How to Crumple Paper: Laura Peterson Choreography’s ‘Paper Room: Fold/Unfold’

How Do You Crumple Paper?

I am using origami paper folding techniques to fold this 40’ roll of paper into packets.

Rule #1 is: Fold it perfectly.

The goal is make one crease, on a diagonal, for the entire roll. I have a technique where I make only diagonal folds. They double back on themselves until it creates a sculpture of folded paper. They are different every time, and as I fold, the packet gets bigger and bigger. They end up being 9’ wide and when I am driving out to Queens they stick out of my Honda. I never pick the easy way.

During this dance, we each have a packet and as we unfold it, the paper gradually covers the stage and goes out into the audience. We dance on it, and later, we start crumpling it. It is all live, the manipulations, and they become a voluminous sculpture. I am always interested in endurance and how I can get at limits of physicality and change a space pretty simply. You don’t need a lot if you can figure out a method for what you are trying to do. Stick to the concept, don’t decorate, and you can make anything.

words and images by Laura Peterson

This Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Paper Room: Fold/Unfold premieres at Jamaica Performing Arts Center as part of the Making Moves Dance Festival. Click here for tickets.

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