Taking an artistic troupe on the road is not all ovations and autographs.

A local modern dance company, Malashock Dance, is working on a piece called “The Floating World” that tells the story of a dance company on tour. The scenes narrate touring, performing, aches and pains, endless airplane rides, receptions, little interactions between dancers and director and other pieces that go into a tour for a dance company, artistic director John Malashock told me yesterday.

What piqued my interest was that Malashock teamed up with a few different artists to make the piece, including Zoe Keating, costumier Zandra Rhodes and video and projection artist Tara Knight. The piece ties in to Japanese woodblock prints currently on display at the San Diego Museum of Art and will be performed there in April.

I’ve checked out a couple of afternoon rehearsals at Malashock’s studio in Liberty Station and will shared more on NBC San Diego this afternoon about the company’s upcoming production. (Update: See clip at the bottom of this post.)

The woodblock prints in the museum exhibition are a type called “ukiyo-e” or “pictures of the floating world.” This description from the museum ties the subject of the historical prints to the modern idea of a dance company tour:

Derived from the Buddhist term for the impermanent world (yo) of everyday life that inevitably “floats” (uki) away, Ukiyo-e refers to woodblock prints and paintings that depict the people and places associated with the pleasures of this world.

Knight, the video artist, will be integrating some of the woodblock designs into her videos, which will be projected on four screens on each side of the audience. The piece will be presented in the round, meaning the audience will surround the dancers, in a gallery at the museum.

Here’s our clip from NBC San Diego on Friday:

View more videos at: http://www.nbcsandiego.com.

And Sam Hodgson joined me for a rehearsal a couple of weeks ago; here are some more images of the Malashock company rehearsing this piece:

I’m the arts editor for VOSD. Please contact me directly at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0531 and follow me on Twitter: @kellyrbennett.

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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