SEED Performance Art presents “Blank Page”

a man and a woman dancing

Pedro and Annika act out one of the stories.

SEED Performance Art is a Winona based professional performing arts integration that intends to get audiences emotionally and physically involved in artwork. Their upcoming show, “Blank Page” is their fifth installment of their Experiment Series, where they will be addressing the topic and personal instances of date rape. The SEED program consistently commits to bringing two or more art forms together to create a more affective, enriching and unique sensory experience for audiences. In this performance, spoken word will be complimenting movement and dance. The script for this piece was compiled by written experiences ranging from date rape to consensual sexual intimacy interactions by Winona community members, including Winona State University Students. It addresses five different shifting elements of sexual encounters: control, power, trust, impulse and violence.

The performance is a mixture of negative and positive experiences of sexual intimacy, but primarily addresses the issues surrounding date rape, in hopes of generating discussion amongst the community. The SEED webpage states, “Through artistic devices, SEED hopes to boldly continue the conversation of sexually based violence vs. consensual sex.”

It is no doubt that audiences will experience a variety of emotions while in attendance. “Dance is the most physical of arts. Dance really speaks at the nature of the problem; you can feel it by watching. Dance is the missing element of the spoken word aspect- it brings it to life,” says Pedro Pablo, a junior Public Relations Major and dance minor at WSU,  of his experience participating dancing in this performance.

SEED’s mission of juxtaposing two art forms actually creates a harmony. The words bring the dance to life, generating the emotion and blueprints for movement. The movement aspect, in turn, brings the words to the foreground, where audiences can physically see the words in action. Together, words and movement create a unique and powerful experience where audiences experience the emotional, physical, psychological and power dynamics of date rape and as well as positive sexual intimacy.

The artistic director, Claire Richards, has worked with Winona’s Women’s Resource Center staff and Women’s and Gender Studies professors Tamara Berg and Mary Jo Klinker in order to organize and appropriately craft the message. It is vital that we have art forms that address the personal lives of our community members. The personal is indeed political, and the art form helps make a discussion of the issue at hand more approachable and close to home. This performance will have a resounding impact on how people view rape, and hopefully how they talk about it.

For example, instead of victim blaming, one would hope the accountability goes towards the aggressor and I begin think about the ways we blame victims and how they feel.  Pablo adds, “we’re trying to say that sex is beautiful and sacred and you take away everything when you don’t have consent.” This indeed is the overall message of this upcoming performance that will surely leave an impression on the community. Hopefully, people will feel moved so that they can intervene in situations or help those effected begin to heal.

“Blank Page” is being performed tonight and tomorrow, March 6-7, at 7pm in Tau Center on WSU’s West Campus (511 Hilbert Street).  Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students (with an id).

–Courtney McCaw

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