If You Could Swallow The Sun dance performance choreographed by Omar Román De Jesús. Dancers of the Paul Taylor Dance Company - Photo by Ron Thiele.

If You Could Swallow The Sun dance performance choreographed by Omar Román De Jesús. Dancers of the Paul Taylor Dance Company – All photos by Ron Thiele.

Design – Performed by the famed Paul Taylor Dance Company, ‘If You Could Swallow The Sun’ is a dance performance choreographed by Omar Román De Jesús, artstic director of his own dance company Boca Tuya. The piece is a hymn to personal growth as a construction process. “We build our lives from the raw materials of experience. If You Could Swallow the Sun seeks to honor all parts of this lifelong construction project. It is ceaseless work, adapting ourselves from the inside out and building a life upward toward the sky.”

If You Could Swallow The Sun dance performance choreographed by Omar Román De Jesús. John Harnagage dancing - Photo by Ron Thiele.

John Harnagage dancing.

During the performance, dancers moved, folded, and unfolded flexible paper walls to create “surreal and emotional scenes,” Omar Román De Jesús explains. The choreographer used Paper Softwalls by Molo, an innovative Vancouver-based company that produces paper room dividers, lighting designs, and furniture.

If You Could Swallow The Sun dance performance choreographed by Omar Román De Jesús. Dancers of the Paul Taylor Dance Company - Photo by Ron Thiele.

Designed by Molo co-founders Stephanie Forsythe and Todd MacAllen, the lightweight freestanding partitions are made from layers of paper structured with flexible honeycomb geometry, which allows them to be shaped in any curved or linear formation. Each unit can be combined as a modular system to create more extended partitions and immersive, sculptural installations.

While creating the choreography, Omar Román De Jesús spent hours working with the paper walls. “What if I put this piece with this one? How does that juxtaposition make me feel? Little by little, you start to see it. Maybe there’s a bit of narrative going on: How can I expand that? And how abstract do I want to keep this?

If You Could Swallow The Sun dance performance choreographed by Omar Román De Jesús. John Harnagage dancing - Photo by Ron Thiele.

John Harnagage dancing.

As part of the queer community, De Jesús sought a stage solution paying homage to adaptability and the search for liberation. “I can configure and reconfigure spaces, I can create doors and windows, to create an abstract world, where the audience is invited to dream with us,” De Jesús explained.”

If You Could Swallow The Sun dance performance choreographed by Omar Román De Jesús. John Harnagage and Austin Kelly dancing - Photo by Ron Thiele.

Dancers John Harnagage and Austin Kelly.

The show debuted last year at the Annenberg Center in Philadelphia. Jim Ingalls and Jesse And For Ever created the lighting design and music.

  • Photos of the ‘If You Could Swallow The Sun’ dance performance are by Ron Thiele.
If You Could Swallow The Sun dance performance choreographed by Omar Román De Jesús. Austin Kelly, Shawn Lesniak and Company dancing - Photo by Ron Thiele.

Austin Kelly, Shawn Lesniak and Company dancing.