Monday, February 9, 2009


a film by Rae Shao-Lan Blum in collaboration with Pooh Kaye, explores the nakedness of a triumphant character dropped from the stage unarmed into wilderness, a setting that forces open her psychology in natural light.

Dance Camera West
June 6th at 6pm

Monday, January 19, 2009

Without Risk of Excessive Loss

a performance installation of video, movement, spoken word and sound
in collaboration with artists Elizabeth Leister and Steve Roden
premiered at Beyond Baroque in Venice, CA 2007

Without Risk of Excessive Loss

Choreographer Rae Shao-Lan Blum, visual artist Elizabeth Leister and sound artist Steve Roden collaborate in what is an evening length performance installation. The multi-layered performance explores the complex connectivity between evolution, global warming, the human condition and the human footprint.

Without Risk of Excessive Loss, the title is taken from a scientific text on desert plant photosynthesis focuses on the question “as inhabitants of a desert climate, what might we learn about conservation by observing desert ecosystems and how other inhabitants manage to thrive in their conditions?” as its theme.

The piece addresses what we leave behind- the human trace. Plastic bags are a constant presence. They get scattered about the stage, transported by the performers, compressed, bulked up, cradled into the body, thrown about recklessly and stuffed into receptacles that are too small to hold all there is. The plastic bags represent what will remain when we, the human race, are long gone.

One performer talks about the evolution from the ocean to life on land and about coral reefs being the remnants of ancient sea creatures. She talks about biodegradability and the man-made transformation from crude oil to plastic. She becomes the currents of the major seas and the collection of floating trash at the center of each oceanic maelstrom.

The text is sourced from a range of scientific data and provides one layer within the dynamic stream of multimedia. A video projection of a desert location provides the context of a setting, which interacts with the live action on stage. For the duration of the piece, an artist stands at a papered wall upon which the projection is being cast. On this paper, she etches a charcoal drawing of the landscape over the projected landscape.

Steve Roden’s original score provides an environment of sounds that range from melodic drones of human voices to staccato sound layers of electric static. At the end of the piece, the artist steps back from the wall and advances downstage. Dancers retreat, moving in slow-motion unison into the drawing. The light of the projection fades out to reveal remnants of the artist’s drawing and the shadow forms of the moving bodies superimposed.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Constellation No. 1

A little blurry, but it works as an impressionistic piece.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Take Class with Rae

contemporary dance class

Floor work fosters our connection to gravity and we bring that rootedness to various levels of space- playing within the intricacies of wildness and precision, fluidity and form, subtlety and bigness. Phrase work challenges us to engage mid-line support, coordination, musicality, spatial intention and balance. We will focus on buoyancy and articulation of joints to allow for more fluidly, greater expressive range, efficiency and ease in our dancing. The style of the class draws on influences from modern dance forms, release, tai-chi, improvisation, and somatic movement.

thursday nights
from january - april
starting january 8th
7:30-9:30 pm
offered by donation

location: dance arts academy 731 South La Brea Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90036 (310) 932-6230

Rae Shao-Lan Blum earned a Certificate of Dance from the Alvin Ailey School in 1998. Her early training included Ballet, Horton and Graham techniques, and later, studies at the Limon Institute and Movement Research. Rae danced in the companies of Susan Marshall, Janis Brenner, Tanz Theater Darmstadt and Laura Glenn. Meanwhile, she choreographed and performed her own work in and around New York City. She relocated to Los Angeles three years ago. In addition to choreographing and performing, she has a healing bodywork practice. Somatic movement, tai chi and qi gong, studies in human anatomy, massage and craniosacral work all inform her as a dancer and teacher of dance. Inquiries about the class can be sent directly to Rae at

Wintering (draft, excerpt)

An installation of video and live performance

Choreography, video and performance: Rae Shao-Lan Blum
Music: David Darling
Video: Rae Shao-Lan Blum

She is inseparable from what surrounds her. In the padding of her thick coat, she winters. Her muted signals are larger than life. Her tiny silhouette trapses across a road or a field far, far away...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ice Bergs

Ice Bergs is an improvisation practice I have been tending to with Simone Forti for a couple of years now. It is somehow magical what unfolds in the discipline of our practice, which asks us to listen to each other, the space, the subtleties of every moment and sense everything to the point that sensing itself decides the action. The name 'Ice Bergs' followed after a couple years of cultivating this practice in the discovery of what we were already doing/experiencing.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Everybody is Everywhere and Nowhere- Elizabeth Leister's exhibition

In the summer of 2006 I spent a few consecutive days performing a live drawing as part of her Elizabeth Leister's exhibition "Every Body is Everywhere and Nowhere" at the Academy of the Fine Arts in Philly, PA. See

The action I performed was a daily ritual of tracing the outline of my body onto a papered wall, but first erasing the outline which I traced the prior day. There was a camera continuously fixed on the wall while I performed the drawing and it remained on throughout the day, broadcasting the image to the gallery space. What I’ve written is a documentation of my experience.

"I am Everywhere and Nowhere"

Down on my knees, rubbing eraser over the etching of a figure. My figure? My attempt to capture myself in a moment the day before. I do not recognize myself.

As I erase I recall the labor of yesterday’s particular pose.
I see it in the inconsistency of the line and the distortion of my shape. It is at once primitive and surreal.
I’m erasing my image. Preparing to try and capture it again.

It’s a foggy morning in Topanga. I’ve locked the dogs out. No one is in the room but me. And a camera, a one eyed witness who feeds my every move through imaginary circuits in cyber space to an imaginary gallery a few thousand miles away…. people may or may not be watching. This is altered performance.

The act of erasing leaves indellable marks.
Rubs the charcoal into the paper.
Lifts surface dust and imprints a deeper layer.
The eraser also makes its own marks along the etching. Grayish streaks create shadows and accent the original stoke, make it three-dimensional.
Erasing softens the line, renders an impression.
Moves the former image to the distance, gives up the foreground for a new.
Creates depth, sends it off in time.
Erasing leaves a trace.

While I work vigorously to erase my image, there is no erasure erasing me doing this.
I am witnessed by the camera’s eye all the time and it demands my physical diligence. For what I do will be encoded in the memory of all who see it and will not be erased tomorrow morning.
I keep erasing. Trading the work off right and left. My posture contorting to follow the line. It is satisfying.
Like in meditation my mind trails off into thoughts beyond the task, transporting me somehow until lassoed back.
I realize that for some minutes I’ve been in the setting of a daydream. Gone to fantasy. Housed somewhere in the eye of my brain.
While absent, I erased a good chunk of myself.

The task of drawing my body is too involved to think- for the most part I’m merely engaged in the physicality of what I’m doing. My posture contorting to follow the line- of me.

I retained some moments in sense-memory.
Dogs meandering about outside while two people bark in argument upstairs.
Music faintly coming through the walls but not disturbing the sound of privacy in the drawing room.
The silence of being watched from afar while hearing my body press into the paper.
The pencil going over strands of my hair and waves of perfectionism sending it back.
Trying to trace every inch of me and the impossibility of the task.
Feeling the steady effort of my hand and the teetering of my balance.
The demand of the task overriding performing and the qualitative shift of forgetting I am watched.
Being done and stepping back out of sight, beside the eye of the camera.

Rae Shao-Lan Blum
Topanga Canyon, CA