Collision Course – a.k.a. Pillow Talk (Stage Performance)

Original Performance on July 12, 2012 at Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre

2012 – A provocative dance theater work from associated memories, dreams, and nightmares, an off-beat yet delightful spectacle about the fiction and reality of LUV for the digital age.  This evening-length multimedia dance theater work about LUV for the digital age was conceived and directed by Maida Withers.  This real yet surreal evening-length performance by four extraordinary dance artists exposes the fragile and volatile nature of relationships through intricate and striking partnering performed with dramatic and forceful innuendo. The lush white-on-white stage setting provides a palette for the immersive electronic installation of vogue portraits of the dancers and paintings by Anthony Gongora featuring visual poetry and pillow talk by Alex Caldiero, poet, and penetrating and compelling electronic music by Steve Hilmy.  Dancers / Quartet:  Kelly Bond, Nate Bond, Anthony Gongora, Giselle Ruzany; Guest Dancers: Dylan Mont, Billy Andrews, Ian Ceccarelli, Kristi Cole, Sam Wong; Poet, Alissandru (Alex) Caldiero; Visual Design, Anthony Gongora (See below)

Physical and symbolic meanings are derived from white pristine bed pillows that are incorporated into all scenes and dance episodes. These familiar objects of passion and pleasure provide dancers opportunity to configure/reconfigure the space constructing a sanctuary for intimacy and violence, humor, and even remorse. Pillows are embraced, shared, relayed, and taped to the body like appendages becoming an ever present friend and companion, a shield for protection, a burden, an instrument for violence, a suffocating handicap, a comfort needed for a soft landing.

Collision Course – a.k.a. Pillow Talk is at once bold and delicate, daring, loving and audacious. Pillows thrown, relationships caught! What dreams of love do nightmares bring? “At the end of the day we return to the pillow, the place where thoughts are shared and decisions are made. There’s pillow talk, then life happens!”

Object Label (148 words)

Collision Course – a.k.a. Pillow Talk
Choreographer and Artistic Director,  Maida Withers
Composer and Musician, Steve Hilmy
Dancers, Kelly Bond, Nathaniel (Nate) Bond, Anthony Gongora, Dyllan Mont, Giselle Ruzany
Billy Andrews, Ian Ceccarelli, Kristi Cole, Sam Wong
Film and  Visual Installation Design, Anthony Gongora
Poet and Sonosphere, Alissandru (Alex) Caldiero
Original Video of Alex Caldiero, Maida Withers
Photographs, Shaun Schroth
Digital Paintings, Michelle Kliman
Costume Design, Sigrid Johannesdottir
Light Design, Michael Sperber
Talking Pillow, Ayodamola (Ayo) Okunseinde
Stage Manager, Corinne Haynes
Public Relations, Angela Olson, Billy Andrews, Intern, Shannon O’Brien

Sources: not needed if use web page  (1:02:34)  (44:21 installation film) (07:23 film)


Premiere, Dorothy Betts Theatre, Washington, DC  July 12, 2012; Viseos Urbanas – Festival Internacional de Danca, Sao Paulo, BR, March 24, 2013; Teatro Cacilda Becker, Rio de Janeiro, BR, March 28, 2013; Seattle International Dance Festival, June 21, 2013; Conduit Performance Space, Portland, OR, June 22, 2013

Photos by Shaun Schroth

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What the press is saying

The pillows feel like characters in the story too—there were moments in which they looked like a dancer’s lover, or when they seemed to represent something frightening, like a nightmare or a bad memory Liz Maestri
A beautifully complex and thought provoking piece. Sure to have audiences thinking long after the lights go down. Rick Westerkamp
D.C. choreographer and George Washington University professor Maida Withers' new show features four dances and lots of pillows. "Collision Course—a.k.a. Pillow Talk" is a dance/theater work that tells stories of love for the digital age, with an electronic-music soundtrack. The show runs tonight and tomorrow only, and takes place on a white-on-white stage. According to a press release, pillows will be "embraced, shared, relayed, and taped to the body like appendages becoming an ever-present friend and companion, a shield for protection, a burden, an instrument for violence, a suffocating handicap, a comfort needed for a soft landing." Runs to Dec. 8 at the Marvin Theatre at George Washington University, 800 21st St. NW. $22 general admission, $17 for seniors and artists, $12 students. Katie Fiegenbaum
The movement sequences were most interesting when Withers explored what dancers could do with the pillows…” Could Nate Bond lift Giselle Ruzany while she was curled in a ball clutching three? (He could.) Could a trio of three guys waddle across the stage with pillows between their legs? (Yes; hysterically funny.) And an arabesque while clutching a pillow between two toes? (Awkward, but possible!) Rebecca Ritzel

Artists and Collaborators
Concept / Artistic Director / Choreographer
Composer and Musician
Visual Design
Poet and Sonosphere
Digital Paintings
Costume Design
Lighting Design
Talking Pillow
2012 Cast
2013 Cast
Guest Dancers
Stage Manager
Public Relations
Documentary Video, Camera, Editor
Other Performances
  • Teatro Cacilda Becker, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil(map) on March 28, 2013
  • Seattle International Dance Festival - Beyond The Threshold(map) on June 21, 2013
  • Viseos Urbanas - Festival Internacional de Danca, Sao Paulo, Brazil(map) on March 24, 2013
  • Conduit Performance Space, Portland, Oregon(map) on June 22, 2013
  • Artisphere Dome Theatre, Arlington, VA(map) on September 21, 2011
  • (map) on January 1, 1970