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  • Writer's picturescott kim


SYMMETRY. 180 degree rotation. Turn this design upside down and it reads the same both ways.

INSPIRATION. Created for a performance by the Dr. Schaffer and Mr. Stern Dance Ensemble, February 28, at the Performing Arts Center of the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.

STORY. Drawing is not something you usually think of doing on stage, but I have always enjoyed the drama of creating inversions for people while they watch. So when Karl Schaffer, Erik Stern and I choreographed the show The Secret Life of Squares, we decided to turn inversions into one of the acts.

I start by holding up signs with common invertible words: E turns into M, MOM turns upside down into WOW and NOON turns into itself. Then I show a few original inversions, usually including the name of the city in which we are performing. Finally I take a name from the audience and draw it as an inversion on the spot.

At the end of February we performed at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. "San Luis Obispo" proved to be particularly challenging. I considered opting out and inverting some other name like "California" or "Cal Poly". In the end I decided to persist. and eventually found this solution. S into O worked well enough, but running the N into the L was quite a desperate trick. A into P is a familiar combination, but I usually avoid it because it isn't very strong. And UI into B runs the risk of "San Luis Ohispo".

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