Programming intern Taylor Thomas has attend each of the last 25 performances of Paul-Andre Fortier’s Solo 30×30. Here, she shares her experiences and invites you to join her for final five days of performances:
For the past 25 days, Paul-André Fortier has performed his Solo 30×30 at One New York Plaza in New York City’s Financial District. Everyday at noon, Paul-André steps onto his stage, a square on the plaza marked only by white tape, and entrances an audience for the next 30 minutes. The audience is comprised of dance-lovers, who have come down to see the performance; backpack-sporting tourists, who have wandered upon the performance; corporate America, with Blackberry’s in hand; and everyone in between.
I have been at the performance everyday so far, and the question I get asked most often is, “What exactly is he doing?” Well, he is doing modern dance. Mind you, there is no real stage, no curtain, lights, or extravagant costume. There is no music, only the many sounds that this city produces—and believe me, the city provides full orchestration for 30×30. In 30 minutes, Paul-André explores movements, from his fingers tips to his eye brows, and from his hips to his ankles. There are soft sections, in which he flows through the space as though allowing the wind to move him, sharp sections, in which he cuts through that wind, fast ones, in which he runs through the space, and my favorite “water” sections, in which he appears to be moving in slow motion under water.
Paul-André’s solo is the exact same dance each day, yet each day is a different experience. Each audience creates a unique energy that surrounds the performance and in turn affects the performer. Sometimes it rains (twice so far, in fact), and what an experience that creates. Mondays are different from Fridays, and Fridays are different from Sundays. The one constant element is Paul-André. He is in his square everyday at noon. He invites the attention of all who pass by; he does not demand it. He does not talk to the audience, does not walk among audience members or touch them. He is much more subtle. He presents them with the option to stop and join him in this experience, or to continue on their way to here or there. It is this that makes this whole event so exciting to me.
People also love to ask, “What’s the story?” My favorite response to that question is: “You tell me.” Perhaps Paul-André is telling us a story, in fact I would suggest to you that he is telling us a story through Solo 30×30, but for each person that story can be completely different. So I invite you to come and experience the performance for yourself. There are five shows to go, and I hope to see you at one—or even all five of them!
Taylor Thomas is an intern in the programming department at The Joyce, and will return to the University of Mississippi this fall to complete her B.S. in Nutrition and Hospitality Management.