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Entity Contemporary Dance Highlights the Human Costs of Fashion and Garment Industry

Entity Contemporary Dance Highlights the Human Costs of Fashion and Garment Industry
August 16
12:32 2019

Entity Contemporary Dance (https://www.entitycontemporarydance.com), a professional contemporary dance company that interweaves modern, jazz, and hip hop dance techniques, has put together an artful feature performance titled: “Transparent/See.”
(Link to Youtube clip on the performance Transparent /See :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xK8zUPHPjgk)

This performance is based on “The True Cost,” a documentary by Andre Morgan on the garment and fast-fashion industry. The documentary exposes several aspects of the garment industry from production, exploring the life of low-wage workers in developing countries, to the after-effects such as river and soil pollution, pesticide contamination, disease and death. It also examines consumerism and mass media, ultimately linking them to global capitalism. Operating in countries such as Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, and China, major fashion brand manufacturers minimize costs and maximize profits by having companies in those countries compete against each other. The international brands pressure the factory owners, threatening to close and move production to another country if the clothes are not cheap enough; the owners, in turn, pressure their workers.

Fashion is one of the past decade’s rare economic success stories; with the industry growing at 5.5 percent annually over this period; and according to the McKinsey Global Fashion Index is now worth an estimated US$2.4 trillion. “Transparent/See” uses dance and story to create a true-to-life portrayal of the behind-the-scenes of “fast fashion” and the effects of greed, fear, power, and poverty it perpetuates around the world. The feature performance is a monumental achievement that inspires both appreciation of art and more critical thinking around personal consumption patterns.

“Transparent/See”, choreographed by Will Johnston and Marissa Osato, looks at disconnect between the producer and the consumer within the fast fashion industry by exploring themes of consumption, sacrifice, personalization, and community.

The performance itself is marvelously executed and expertly captures fashion consumer culture. Sharp, staccato movements accentuate tropes of machinery, minute-to-minute shifts in style, and the general harshness of the sweatshops tasks with mass manufacturing cheap and unsustainable clothing options. The stage is organized around the ‘consumer’, dancer Derek Tabada. He flits through different garments in the middle of the stage and quickly tosses them aside when he is unsatisfied. Meanwhile, the workers are around the edge of the stage, miming the process of production while the consumer mindlessly tosses his clothes about.

 

The performance aptly juxtaposes the behavior and engagement between producer and consumer in a thought provoking, engaging, and insightful manner. The performance team consisted of Kent Boyd, Karen Chuang, Emily Crouch, Shiori Kamijo, Angel Mammoliti, Grayson McGuire, Eugenia Rodriguez, Diana Schoenfield, and Derek Tabada

The show debuted at the three-day MOVES Dance Festival held at the iconic and historic Montalban Theater in Hollywood, CA. The MOVES Dance Festival featured three diverse shows by the Entity Contemporary Dance Team at this theater, built in 1926-27, and the first Broadway-style legitimate theater venue in Los Angeles. 

Entity Contemporary Dance Team, founded in 2009 by choreographers Will Johnston, Marissa Osato, and Elm Pizarro with the intent to forge connections between the Southern California hip hop and contemporary dance communities is based in Los Angeles, and are the winners of the 2017 Capezio A.C.E. Awards, for an earlier feature performance titled “PEEL.”

The Entity Dance Company and the team members are known for using contemporary dance to provoke thought in the USA and abroad. They have performed in numerous festivals, benefit shows, and industry showcases throughout California and produced two full length works, “Braxon vs. Oregon” (2014/2015) and “PEEL” (2016/2017), which ran in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

There is discussion about a potential performance here in India.  The team, comprised of Kent Boyd, Karen Chuang, Emily Crouch, Shiori Kamijo, Angel Mammoliti, Grayson McGuire, Eugenia Rodriguez, Diana Schoenfield, and Derek Tabada, will hopefully be taking to more local Indian stages soon and also staring conversations with school children in India to add another dimension to the audience experience. CampusOne Education Solutions Pvt. Ltd. is looking to lead this dialogue and conversation between professional dance team members from Los Angeles and school children in and around the city of Mumbai. Eugenia Rodriguez, and team members, are expected to hold webinars and skype conversations with school children in India to create a virtual platform to share and exchange ideas on using dance and art forms to inspire and create social change.

The unfortunate truth is that the many of the exploited workers of the garment and fashion industry are in not in the United States. This disconnect between the workers/producers and consumers is further widened by the geographic distance between the workers and the (usually) American clothing companies that hire them. This American performance, with a relevant and pressing commentary on society, will be soon seen by and discussed with new audiences, especially children, who could very well be watching the performance from a different perspective. We know what the American audience took away. The next question is: what will this performance mean to new audiences that experience it in the social, economic and cultural context of other countries?
We look forward to the webinar and listen to what the children have to say. Can dance and art help children learn and understand the human and ecological costs of or everyday actions?
Tune in for the webinars.

Reference links

Link to documentary write-up “The True Cost”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_True_Cost

Link to Youtube clips of the performance

Transparent/See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xK8zUPHPjgk

Transparent/See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmbwHcp1o0g

Link to Youtube clip of Capezio 2017 award: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4jDkypY2v0

Author: admin

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