Arts Beat

Warehouse's 'Facade,' A Step-by-Step Look At Urban Change

Jane Jerardi, left, and Ginger Wagg use a projector as they dance in
Jane Jerardi, left, and Ginger Wagg use a projector as they dance in "Facade" in the Warehouse attic. (By Jonathan Ernst For The Washington Post)
By Rachel Beckman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 5, 2006

"Facade" starts with a pixie-looking gal dancing on the steep, creaky staircase that leads to the third-floor attic of the Warehouse, a space that the venue rarely opens to the public. The audience watches her from the bottom of the stairs as a cacophony plays on a stereo.

It's the beginning of a 30-minute installation in which viewers take in dance, sculpture, a slide show, video projections, recorded sound and a live band.

As the show moves upstairs, the dozen or so spectators are greeted by the dissonant sounds of two members of the experimental band the Caution Curves. The duo bangs pots and pans, hums, sings and yawns into microphones, and plays guitar, violin, cello and drums (all in various combinations).

Now there are two pixies, dancing in a similar sinewy style, playing off each other's movement. The audience roams among the three rooms on the third floor, taking in the different components of the show.

"I came for an experience," said audience member Laura Schandelmeier. "I kept on getting images of ghosts. They seemed to be moving almost in a different plane -- existing somewhere else."

"Facade" is a surreal experience, made either more confusing or more clear by its theme: gentrification. But the director-dancers Jane Jerardi, 30, and Ginger Wagg, 27, don't use the g-word.

"It's more about a shifting landscape," Wagg says.

Jerardi explains: "We started out by walking around Chinatown, Penn Quarter and the Warehouse, really trying to observe the space and see what qualities we were seeing. The Verizon Center, ESPN Zone . . . all of that is next to buildings that are empty or old storefronts."

The idea of construction weaves through "Facade." Jerardi and Wagg both wear pieces of orange plastic fencing around their waists and they present a slide show of photos of buildings under construction. That cacophony on the staircase was recorded at building sites and remixed. Their goal is to "capture the feeling of transformation," Jerardi says. The title of the show was inspired by a building in Penn Quarter that has two different facades.

Jerardi and Wagg both live in the District and are formally trained dancers -- Jerardi grew up doing modern dance and Wagg received a degree in dance from George Mason University.

The two women first collaborated last year with a performance series called "IN SITE: Spill, Listen, Crave." It took place at three sites: an art gallery, a record store and the Warehouse. The installations were all different, depending on the venue, and included a balloon sculpture, bands and a "performance typist," a guy who wrote custom poems on the spot.

Jerardi received a $10,000 New Media grant from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to create "Facade." She is a three-time recipient of its Young Emerging Artist grant; Wagg received one in 2005.


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