“The most dangerous phrase in the language is we’ve always done it this way.”
– Grace Hopper
Dance has come a long way, hasn't it?
Whether it be local shows snowballing into televised competitions, choreographers traveling around the world to teach workshops, or YouTube videos going viral and getting picked up by major news outlets, the dance community has grown so much.
Our growth has only been possible when curious individuals dared to ask, “What else can I try?”
Over the past few years, Chris Martin and Larkin Poynton have been working on a project. Not a concept video, nor a competition set.
Something else – something new and different and exciting and kind of scary.
Something interpretive, immersive – something that transcends the stage we’re used to and creates a new one for all artists.
On June 8, 2017 the two premiered their feature film Project Home at Luce Loft in Downtown San Diego.
After 2 years in making, their baby of 100% original music, cinematography, choreography, and production stepped out into the world for the very first time.
The event included pre-show performances from local dancers Keone Madrid, Quinell Dixon, Tony Ray and Selene Haro, the showing of the film, along with an immersive, interactive live performance.
How was it? Well, it’s Chris and Larkin. Of course the dancing was amazing. But dance is only part of the equation.
Project Home is an multi-artistic experience-based show. One combining narrative, film, music, dance –And all of it was amazing.
Sometimes, when I go to an art museum or watch a dance show, I feel dumb.
I stare at abstract paintings and don't “get” it, which makes me feel like an ignorant and less artistically refined human. Sigh.
Project Home is art that is interpretive, yes, but in an accessible, familiar, comfortable way. The STEEZY Squad had a lot to talk about afterward.
It was a refreshing feeling following an artistic encounter, one that encouraged dialogue rather than stifling it.
What did that symbolize? Who was that character? Why did they make those choices?
We recalled our favorite moments, gushed about the dancers, and shared our personal insights on the experience.
I felt allowed, welcome to make it what it means to me, as if Chris and Larkin were saying, “Come in, make yourselves at home.”
“We didn’t want to tell such a defined story. The purpose was to people make film what it means to them.”
And indeed the audience of all ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, and stories, had their own take on Project Home.
“My friends who are 20 years old were there, as well as my grandparents. It’s interesting to hear how each of them interpreted it.”
While the specific messaging was left to the individual, the feeling everyone got was the same.
The themes of Project Home: ‘home’ and ‘family’ and ‘the human spirit’, are universal longings and needs.
All of us can find resonance with those ideas, no matter what shape or form they manifest in.
While watching – experiencing – Project Home, we all laughed together. Some of us cried together.
The people we were around felt like ‘family’ and the space itself turned into a ‘home’.
“I was going through social media after the event and noticed that there weren’t a lot of posts about it. Not many people were on their phones throughout the premiere. That felt like a win. They really wanted to be there.”
“The goal was for people to be present. To come together to enjoy art and dance and music and film.”
The duo will be able to test just how universal Project Home could be.
They’re taking the premiere on a worldwide tour, from San Diego and San Francisco to Spain, Germany, London, Japan, Russia, and Australia.
“We’re going to be working with 5 dancers from each country for the show. They’ll be able to help us add the subtleties and nuances of the culture to help translate the themes in an appropriate way.”
But it doesn’t stop there.
“At the end of the year, we’re definitely taking a couple months to make something.”
“We’ll be taking the lessons we learned from Project home, from communication, collaboration, personal revelations, and building on top of this for an even better next project.”
Chris and Larkin’s mission was to create something that speaks to the core of all people. And to give that creation the platform it deserves.
That’s why they made everything themselves.
By working with a team to produce their own music, choreography, and film, the Project Home team is able to own everything they made.
No music flags on YouTube.
No back-up dancing for a singer.
Project Home is theirs – ours.
“We wanted to push the envelope not just in dance, but in how dance is created and shared.”
“It’s not so much a finish line but more a starting point of a new thing that we want to take on.”
And we’re so excited and honored for the road ahead.
Let’s continue pushing, elevating, inspiring each other – with crazy ideas, daring moves, and the tenacity to keep fighting for the things we love.
Thank you Chris, Larkin, and the rest of the Project Home team, for your beautiful work of art and the opportunity to be part of it!
Wanna attend a premiere? Find tickets near you!