On September 11, Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery unleashes “American Muscle”, a dance concert and live music performance party about the will, wild and wonder of America. A dozen of Atlanta’s finest performers join choreographer Blake Beckham and musical director Stephen Wood for this unique event examining America’s sinew through an inspired blend of subversion and celebration.
Beckham, a respected contemporary dance artist, delivers a maelstrom of movement – at once articulate and unhinged. Fueled by live accompaniment from The Stephen Wood ensemble, her dancers careen, collide and collect in fitful, pronounced episodes. They move as the persistent muscle of a sincere and striving body. Throughout the night, The Stephen Wood Ensemble plays tunes in classic American styles along with contemporary compositions that reinterpret those roots. Traditional song meets laptop, Hammond organ meets banjo, a rowdy jazz set ensues.
While the artists did not originally plan the show for 9/11, the serendipitous booking offered them a chance “to give the work another lens and layer”, says Beckham. “But we hope the work speaks to a broader kind of cultural ligature. Our might: as strength and potential. Our fight: dogged, for better or worse. Our beauty and our shame. The tensions that tug and unite, wrapping our very skeletons in a dream as fragile as tissue.”