Inflatable Trio

by Lionel Popkin


Hello. I am Lionel Popkin. I have been working on the evening-length choreography Inflatable Trio in one-way or another since 2013. Now, four years on, we are about to finish it. The piece is a series of breath contests, deflations and people propping each other up. This piece arose from where I sit right now in my life. I have a nine-year old son and find myself questioning when to step in, when to back off and wrestling with when I need to step away to recalibrate my own internal compass. Inflatable Trio is a real departure for me. My last four works have all explicitly dealt with issues of cross-cultural identity and my own muti-ethnic position. While still maintaining the value of multiple perspectives that stems from my hybridized status, this project is more humanist in its approach, taking on the domestic realm with its individual complications and perhaps broader implications.

Inflatable Trio started with two movement ideas. One was looking at how we orient ourselves in space to other people, ourselves and the objects and debris that surrounds us. I was also thinking about how those things support us – or don’t support us. To unite these ideas, the invisible force of air took on extraordinary meaning. Air allows us be alive through our breathing, and the inflatable set finds structure as air inflates it. So in the dance the performers and the living room pieces get tossed and upended, and with the invisible force of air, in our bodies and buoying the furniture around us, the dance asks when is support enough, too much, or not enough? Put another way, if we arrange the furniture properly and everyone sits in the right place, will it all turn out ok?

Inflatable Trio will premiere February 23-25, 2017 (that is Thursday – Saturday) in Los Angeles at the Skirball Cultural Center where Mulholland meets the Sepulveda Pass. A month later, on Thursday March 16, 2017 it will tour to the brand new Wilson Center in Wilmington, NC. The Winter/Spring season of 2018 has a bunch of touring dates on the East Coast (I can give those details at a later date). Leading up to the February premiere, we have a technical residency for one-week in LA in December and a finishing residency for four days with the composer in his home base of Oberlin, OH.

We are planning on raising $8,000 with Hatchfund. The total project budget is just under $116,000 and we have already raised 108 of that through a combination of grants from the City of Santa Monica, the Council on Research at UCLA and through workshop and residency fees. This last eight thousand is the final push. If we exceed our goal and reach our stretch goal of twenty thousand then my artist collaborators will benefit and get paid more. People, artists, collaborators – the people whose ideas are all over this project – will get paid more. We also have a problem with the couch bursting, so I need money for repairs. A lot of repairs. I didn’t anticipate this need in the original budget, but apparently bubbles burst.

Thank you for taking the time to listen to this information. I hope you will support the project and perhaps even get a chance to see it in LA in February or in the future.



Here is the budget for the Hatch Fund monies 

Dancer Fees for Residency

        $1,000/ person x2 (I am the 3rd dancer)              $2,000

Final Payment for Lighting Designer                               $1,000

Final Payment for Costume Designer                             $1,000

Final Payment for Composer                                            $1,000

Final Payment for Video Designer                                   $1,000

Replacement couch (custom costs)                               $1,200

Perk Costs                                                                      $   800

TOTAL                                                                                                $8,000


If we over fund, I will divide the costs amongst the collaborators. I am not asking for any money for myself. How much more my collaborators will get depends on how much I raise here.




Match Funds are not currently available.

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