Out of the box: ‘Cardboard Stage’ combines dance, film, and music

Triple threat: Choreographer Nicole Philippidis, pictured, collaborated with her guitarist brother John Philippidis and filmmaker Jennifer Klein to create “Cardboard Stage.”
Jennifer Klein

They’re treading the cardboards!

A new multimedia dance show about feeling powerless in the face of city and national politics will storm the stage of Triskelion Arts in Greenpoint on Oct. 18–20. The Bay Ridge-raised choreographer of “Cardboard Stage” said that after the presidential election of 2016, she was compelled to create a piece that would express her feelings.

“There was a lot of political talk and a lot of protests going on at the time, and it was the start of what we see now,” said Nicole Philippidis, the artistic director of 277 Dance Project.

The name of the show was inspired by a common sight at political protests, said Philippidis: cardboard signs.

“At these protests there were always cardboard signs — everywhere I looked I would see cardboard signs,” she said.

The protest signs are one of the most potent ways to getting people’s attention, said Philippidis — and they use the same material that sidewalk dancers perform on.

“When you can have something to say — you can speak it or scream it, but as soon as you write it down you have an audience and a place to be seen or heard,” she said. “People make makeshift stages all the time, and as soon as you place it on the floor, people will stop and watch it. It carves out a space for a voice.”

In the show, a half-dozen dancers will enact the day-to-day struggles of life in a rapidly changing city, against a background of ever-changing abstract visuals created by filmmaker Jennifer Klein.

For music, the choreographer teamed up with her musician brother John Philippidis, a founding member of the indie-folk band Burlap to Cashmere. He created a soundtrack for the show, and will perform it live during the three-night run.

The evening combines several different art forms with a display of talented dancers to express feelings that everyone has felt at some point, said Philippidis.

“It’s fun, it’s wonderful live music and visual media, and a culmination of talented artists working together,” she said. “The piece speaks to everyone and it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from — you’ll find something in this show and leave on a high of a shared experience.”

“Cardboard Stage” at Triskelion Arts [106 Calyer St. between Banker Street and Clifford Place in Greenpoint, (718) 389–3473, www.triskelionarts.org]. Oct. 18–20 at 8 pm. $22 ($18 in advance).

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @AS1mon.
Falling down: The new multimedia dance show “Cardboard Stage,” opening at Triskelion Arts on Oct. 18, deals with power and powerlessness in times of change.
Satoshi Tsuchiyama

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