Helium Twenty Ten
Choreographed in 2009 and restaged in 2014
Helium Twenty Ten ("He-2010") was a modern dance piece choreographed for students at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. Balloons were weighed down gently using big erasers, which allowed them to be placed on the ground without flying away. I experimented with kicking balloons into the air and watching how they fell. The title of the piece is made up from the chemical element Helium (abbreviated "He" as it is by chemists) and the number 2010, the year in which the dancers would graduate from high school. Some ideas for movement using balloons were inspired by my fall freshman physics course at MIT, where I studied Kepler's laws of planetary motion.
References to the lightness and small size of helium, combined with references to the grandiosity of the universe, fitted the abstract nature of the shapes and movement. My vision was of a universe whose inhabitants are free, pure, and spontaneous. Throughout the sequence, the dancers are fascinated by the balloons, which seem to carry on a liveliness of their own.
This work was performed in 2009 at the CRLS Fitzgerald Theater and Cambridge River Festival. Stills of the performance were displayed at the exhibition for the Harold and Arlene Schnitzer Prize in the Visual Arts at the MIT Wiesner Student Art Gallery, also in June 2009.
In August 2014, the piece was restaged as a trio during a CRLS Modern Dance Company alumni reunion. The day of the show, I found out I had used up all but one red balloon from the floral department at the Star Market during rehearsals in the weeks before. I decided to have one red, one blue, and one green rather than three of the same color, and called this restaged version the "RGB" version of He-2010.