“I’M DOWN” @ Downtown Santa Monica

Photos by Maria Martin

If you’ve been walking around Santa Monica lately, you may have noticed people dancing in unusual places — on the steps of downtown Santa Monica’s Metro station, on the Expo Line’s adjacent bike path, in Tongva Park or by the Santa Monica Pier.

So what was that about?

These pop-up performances were part of choreographer Brendan Fernandes’ “I’M DOWN,” a series of site-specific dances developed through an 18th Street Arts Center residency program exploring gentrification in the Pico neighborhood of Santa Monica.

The last performance on Friday began on the bike path behind 18th Street Arts and, via Metro rail, made its way to the esplanade connecting the downtown Metro station to the pier.

Onlookers expressed curiosity as well as confusion, observed dancer Barry Brannum.

“It was a combination of interactions amongst ourselves, the space and the people around the space,” Brannum said, describing how the group of dancers mimicked the movements of passersby, pretended to be riding or waiting for a train, and reconfigured themselves into various geometric formations along the route. But some viewers/commuters “weren’t too bothered” by their presence, he added.

Just another day in the artistic life of Santa Monica.

— Christina Campodonico

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