words the feelings that arise when experiencing an event like this. Instead, I’ll just share some questions/dichotomies/impressions that arose during the performance. Note: these are framed as “opposites,” but I didn’t see the performance as an either/or but rather the dancers — the beautiful, expressive, emotional, mesmerizing dancers — seemed to be exploring the interplay between: interior/exterior, solitude/communion, light/heavy, together/separate, syncopated/harmonic, play/effort, cocooned/exposed. The fog rolled in and through the London Plane trees; the dog walkers and bike riders hesitated for a moment; applause spontaneously erupted from a nearby AA meeting; and children scooted past and over the “set.” And me? I was captivated by the beauty, in love with my city again, and just grateful to be alive. Thanks so much to Jennifer Perfilio and the gorgeous dancers for a moment of pure beauty and joy.

Karen C

Coming across 'As Is' already in motion, my son's imagination ran wild...are the dancers picking fruit, are they slithering like snakes, are they in a hide and seek game, is that suitcase actually playing the music? Maybe yes, all of the above or maybe not but the opportunity to inject this beauty in such a casual, gorgeous flowy way outside in GG Park, was a perfect way to kick off our weekend. Thank you Jen!

Isabel Rosenstock

It was such a pleasure to witness these exquisite artists on Thursday evening. It was so meaningful to see live bodies dancing again. I didn’t even realize how much I missed witnessing live performance until I saw what I was missing.

I thought the dancing was beautiful and organic and surprisingly virtuosic for an outdoor performance. I say this only because I know what it feels like to dance outside and it is harder to achieve the kind of freedom in the body that Emma, Shareen, and Samuel displayed when navigating the obstacles of dancing outside.

The outdoor environment didn’t seem to limit their physical potential in any way. Seeing them respond to the limitations of the space gave the movement, at times, a quality of playfulness and child-like wonder.

It was a very embodied performance, and I felt the dancers experiencing their inner landscape while simultaneously being present outside, in a space that has the potential to offer a lot of distraction. The choice to have their eyes closed in the beginning as they entered “the space” was surprising and a bit discordant and jarring but in an entirely welcome and beautiful way.
I also loved the music and how depending on where it was played from, sounded more immediate or more indirect and faint

Like I mentioned, it was the first performance I have seen in the pandemic and it gave me chills to see real people move and relate to each other. I felt the way in which the dancers interacted with each other referenced some of the strangeness of social distancing without being obvious or one-noted about it.
It felt like the piece was imbued with references and rooted in the time and place of where we are with covid without it being a” covid” piece. I felt very present watching the performance and wish I could have come back agin.

Erin Yen

I loved the opportunity to share space with dancing bodies again. It was a thrill to a part of a casual audience. Everyone was 3-Dimensional, and “As Is” brought me back into my body in such a soothing manner.

This was my first time witnessing live performance since pandemic started in 2020. It was a pleasure to watch dancers think in real-time. I appreciated the chance to puzzle out the score. I felt safely distanced, but I also felt included in the journey. I got to witness with others, and I had almost forgotten how I like to observe how people watch dance. How do I observe dance?

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