Dancers performing in 'Trashed'
Photo: Erika DuFour

For choreographers, finding inventive ways to fill the stage floor is a common challenge. But to convey mile-high heaps of garbage in their new piece, Trashed, premiering March 18, Winifred Haun and Australian circus artist Emma Serjeant needed to go vertical.

The concept began as a series of Skype conversations between Haun and Serjeant, who met after Haun visited a Sydney performance festival in 2015. The two would talk every other month, discussing news headlines in the hopes that one would spark an idea for an aerial dance work. Eventually, a story did: “The Lonely Death of George Bell,” an evocative, heartbreaking New York Times article about a man who died in his apartment surrounded by his hoarded possessions. “How does that happen?” says Haun. “Emma and I connected around how people have too much in their lives.”

That notion carries through in Trashed, which layers dancers on the stage and in the air to convey a feeling of claustrophobia. In one section, an acrobat suspended by straps hovers over a cluster of dancers to represent a mountain of junk. In another, performers walk on top of each other, as if traversing a sea of garbage. “I’d like people to reflect on the fact that we have this issue,” says Haun. “We all just need to slow down and become conscious.”

GO:Trashed runs March 18 at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. and March 19 at 4:30 p.m. at Aloft Loft, 3324 W. Wrightwood Ave. $30.