Julia Goldberg is the former editor of the Santa Fe Reporter and is one of the city’s most respected journalists. She’s brash, informed, honest, funny, and opinionated, and her radio show has included guests such as elected officials from city hall to the state legislature, local leaders from the nonprofit world, artists, musicians, activists and more. ARCOS Director Erica Gionfriddo joined SITE Santa Fe’s Joanne Lefrak to discuss the site-specific performance A Kinetic Encounter, performed inside Enrique Martínez Celaya’s installation The Pearl.
Julia Goldberg: Hey there, Santa Fe. 9:06 AM here on a rainy Friday the 13th morning. Andrew Primm, did you know that, you can actually pass on a superstition of the number 13 to your children?
Andy Primm: I didn’t until I heard that earlier today.
Julia Goldberg: Yes. Do you know how to pronounce this word?
Andy Primm: Trisk-eye-deca-phobia.
Julia Goldberg: Oh, do you think that that’s what it is?
Andy Primm: Yep.
Julia Goldberg: Okay. That’s good.
Andy Primm: Mm-hmm.
Julia Goldberg: Okay. Not only is the Morning Show Margarita Correspondent Andy Primm in the studio, but two of my favorite ladies are here as well. Joanne Lefrak, who is Director of Education and Programming at SITE Santa Fe. It’s the first time I’ve got you here in person and not just on the phone.
Joanne Lefrak: It’s true.
Julia Goldberg: But you have to talk close to the mic if you’re not going to put your headphones on.
Joanne Lefrak: Okay. Is that better?
Julia Goldberg: Yes, that’s much better. And I like it when my guests are my friends, because then I can just throw enormous fits in front of them and they’re like, “Oh, there she goes.
Andy Primm: Don’t I know it, Julia, don’t I know it?
Julia Goldberg: And, Erica Gionfriddo, who I realized I like so much, and also that I had no idea how to pronounce her name either until just now. Is that right?
Erica Gionfriddo: That was right. Yeah.
Julia Goldberg: Okay, good. I’m excited. And Erica is the Associate Artistic Director at ARCOS Dance.
Erica Gionfriddo: Good morning.
Julia Goldberg: Good morning. See now just because you’re into art, Joanne, and you’re into dance, Erica, doesn’t mean you can’t, you don’t have to speak it to the microphone.
Erica Gionfriddo: Okay. We’re also so demure and shy.
Julia Goldberg: I know, you are seeming very demure and shy. Didn’t you do an interpretive dance on my show while I was out of town, Erica?
Erica Gionfriddo: I did. Not so demure, that one.
Julia Goldberg: Okay.
Andy Primm: The streamers, the grace…
Erica Gionfriddo: The pageantry…
Andy Primm: Pageantry, the tears
Julia Goldberg: Were there actually streamers?
Andy Primm: Oh yes, yes.
Erica Gionfriddo: Many tears. Many tears.
Andy Primm: And there were tears. It was when I was subbing for you as the Margarita Correspondent.
Julia Goldberg: Oh.
Andy Primm: And I actually did on the Julia Goldberg Morning show, the world’s first interpretive dance on the radio with Erica.
Julia Goldberg: I know. I listened to it from Vermont with my dad.
Andy Primm: Nice.
Julia Goldberg: And my dad said, “This is actually very funny.”
Andy Primm: Awesome.
Erica Gionfriddo: Stamp of approval.
Julia Goldberg: I said, yeah, it is.
Andy Primm: It’s like the writers’ room with The Onion. Hmm. That’s funny.
Julia Goldberg: Oh, hey. So, the good news is that over there, do you see those buttons? The orange, green, white and red ones, right there on the machine? Do you see them?
Andy Primm: Mm.
Julia Goldberg: Do you see those buttons?
Joanne Lefrak: Yes.
Julia Goldberg: So one of those buttons, if you press it when I’m cursing, it bleeps me out and it’s broken.
Erica Gionfriddo: Perfect.
Julia Goldberg: And nonetheless, Gino is still not obeying my every whim, isn't that crazy? What’s he thinking? All right. I want to talk about tonight, tomorrow, and Sunday, ARCOS and SITE Santa Fe are teaming up for a show and it’s called A Kinetic Encounter. And it sounds like basically like nothing I’ve ever heard of.
Erica Gionfriddo: It’s been pretty cool. We just did a sneak preview last night for some VIP guests. And it’s an immersive experience, so the audience is walking through the space, they get to see the exhibit, but also be about this close as you and I are right now to the dancers in the space.
Julia Goldberg: So what’s happening then? Like, so I’m an audience member and you’re right there. You don’t have to do it for me, although you can, do anything later. Maybe later. Okay. Do it for me later, Erica. So what—
Andy Primm: I could describe it if she does it, if you want.
Julia Goldberg: You are very good at that. And it’s what, about half an hour of the dancers, and the audience members are following them through the exhibit?
Erica Gionfriddo: They are, yeah. And it was, all open to chance last night was the first time we had an audience, so it was interesting to see how they responded. But yeah, they come in and walk through the exhibit as they would normally, although there’s a lot of action happening around them. And they can choose to follow the dancers—some of them chose not to, which made it very interesting for us. So, yeah, we’re leaving it open to that kind of chance, which has been a lot of fun.
Julia Goldberg: So how did this partnership and idea come about, Joanne?
Joanne Lefrak: So, at SITE right now we have a show by an artist named Enrique Martínez Celaya. I spoke about it on the show, but for people who don’t know SITE Santa Fe is a contemporary art museum in the railyard, across the street from the farmer's market. And Enrique Martínez Celaya has done an immersive environment, which—that’s what he calls it, as opposed to an installation. Meaning that the entire museum, it’s 15,000 square feet, has been converted into an entire work of art, is what he describes. And so there’s painting, sculpture, audio, video, and you’re meant to walk through the installation as though you’re going through a journey, and through an entire work of art. And so, the show opened in July, and now it’s September. And so many locals have seen the show. And so the idea is to do some interesting projects with the space so that people who have maybe seen the show already want to come back and take a look at it from a different perspective, or experience something new in the space. And so the idea behind commissioning ARCOS to do a project within the environment is to connect with the community, with the dance community, and also to do it purposefully during the After Hours Alliance weekend, which is a big community event that supports emerging artists. And so, that was kind of the seed of why we invited ARCOS to do their presentation.
Julia Goldberg: Cool. And so then Erica, ARCOS, which is a relatively new dance company, you started about two years ago?
Erica Gionfriddo: Yeah, 2011.
Julia Goldberg: Okay. Are you impressed that I knew that?
Erica Gionfriddo: I am. Wow, we are friends.
Julia Goldberg: I know. I’m impressed with it too. [laughter] I like it when I know things. Is this a different kind of project for ARCOS even? I know ARCOS does modern and a lot of new interpretive dance, but this seems pretty different.
Erica Gionfriddo: Definitely it’s a new notch on the belt mark for sure. We normally do a lot of concert dance. However, in the last, you know, since we opened in 2011, we’ve done a lot of site-specific work and we really like building out alternative performance venues. This is definitely the most alternative.
Julia Goldberg: Mm-hmm.
Erica Gionfriddo: So rather than coming in and taking over space completely, what we’ve done this time is had to really work within the parameters of what exists there already and create something that reacts to and engages with it, without altering it in any way because it’s, you know, another artist’s vision. Which has been a challenge and a lot of fun. It's really pushed us—the whole look of the company I think is very new. We’re really experimenting with a new kind of movement quality, new choreography, and obviously a new setting for our audience.
Julia Goldberg: Now I’m just speaking for myself, or maybe I’m speaking for Andy. No, I’m not speaking for Andy…
Andy Primm: As usual…
Julia Goldberg: …but you know, I love to go to see dance. I love to go to ballet, but I don't think I would like it if people were dancing near me. I’d feel embarrassed. Were you—what were your thoughts about sort of how the audience was going to experience this? Like, did people seem embarrassed last night or were they like, what’s happening?
Erica Gionfriddo: We had a really brave crowd last night. In fact, some of them even ventured into the actual dancing, which was an interesting situation. From the people that I spoke to, none of them felt uncomfortable. And what was cool about Enrique’s installation here is that it has a lot of open space in it that really calls for movement. So there is, if you are uncomfortable, there’s a lot of places to kind of get away.
Julia Goldberg: So you can hide?
Erica Gionfriddo: You can sneak out a little bit. Yeah.
Julia Goldberg: Well, I don’t know if I would be uncomfortable. I just was thinking like when I—my role as an audience member is usually to be like sitting far away from the dancers.
Erica Gionfriddo: Yeah, yeah. We want to challenge that a little bit.
Julia Goldberg: And so as dancers did you—you don't mind having people come and sort of being in your space.
Erica Gionfriddo: It changes the energy for sure. And it’s a challenge as a performer to stay open and adaptable to that kind of energy, but obviously also stay true to your choreography and not crash into anybody.
Julia Goldberg: Oops, you broke my leg. Yeah, get out of here.
Erica Gionfriddo: Damn.
Julia Goldberg: So these shows are tonight 6:00 PM Saturday, that’s tomorrow, 10:30 AM and then Sunday, two performances at 2:00 and 4:00 PM over at SITE Santa Fe. And they're all free.
Joanne Lefrak: Yeah, they’re all free. In fact, we have a lot of free times at SITE this weekend. We've decided to be free all day Sunday in honor of the After Hours Alliance festival, and we are always free on Fridays, and on Saturday morning we’re free during the farmer’s market. So anytime, if you haven’t seen the exhibition, without the dance, and you want to go for free, come at all those times. It's a different experience and it's good to see both of them. So I recommend seeing the exhibition without the dancers and with the dancers.
Julia Goldberg: Cool. Well, Joanne and Erica, thank you very much for coming in and giving us a preview of all this. There's really no excuse for people not to go.
Erica Gionfriddo: Absolutely. Thank you.
Joanne Lefrak: Yeah. Everybody come, I'll be looking for you. Yes.
Julia Goldberg: Okay.