Through March 15
Endless Gestures of Goodwill is Sheldon B. Smith and Lisa Wymore’s attempt at creating a never-ending folk dance, one that’s not identifiably derived from any one tradition. Wymore is an associate professor of dance and director of the dance program at UC Berkeley, and Smith is an associate professor at Mills. To create the piece, the two used custom-made software to compile 250 short clips of quick gestures reminiscent of various folk dances being performed. The movements don’t flow into one another with total smoothness, but they evoke a sense of continuity — a movement that never stops, as the video loops. The two-channel piece is projected onto two wall-sized white slabs that have been erected at the back of the Mills College Art Museum (5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland), with a shadowy gap between them. Prompted by a motion sensor, the figures on each slab begin to dance as the viewer enters the space. Although the two never touch or interact, they appear to be dancing together, conversing in a kind of gestural language that avoids showing roots in one cultural legacy, but represents a universally relatable sense of momentum through movement.