'Aloneliness' offers immersive art experience


Solitude can lead to loneliness, but it also can be empowering by allowing an individual to control his or her immediate space. Summer Baldwin and some of her creative friends are bringing that concept to the stage with "Aloneliness."

"Aloneliness" will offer interpretive dance and an immersive art experience at the Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural Center, 1600 Government St., Ocean Springs, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

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Baldwin is a dancer, actor, choreographer, yoga instructor and the founder of BY-YOU Arts in Ocean Springs. She created "Aloneliness" to explore why she was feeling increasingly drained and bored by social situations.

"I noticed patterns in myself of being introverted and wanting alone time -- like uplifting alone time," Baldwin said. "I wanted to make the audience feel that way of wanting to escape a social situation."

One means of doing this is by overwhelming the senses with electronic music, live crooning of the haunting "Blue Moon" by Ocean Springs songstress Leah Rodgers, and visual arts. Local artist Julia Reyes created an art installation with backdrops for the stage, large paintings and hanging porcelain sculptures. She also created a house that is only big enough to hold one person.

Baldwin played with the idea of being alone while creating the project. The dances she and Ocean Springs resident Katy Gaines perform were created independently of each other, and independently of music, which was later added by composer Billy Louviere of Louisiana.

One realization Baldwin wants people to take away from her show: "Dance is not a by-product of music. Dance can stand on its own," she said.

The end product is expected to deliver a unique personal experience to each viewer.

"It's a presentation of an experience and whatever the audience wants to take away from it. Every person might take away a different experience," she said. "If you accept the experience, pass through it and come out of it, it's healing and opens up dialogue to if you've ever felt alone and if you like being alone."

Each performance will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the artists.

Admission is $15 and tickets are available by phone at 818-2878 or at www.themaryc.org.

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