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Seattle provides a friendly place to experiment

Lauren Hlubny doesn’t believe in the famed “Seattle chill.” From her experience, the dance and theater scene is more than warm when it comes to welcoming new works. She had a great time at The Pocket Theater in 2014 where she created “This is Not a Table for Three.” She was invited to return this year.

It was a welcome chance to collaborate again with dancer Christin Call, actor Daniel Christensen, and cellist Joshua Dent. Although Hlubny is based on the East Coast, where she is the New York artistic director of Danse Theatre Surreality, she loved working with these artists.

This time, she challenged her performers to shed their inhibitions and their clothing. Neither Call or Dent had performed in the nude before. Christensen was willing “only if it was for a reason, and not for shock,” said Hlubny.

The resulting “sans” was subtitled “an exposed dance-theatre experiment.” Potential puns aside, the resulting work created feedback that Hlubny wanted during performances at the Pocket Theater, the Slate Theater, and the Seattle Demo Project. “What was interesting was how soon the audience forgot about the nudity,” Hlubny said. “Even with the performers just a few feet away from them.”

As she hoped, the post-performance discussions centered on the issues raised in the work rather than the lack of clothing.

The final performance of “sans” was tonight at Seattle Demo Project. In January, Hlubny will restage the work in New York.

The Seattle performers of "sans" more fully clothed.