Andrea D. Juillerat
Reno, NV 89501
“Did you know sugar crystals come from space?” asks Andrea Daerice Juillerat, a Master of Fine Art candidate at the University of Nevada, Reno. She’s done her research on the subject. Her installation and performance series, Sugar Shrine Baptismal Candy Flower, is a study in enticement through nonverbal communication. But sugar in space?
Juillerat’s performance is staged in an all white environment standing in the center of Sierra Arts Gallery, with a Y-like structure overhead representing Glycolaldehyde, which is the simplest form of sugar molecule. It was identified in a cloud of gas and dust near the center of the Milky Way galaxy.
Juillerat knows her sugar, and she also knows the power of its charm.
The dress she wears for her performance “Candy Flower”—the Sugar Dress—is constructed from 350 yards of fabric and flows across the floor of the room, up the walls, shrouds the Y shaped sugar structure overhead, then continues its flow out onto the gallery’s cement floor. The dancer wields a tray of white sugar cookies to lure dance partners, who are usually trepid to interact with her.
From Juillerat’s artist’s statement: “My physical explorations are influenced by Japanese Butoh dance, the non-verbal communication techniques of American Sign Language and improvisational movements from modern dance. These efforts amount to a culmination of body-based modes of expression for describing emotion and sound.”
Juillerat’s training in Butoh sounds less like ballet and more like ninja training.
“We went one day blind-folded, all day, and another day we had to move backwards at all times over terrain,” she says. The instruction in this art form led to her understanding of a natural rhythm and bodily expression in every step people inhabit in their daily lives and interactions.
It’s not ironic that Juillerat is a professional sign language interpreter. Her play of unspoken enticement with the crowd is overwhelming and sometimes awkward but always played in a very personal way. Those not willing to engage with the dancer leave her brokenhearted, and she doesn’t hesitate to emote that feeling like a mime.
In the gallery environment during her first appearance, mingling was not discouraged and a grand piano was played by local musician Bill Quinby, giving a cocktail party atmosphere reminiscent of a silent movie feel to the whole scene. Everyone stood and watched while conversing, one by one getting inducted into Juillerat’s play of emotion and physical involvement.
A projection on an adjacent wall caught participants’ reactions and put them on display for the audience. When I danced with her, I noticed the tiny camera lens, hidden within the feathers above the dancer’s face. Embarrassingly, I had forgotten about the large screen, only to remember after the dance that everyone saw everything. I had felt pulled in by this woman’s mesmerizing allure and now everyone knows, I thought.
Dec. 11 is the show’s closing night. Juillerat will present another performance, called “Death by Sugar,” in which the performer will eat sweets fed to her by public participants.
Her performances are about taking us out of our comfort zone and putting on display the theater of human affection, without words, but with sugar.