Arts & Culture » Culture

A Place To Call Home at Surel's Place in Garden City


Surel's Place artist-in-residence Robin Stiehm dancing in her routine Home/Body. - XAVIER WARD
  • Xavier Ward
  • Surel's Place artist-in-residence Robin Stiehm dancing in her routine Home/Body.

When Robin Stiehm first received notice she was accepted to a fellowship with Garden City’s Surel’s Place, she wasn’t quite sure what was in store for her. She knew she would live at the art collective, it would become her home for the month of July.

This got her thinking: What does home mean?

“That kind of spurred me to think about what I would do,” she said.

Stiehm’s dance piece, Home/Body, explored the concepts of home and non-verbal communication through dance, and invited small groups to experience an intimate dance piece that expressed what people in a day.

“Ordinary things happen here, but also extraordinary things happen here,” she said during the performance.

The dance started in the entry room of Surel’s Place. Pieces of paper hung from the ceiling with different phrases from varied authors, Stiehm included, that discussed the themes of being at home and in bed, and the feelings that come with being in those places. Stiehm danced near the large window in the front room, waving to dancers outside. Attendees could hear the muted sounds of the outside music.

Stiehm then invited guests into the living room, where she danced around the work desk and kitchen, places that have primary functions like cooking and working, but still can be used for self expression through everyday activity.

Finally, Stiehm invited guests into the bedroom, noting the “private” sign posted on the door. While it’s a private space, Stiehm wanted everyone to join her where she performed a piece on the bed. The overall ambience was nostalgic, melancholy but still notably positive.

Once guests exited the bedroom, they entered the patio area, where refreshments and snacks were waiting, but the performance was far from over.

The outside dancers, all from local companies made their way up the driveway. Performing the dance that attendees saw from inside, with Stiehm waving at them.

Stiehm was the July artist-in-residence for Surel’s Place. She lives full time in Mazlatan, Mexico. There will be an abridged version of the performance on the coming First Friday at Surel's Place in Garden City.