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In this new play by UNC graduate student Christopher Dahlie, a contemporary retro-night DJ muses on the popular culture of which he is custodian.


This performance asks why the past cannot stay in the past, and how it can become all too present, an infinite ritual, a party without end …


Infinite Loop Poster



DJs, from the biggest players in Ibiza to the smallest runners of an iPod in a basement, let
their music speak for them. Rarely do they describe who they are, where they come from,
why they play what they play, or what lies beneath their dance floors. Infinite Loop,
written and performed by Christopher Dahlie, a PhD student in UNC’s Department of
Communication and former DJ, explores the celebratory and nostalgic ritual of a retrothemed
Originally developed in Joseph Megel’s Performance Practicum Seminar, Infinite Loop
examines the power of retro dance floor hits in bringing people together. “While WXYC
was still promoting 80s nights at Cat’s Cradle, something struck me as quite strange,”
says creator and performer Christopher Dahlie. “Why was the same 80s playlist I and
others had curated still being largely adhered to on these retro nights? What explains the
staying power of this music and retro nights in general?” With the help of Megel and the
rest of the seminar participants, Dahlie framed the nights in terms of a ritual in which the
DJ guards a kind of sacred text in the playlist. “Old pop acts still get people who are now
middle-aged and senior citizens dancing in the aisles. In its own way, this is a kind of
ritual: people dancing to evoke spirits and memories of the past. Retro nights remind me
of the chilling line an old ghost in ‘The Shining’ utters to the living heroine trying
desperately to escape: ‘Great party, isn’t it?’”
“Working with Chris has been a unique performance creation experience for me.” says
Joseph Megel, director of Infinite Loop. “Entering Dahlie’s dance club world is like
immersing oneself in any one of a number of circles of hell, scored by 80s dance
music. Dahlie paints his social critique in words, music, and image. As the DJ who
controls the soundscape of this world, he leads us on something like what a sentimental
journey might look like as curated by Beckett or Kafka.”
About the Artists
Immediately after college graduation, Communication PhD student Christopher Dahlie
was handed the DJ booth for the retro/80s night he had grown up attending. He curated
this weekly night every summer from 1999 to 2007. Dahlie still works as the head sound
engineer of Chautauqua Amphitheater in the summer, often overseeing performances of
older nostalgia acts such as the Beach Boys and the Doo Wop Experience. With training
in multiple instruments, singing, and audio engineering, plus an encyclopedic knowledge
of hits and obscure dance floor gems, Dahlie’s background has well served the creation of
this character.

Dahlie brings his wife, Roz Fulton, to the project as video and lighting designer. Fulton,
a child of the 80s herself, brings years of experience as a lighting technician in New York
City clubs to the work. She will largely be responsible for setting the backdrop against
which the story is told. The visuals will also historicize this specific event in a larger
context of dances and parties over time.

Press Contacts: Joseph Megel | 919-843-7067 |
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