Arts & Culture

Multi-Media Performance Aims To Depict Experience As An Alzheimer’s Patient

Two Houston performers are hoping to bring a sense of empathy for those struggling with the disease through dance and music.

Jennifer Mabus
Jennifer Mabus, co-creator and choreographer for “Fading.”
Jennifer Mabus and Lynn Lane
Jennifer Mabus and Lynn Lane, co-creators of the multi-media production, “Fading.”

Barefoot and wearing a long, simple dress, Jennifer Mabus stands motionless with a blank stare. She’s in a gallery space inside the Center for Contemporary Craft in Houston’s Museum District. The room is dark, with the exception of blue and amber lights that project her shadow onto the walls. As the intensity of the music increases, so do her movements.

This is Mabus’ dance interpretation of what it’s like to have Alzheimer’s. The inspiration came from watching her grandmother’s struggle with the disease. At some points in the dance, she repeats the same movement a few times in a row.

“I started out with some ideas of repetition because of the ways that my grandmother would have a thought, continue on, then the same thought (with the) same exact inflection.” Mabus explains.

It’s a collaboration with multi-media artist Lynn Lane, who provides a haunting soundscape through electronic music. Along with weaving in recorded snippets of Mabus’ grandmother speaking, there are also faint sounds of whispering.

“That whispering to me is like her memory whispering,” Lane says. “But it’s also the sounds that she’ll hear (of) other people talking around her and that disconnection that happens.”

The performance is part of a larger exhibition at the Center for Contemporary Craft titled, A View Within, on display through September 3rd.

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