Performance: Blood, Sea

performed by Nicole Bindler & Julius Masri

Friday, June 23
Doors 7:30pm, performance at 8:00pm

Admission – sliding scale: $8–$18

Click here for advanced tickets



Blood, Sea is an improvised dance & music duo. The title is drawn from the writing of Italo Calvino. His short story Blood, Sea refers to the balance of salinity in our blood and in the ocean from which we humans evolved: “Bathed by the primordial wave which continues to flow in the arteries, our blood in fact has a chemical composition analogous to that of the sea of our origins.” As we evolved into terrestrial beings, we brought the sea inside of us onto land.

Nicole Bindler began the creation process in 2017 in collaboration with composer Julius Masri and students from Drexel University through the Ellen Forman Memorial Award. She further developed the work in 2018 with a cast of fifteen Philadelphia-based performers over a year-long rehearsal process during which they explored the organs and systems that contain or are impacted by blood, such as the endocrine and immune systems, and the liver, spleen, heart, etc. Nicole and Julius reunite five years later to perform their duo version of this work.

thINKingDANCE described the previous, large ensemble version of this piece: “The comma in the title carries a lot of weight; I will not witness a sea of blood (nor its dark connotations), but rather blood and sea as independent but intertwining entities. Although both words conjure fluidity, in this opening I am struck by the jerky quality of the dancers’ movements. In Bindler’s world, the aqueous is not tethered to the aesthetic qualities of smooth, slow, continuous, or sequential. The shaking is ceaseless, which allows my musings to multiply, especially around the embryonic, evolutionary, and blood-based language… The night’s live music is composed by Julius Masri, who tends to stick to the downstage corner and cause soundscapes to flow from electronic instruments I am unfamiliar with. In this particular moment, he plays a lone note that surfaces and… ripples.”

Nicole Bindler – dance-maker, Body-Mind Centering® practitioner, writer, and activist – has practiced contact improvisation for 25 years, and her work has been presented on four continents. Recent projects include curating an evening of Palestinian dance films at the Fidget Space; somatic research on the embryology of the genitalia from a non-binary perspective; and a solo dance, The Case for Invagination, in which her scars speak candidly about trauma and desire. She recently returned from a teaching tour that included CI workshops in the Pacific Northwest in Eugene and Seattle; a presentation at the Dance Studies Association Conference where she was a Conference Fellow; a residency and guest teaching with Sarah Gottlieb on fascia and scar tissue at the University of Roehampton London; a workshop called Embodying Neuroqueerness/Neuroqueering Embodiment at the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam; contact improvisation and consent consulting in the CI community in Leipzig; and a residency and workshop called Collectivity/Invagination co-taught with Camille Barton at Ponderosa. Upcoming engagements include co-editing a book, Jewish Arts and Somatics: Intersectional Practices, contributing an essay on the gonads to the to the Embryo Book Project, and producing CI workshops at the Whole Shebang in Philly for Nuria Bowart and Taja Will.

Julius Masri is a Philadelphia based multi instrumentalist, and performer/composer for the city’s dance community at large. Born in Tripoli, Lebanon, he moved to the States in 1990 and began drumming a year later. He studied with Philadelphia instructors Carl Mottola, Elaine Hoffman-Watts, and as an undergraduate at Bard College, with AACM’s Thurman Barker, Richard Teitelbaum, and Joan Tower. Julius plays drums, circuit modified Casio keyboards, Oud, Kamancheh (aka Rabab, Spike Fiddle), and various other instruments. He currently performs in groups such as grind/crust metal bands Night Raids, Nomad War Machine, free jazz groups Sirius Juju and Dromedaries, trombone and synth duo Superlith, and more. In 2021, he released a solo album “The Arabic Room” under the name of Mephisto Halabi. Julius is a recipient of a 2022 Yaddo Fellowship for composition, as well as the 2022 University of the Arts Creative Research and Innovation grant.