CROSSROADS is an interactive story-telling project linking the ancient traditions of dance, oral history and music with the exciting world of the written word. The project actively engages the Charleston Library Society constituency to think creatively about their relationship with the library.  It takes place over the course of five months, featuring a story-collecting residency, a public blog and a community choreography workshop and culminating in a mixed-media dance performance.

Premiered 18 May 2012 as part of the Charleston Library Society's UnEdited performance series, Charleston, SC  USA

Performers: Maura Garcia (non-enrolled Cherokee/Mattamuskeet), Marlo Cotton Frazier (Meherrin), Kristin Fieseler, Carolyn Bryan, Rick Dorrance
Original Music Compositions: Mark Gabriel Little
Recorded Music: Anda Union
Painting: Alyssa Hinton (Tuscarora/Osage)

Blog Review 
“Audience interaction was a key element in making this an enjoyable performance for people of all ages. Not only was the audience narrating the stories, but also each person had the opportunity to dance.” 
- Monica Fab, The Charleston Fever,

The center of this inquiry will be the past and present of the library and the transformations and functions of the physical space, people, buildings, books and land as they have evolved throughout the centuries.  The world of the Charleston Library Society involves journeys and intersections between individual stories, objects and places.  Project creator Maura Garcia seeks to explore the following questions:  Where, how, when and between whom do the intersections occur?  What is the nature and tone of the intersections?  Why do they happen? 

On Saturday, February 4th, Garcia will be “in-residence” at the Charleston Library Society.  During this story-collecting residency Garcia will interact with the diverse community by listening to stories about their lives and their connections to the Charleston Library Society.

On Saturday, April 21st, Garcia will facilitate a community choreography workshop  at the Charleston Library Society.   The workshop consists of two components:  a written choreography survey and a movement class.  The purpose of the event is to involve the community in the choreographic process.

Library patrons will have the opportunity to take part in the choreography survey on Saturday morning.  Garcia will administer the survey that includes a description of the CROSSROADS project.  Survey-takers will be asked to help choreograph the CROSSROADS mixed media, dance performance by providing suggestions.  The survey will include the following queries: 

Where:  Where should the dance happen?  In what section of the room should the dance occur?  What physical objects or architectural elements should be included?

How:  How should the dance happen?  What type of shape or formation should the entire dance make?  In what direction should the dancer face?  

What:  What should the dance be?  What should the movements be?

When:   When should the movements happen? What should the order of the movements be? What should the dance begin/end with?

Who:  Who should dance?  Who should be in the performance?

During Saturday afternoon, Garcia will facilitate  an hour and a half long movement class.  The class will explore dance as a means of reacting to a particular phenomena.  Using guided choreography exercises, participants are encouraged to express their ideas about shared histories and the Charleston Library Society through movement.  Word association, personal histories, text, connections between the body and objects and guttural reactions are some of the choreographic tools used to enable participants to create their own dances. 

On May 18th, 2012 at 7pm, Garcia will present a 40-minute mixed media dance performance inspired by the human, natural, literary and architectural histories of the Charleston Library Society.  Drawing upon the expertise of other collaborating artists, Garcia will translate the histories into dance, spoken word, text-based installations and space-specific sound.

Visual artist Alyssa Hinton will design a mixed media installation piece exploring  the “official” history and community stories of the Charleston Library Society and the city of Charleston.  The piece will include combinations of abstract references to and physical reproductions of the CROSSROADS interview transcripts.

Sound artist MGL will work from the complied project information to create a multi-level sound composition.  MGL’s musical score will feature original music woven together with recorded CROSSROADS interviews, pre-recorded library noises and spoken words from random library books.

In order to choreograph the piece, Garcia will evaluate all of the compiled project information: research data, interview transcripts, blog responses, choreography surveys, the movement class experience and her reactions to the Charleston Library Society.  Through this process, layers of the site are unraveled, allowing for Garcia to represent the multifaceted histories within one framework.

The combined components of the performance will create a mysterious, temporary artistic “universe” within the “universe” of books, showcasing the intriguing and multi-facetious nature of the Charleston Library Society and the greater world.