“…warmth towards one’s fellow men is essential,

an understanding of the contradictions in man …

He is a suffering creature but not one to be scorned.”

Grotowski

Four Stages is a collaborative performance created by artist and musician Wolf William Say and artist and dancer Dola Baroni.

The show premiered in October 2017 at Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (MATCH).

Baroni danced four acts as a god of human error to a militant score composed by Say.

Four Stages was written under the influence of Grotowski and in the spirit of ceremony.

Wolf William Say is an artist and writer born in Houston. He spent several formative years in New York before returning in 2005. Say has exhibited photography and short films in galleries for the past ten years. His practice is focused on repetitive training and grounded in what gets called intuition. From 2006 to 2016, he routinely published artwork on the Internet under pseudonym.

Dola Baroni is a visual artist and dancer based in Los Angeles. She has been performing since 1994 and exhibiting photographic work since 2004. Baroni has studied many forms of dance including Butoh, Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Flamenco, Middle Eastern dance, and Indian dance.

Butoh is a style of dance developed by Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno in the post-war period of the 1950s and 1960s in Japan. Butoh was a reaction against the traditional and contemporary dance scene at that time. In the words of Hijikata's principal male dancer, Yukio Waguri, "it rejected codified beauty of Noh dance, robust vitality of western modern dance and beautiful lines of ballet." Instead, Butoh "embraced an aesthetic that spoke of disease, decay, and dying." Hijikata called his work Ankoku butoh (暗黒舞踏) or “Dance of Darkness.”..

She is the founder and director of LA Dance Family, a performance and dance company featuring both dancers and non-dancers. The company's original form began in 2008 as an open-to-all dance workshop designed for body awareness and strengthening, with specific focus on Butoh practices, called LA Dance Therapy. In 2011, Baroni shifted the focus of the company to choreography and performance and re-formed the group as LA Dance Family. The company most recently performed a piece choreographed by Baroni to honor Tatsumi Hijikata on his birthday this year: March 9, 2017.

Say and Baroni first met when Baroni visited Houston in 2008. Both filmmakers and photographers, they recognized one other’s obsessive habits and forged a bond. They have maintained an artistic dialogue since, producing films, a remote improvisational performance, and a generative rapport that led to Four Stages.

 

I do not put on a play in order to teach others what I already know.

It is after the production is completed and not before that I am wiser.

Any method which does not itself reach out into the unknown is a bad method.”

Grotowski