The Embodied Voice: Program Notes for the Joe Goode Performance Group | Guest Post by Christy Bolingbroke

When I first heard the Joe Goode Performance Group was introducing an evening of songs from select pieces over the last two decades, it made sense. JGPG acolytes have come to expect the group to regularly break into song as part of this special brand of dance-theater. Perhaps what was unexpected when one hears of a “cabaret” evening is the movement in this particular program. More than just a “best of” hit list, Irresistibly Drawn reminds us that the movement and the song are inextricably connected in Joe Goode’s work.

Melecio Estrella and Damara Vita Ganley in Joe Goode's  "Irresistibly Drawn"

Melecio Estrella and
Damara Vita Ganley
in Joe Goode’s
“Irresistibly Drawn”

Before I was to observe a college dance composition class taught by Goode, he warned me he does not teach the students to “do him” – meaning they do not all create work incorporating singing or talking, or even collaborating with other disciplines. They all create body-based work though, and Goode’s point is that even if it is simply movement it should come across as honest and emotionally felt. As part of his approach to unpacking a super-topic, Goode looks to mine the emotions of his dancers as well as his own to make work that questions what it means to be human and deal with these issues. JGPG member and teaching artist Damara Vita Ganley describes his work as “experiential storytelling that isn’t a story; it’s a question.”

Joe Goode’s artistic signature blends text, campy wit, seemingly effortless movement, and modern folk songs that create a community of performers reflecting life offstage. It is not always idyllic because Goode is not afraid of living in sadness or humanness. But by the end, he has confirmed some sort of human truth and made it evident onstage. Like listening to a good friend who talks with his or her hands, experiencing a Goode dance-theater performance is like having a conversation with someone who passionately speaks with his or her whole body.

Christy Bolingbroke is the ODC Deputy Director for Advancement.

Joe Goode Performance Group presents Irresistibly Drawn on Sunday, August 3 and Monday, August 4, at ODC Theater.

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