How To Create Variations on a Theme of HOME: Adam Barruch and Shamel Pitts Share a Gibney Dance Company Program

On Their Shared History

Adam Barruch: Shamel and I have long history, we both went to high school at LaGuardia and college at Juilliard.

Shamel Pitts: We also lived together, we actually shared a home, a small room in a dorm for the first two years of college. So there is something mystical and comical about it, that we are now commissioned to share an evening after taking our different artistic paths.

On The Theme

AB:  I think it  was relevant for both of us. Gibney is my New York home base, so there is that aspect, but Shamel and I are also native New Yorkers. So this is a homecoming to be in the community we started in. When Gibney came to me with the  idea, I thought of home as a space where there is an interface between past and present: a room imbued with history where we are in the now, but we are still reacting and interfacing with the encoded past in us and to go into that physical space brings on a dense sense of memory. The original idea I had of a literal set gave way to a more abstract and movement-based piece. There is a white frame around the floor, so there is a containment, but I was in the mood to explore full-bodied movement. My work is always very densely emotional and about psychological landscapes of the human experience.

SP: When Gibney asked me to do this, I found it to be a huge topic. At first, I didn’t know how to approach it, since my home has been in a state of constant motion for the last decade. And in thinking about the word ‘home,’ it brought me to the word ‘menagerie,’ and then that word brought me to Tennessee Williams. I re-read The Glass Menagerie this summer as a starting point with the designer, Deville Cohen, and then once we got into studio it became a departure point. We are not re-enacting, but we did draw from the play some symbolism and content that interested us: the sense of individuality, the interior vs. the exterior and how within the unit, we communicate through our chores. We are also dealing with dissonance or the less harmonious aspects as the artists collaborate, with their labor, in order to construct an environment to live in.

Gibney Dance Company Presents HOME

Adam Barruch: Imprint Ghosts and Shamel Pitts & Deville Cohen: Menagerie

November 16–17 at 8 p.m.
November 17 at 4 p.m.
November 18 at 2 p.m.
Click Here for tickets.

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