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Collaboration (Dance: Chiaki Sasahara; Paint: Erik Sanner; Music (voice): Paul sanner
Hamilton Park Gazebo, Jersey City, NJ
September 2000
Images courtesy of Rodney zagury

Dance = Intentional human movement arranged through time and space;
Music = Sounds arranged through time;
Painting = Colors arranged on a two-dimensional surface;
Music and dance are frequent partners sharing time;
How can painting and dance partner?
How can music and painting partner?

Chiaki and had done a few things together. At my solo show "tea," she danced at my opening reception; as part of that performance, I painted on her with matcha (strong powdered green tea). During the final week of creating my "News" project, she participated with me in choosing the images and posing for polaroids which were then incorporated into the pieces. We had talked about doing something more together, something which would really combine dance and painting.

Paul and I had done a few things together, too, like playing knee football in the basement, me in my red Steve Grogan #14 jersey (he's one of my big brothers).

Chiaki came to visit. I asked her why. She said she wanted to dance, in public spaces - parks, sidewalks, New Orleans, wherever. We said "let's do something together" (finally). I guess we had been talking about doing something with dance and paint for about three years at that point.

I was living in Jersey City at the time, not far from Hamilton Park, which has a nice gazebo and a good number of people who walk through it on their way to or from work during rush hour. We went there and tried to figure out what to do. What we came up with was "Sonntag."

There were a few elements, which were basically ways of interacting with each other or the surroundings independently of each other. We wrote up something which i imagine is similar to set of stage directions, and followed them. After we decided music would be a good idea, we asked Paul to join us; he did. Since he wasn't able to hang out with us at the park day after day, we asked him to sing for us, and we chose a few songs together ("Sonntag," "At the River," and "Where'er You Walk" (which he had accompanied me on at my senior recital at antioch college in 1989, when I played french horn)). He sang for a tape; Chiaki and I then chose bits of each song to go with certain parts of the final (roughly thirty-minute) piece. Chiaki choreographed for all three of us. There were times that I was just painting, but there were other times when I had to do what she wanted me to, like run from one side to the other, following her with my pallette and brush. she also directed Paul (how to walk, where and when and so on), and choreographed her own dancing.

A few days prior to the event, I painted on some of the surfaces we would use during the performance. The surfaces included large stretched canvasses, large wooden doors found near the park, and unstretched canvas placed on the stairs (like a carpet). The imagery I painted were things which were either visible from my painting spot (for example, my view looking down the stairs, painted onto the central vertical canvas hung on a pillar) or things which would be visible through the canvasses or doors if the canvasses or doors were not there (for example, plants or fences directly behind the canvasses or doors hung to either side). I repeated some of these images throughout the live event (for example, painting the rotated "k" shape the intersecting fence rails made onto Chiaki).

Here are the notes Chiaki and I put together. She kept most of what she was doing in her head or in her own notes, so this was more to help paul and I follow her direction):

Piece Paul Chiaki Erik Time
Where'er You Walk Sing;
pause 30 seconds;
pause 30 seconds;
pause 45 seconds;
On "main stage" During singing, paint what's already on surfaces on Chiaki or on side canvasses, to her cues;
during pauses, continue same motif was engaged in painting at point music ended at different places on same surface
5 minutes
Sonntag Sing, no cuts Back, left steps Trace whole Chiaki 1 minute
Where'er You Walk Sing, no cuts On "main stage" Abstract painting 2 minutes
40 seconds
Silent Back, right steps;

Right, left steps;

"Main stage"
Refrain: Trace whole Chiaki;
step-tracing 2 minutes;
low "fixing" 2 minutes
4 minutes
At the River Sing, no cuts Center steps Center column 2 minutes
At the River Sing;

pause 1 minute 30 seconds;


pause 20 seconds;

"Main stage" Paint things I can see low (e.g., audience member's camera, handkerchief);
Paint same thing on side (while whistling);
Paint things I can see low;
Other side paint same thing;
Paint things I can see low
4 minutes
Where'er You Walk Sing;

pause 1 minute;


pause 1 minute;


pause 1 minute;

"Main stage";



pose on "step";

"main stage";


Paint on Chiaki's body;
softly "bang" side surface (brush, palette);
trace Chiaki on side surfaces;
paint Chiaki's portrait (sitting pose);
paint on Chiaki's body;
psycho "bang" on side surfaces (palette);
trace her on sides
6 minutes
Sonntag Sing, no cuts;
sing, no cuts (twice straight through)
Steps Paint Chiaki's portrait (standing pose) 2 minutes
20 seconds
At the River Sing, no cuts "Main stage" Free abstract in new boxes 2 minutes