“After slicing bags of onions, I still hadn’t cried. For most this would be a good thing, but for me, it was disappointment.”—Talia Mason
In preparation for her SoLow Fest performance, Onion Dances, Talia Mason chopped onions, attempting to cry while talking about family memories and associations with onions. “I was interested in it because of how onions make people cry and allow for vulnerability,” Mason explains.
Mason’s piece draws inspiration from a Headlong Performance Institute (HPI) exercise, a constellation, in which students create a work based on collections of objects that interest them. The unpeeled whole onion which Mason chose for her constellation became the starting point for a semester of intense performance making the result of which debuts at Headlong Dance Studios June 17th, 18th and 26th. Similar to the structure of an onion, the use of onions has multiple layers in Mason’s work. “They are central in my research but they also live on the periphery as part of the landscape of the piece,” she describes.
In the spirit of the SoLow Fest theme Signs of Life, Talia says, “Onion Dances is about my family stories and our family’s collective memory of history.” The piece is as much about childhood as it is about adolescence, adulthood, and the universal experience of learning and coming to terms with understanding death. In Onion Dances Mason incorporates play, dance, song, and storytelling.
Although the piece is personal in its subject matter, Mason has been working with a fellow HPI alum and SoLow Fest participant, Mira Treatman, as a dramaturg. Together Mason and Treatman are fine-tuning some of the movement phrase work and transforming a studio space into a performance environment. “I am interested in continuing to work on Onion Dances after SoLow Fest is over, and any feedback will prove essential,” Mason adds.
Onion Dances at SoLow Fest
Talia Mason and Mira Treatman
June 17th at 7pm, June 18th at 8pm, and June 26th at 7pm.
Headlong Dance Studios (1170 S Broad Street)
Tickets: $5–$10 at the door