Rusalki, performed by the Anatomia Dance Collective

I created Rusalki as a collaborative, devised performance piece that incorporates elements of contact improvisation, ritual, ballet, butoh, and aerial arts. Designed to be performed in a variety of settings – both in a traditional theatrical environment as well as an ambient installation – Rusalki is an exploration of the psychological transformation of space through movement and audience engagement. The piece is loosely based on the Eastern European myth of female water spirits, trapped between two realms, who lure mortal men to their death in hopes of satiating aneternal desire to dance.

The choreography for Rusalki evolved out of five costume designs that were created in collaboration with each individual dancer. The movements developed as an extension of the fabric itself, and were directly shaped by the constrictions and idiosyncrasies of the garments on the dancers’ bodies. Rusalki was performed over two years in various venues throughout the west coast of the United States. The costume designs for Rusalki were featured at the 2013 World Stage Design festival in Cardiff, where they were shortlisted among the top three in the Costume Design category. Please see here for more photos of individual costumes.

Many thanks to Flam Chen Pyrotechnic Theater for their guidance and assistance with this project.

A full account of the creation of Rusalki/the Anatomia project is available here in reverse chronological order.

Rusalki from natalya kolosowsky on Vimeo.