6' led by Artistic Director Toni Leago Valle presented Cocoon and excerpts from her evening-length work, CRACKED.
Based on Valle’s experience in motherhood, Cocoon traces the process of letting go of children from the moment of conception to young adulthood. Cocoon features three real-life mother-child duets, the first being Jenny Dodson and her unborn son, Pierce. “Section one deals literally with the idea that a separate being is inside you, waiting for the day of his release from your body. There is so much fear and anticipation during pregnancy and the very first thing you have to do with this baby is let it go – literally out of your protected body into the noisy world,” Valle states. This section was choreographed strictly for film, as Dodson was due in December and the show was not until May. “Jenny had a fabulous 3-D ultrasound film of Pierce. Once she showed it to me, I knew I had to use it in the film. I could not keep my eyes of this baby that had tiny fingers and toes, facial features, and was even sucking his thumb – all in her womb.”
Cocoon also features Stephanie Henderson and her 8-year-old daughter, Sonia Rodriguez. Set to music by Led Zepplin, Stephanie and Sonia create the world of young motherhood, with its endless fatigue (mother), unbound energy (child), and the rubber band relationship of a child that pulls away from the comfort of mother the moment she can walk, only to snap back to her side again and again.
Section three is the last process of letting go. Danced by real-life mother-daughter team, Joani Trevino and Cecila Sotomayor, section three is the revolving circle of motherhood – the act of mirroring one another in an attempt to learn, understand, and give in to one another’s needs as the relationship evolves from mother-child to two independent women. It is the act of mother preparing her daughter for adulthood.
Valle will as presents Interview for a Date and I Take My Clothes Off, two excerpts from her autobiographical concert, CRACKED.
CRACKED gives multiple experiences through one central character (Valle) in order to broaden people’s awareness of their environment, in this case, women’s survival skills and the perception of self in our current society. Ironic and disturbing, “Interview for a Date,” is a close-up video of Valle being critiqued for her dating experience, motherhood skills, and social expectations. When asked what she excels in, she blurts, “Sex! I’m really good at sex!”
Other moments are haunting yet familiar, like Valle critiquing her body in front of the mirror. She tears each flaw apart as if she were on auction, while the audience watches the pain of what every woman does in the privacy of her own room.
However, CRACKED has a positive message: Valle’s honest, silly, and often hard-to-watch experiences reveal that its time to shed these outdated restrictions and ideals, even if its one woman at a time. “I want to share how I found my own voice – not a declaration to the world that I am breaking free - but a quiet whisper from within to embrace my Body, my Past and a Sense of Living.”