Caroline Thompson
A Repertory Dance Theatre performer lies amid logs and twigs in "The Weight of Memory" at Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center.
"THE WEIGHT OF MEMORY," Repertory Dance Theatre, Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, Thursday, additional performance today (355-2787)

As the Repertory Dance Theatre artists were arranging logs and twigs around a slumbering colleague during a performance for area-school dance classes, the fixture could have been a pile of tinder or a nest.

The logical choice would have been a nest, but the company's new performance of Ellen Bromberg and Della Davidson's collaboration "The Weight of Memory" is a non-linear moving stream of consciousness that can be interpreted in many different levels.

So, was it a nest or a tinder?

The public can make that choice when they see the performance for themselves tonight at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center.

"The Weight of Memory" is an emotional work of art that has a beginning and an end, but getting from one point to the other is a chimeric journey through the past.

Bromberg and Davidson reached into their individual artistic disciplines — Bromberg's dance and video and Davidson's dance and theater — and brought their interpretations of writer Karen Brennan's text to the stage.

They did that literally as projections of Brennan's writings of "10 Birds" served as a backdrop and recordings of a disembodied voice read the text throughout the dream-like, 50-minute performance.

The dancers and projections of the dancers, birds and trees intermingled with each other on memory-foam mattresses and chairs set up around the stage.

Dreams and memories became one as the dancers' sometimes surreal and sometimes angst-filled movements took center stage.

Lucid patterns developed in waltzing and lifting variations, and, at one point, the "memory" aspect was driven home with a small segment screening of a home movie depicting children at play. The dancers added dimension as they mimicked and expanded on stage what was being projected.

Throughout the work, nostalgia, poignancy and fond memories were nudged loose in the audience members' minds.