​Up Late: A Conversation with Shandoah Goldman of Carte Blanche Performance

On July 21, as part of Friends of the High Line's first-ever Up Late event on the High Line, we're inviting visitors to roam the park after-hours and be transported as dancers, musicians, and visual artists illuminate the park with participatory performances, installations, and a world of hidden surprises.

Leading up to the event, we'll be sitting down with each artist contributing to the Up Late line-up to discuss what makes this event so unique—and why people shouldn't miss it. Be sure to check back here for more exclusive Q&As with Up Late artists.

Photo by Carlos David.

Brooklyn-based contemporary performance company Carte Blanche Performance is constantly pushing the envelope and surprising their audience with their avant-garde flair and site-specific works. They are led by Shandoah Goldman, an imaginative, free-spirited choreographer who guides her works by the notion that, in her words, "anything is possible." She is joined by costume designer Asa Thornton, who has been dreaming up and creating the whimsical costumes for Carte Blanche since 2012. Together, they have created Ox Prowl, a glowing performance that she hopes will spark curiosity and wonder during Up Late on the High Line.

Shandoah let us in on what to expect from Ox Prowl:

Tell us a little bit about what you have planned for Up Late. What do you want attendees to take away from your work?

Visitors can expect a performance that lasts the duration of Up Late—a two-hour, ongoing, unique performance. They can expect to see performers spread out throughout the entirely of the event space in various places. There will be 12 different performers roaming around, and then people will see them come together for a couple of culminated group performances at the 10th Avenue Square. I hope that attendees will take away an element of wonder. Also, I want the performance to provide visitors with an invitation to consider their animal nature as it relates to the Chinese Zodiac. That's what the piece is based on.

Goldman and Thornton (right) with Carte Blanche Performance for their first High Line rehearsal.

What makes the High Line as a venue unique or challenging to your work?

My choreographic practice is centered around making site-specific work, and the High Line is one of my favorite spots in the city. It's exciting because it's a public space that's contained, so once you walk up the stairs you're part of a linear landscape that people can peer into from above and below. I like the mix of urban and rural, which offers a great context. It's exciting to incorporate historical elements of the location and the history of the Meatpacking District with my surreal representations of animals. The current pastoral context still relates to grazing, but in a much different way than what used to occur.

It's also challenging because we're using a large portion of the High Line. I love working with big groups of performers and look forward to the task of connecting the performers through the vastness of the space.

How does your work speak to the New York community?

The New York community is currently excited about immersive performance. They want to be close and interact with the performance, and my piece allows for that. Up Late visitors will be up-close to the work via the nature of the location, as well as have opportunities to interact with the performers and join their world. New Yorkers love taking photographs, and since the piece is highly visual I imagine it will ignite some desire to document. I even saw someone taking a selfie with one of the performers in the background during rehearsal.

Come see Carte Blanche Performance, among many other artists who will be lighting up the night, on Thursday, July 21 on the High Line from Gansevoort to West 18th Streets from 10:00 PM to 12:00 AM.

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