Today I had the pleasure of experiencing my first curated performance. When asked by Catherine Tharin to curate a 92Y Fridays at Noon, I immediately knew that I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight artists who work with the audience performer relationship as a key element of their investigation. Soon after, I asked both Yanira Castro and Sarah Maxfield to share the program with me (as part of the guest curator program at the Y the curator must also show work). I have followed both of these women’s work for several years, and I could not be more grateful that they accepted my invitation.
Today, audience members experienced three distinctly different but connected performances. The afternoon began with Yanira’s Wilderness: a paradis, a new work that is a companion piece to Wilderness presented by Dance Theater Workshop at The Invisible Dog Art Center this past fall. With most of the audience gathered in a corner of the room, Yanira’s dancers approached, weaving through audience members with movement ranging from quiet and intricate to large and bold. The phrasing flooded forward towards the audience and retreated like waves of energy washing through the space. Towards the end a few audience members were directly asked to follow individual performers to a new location and to watch them specifically. Quietly a song began. The work ended with an audience member sharing an apple with a performer. It was the perfect opening sequence, asking the audience to give focus, take control of their own viewing experience, and risk a certain degree of comfort.
Next, Sarah Maxfield presented We deserve each other, a new work to be premiered at The Chocolate Factory in March. For several months now, Sarah has been creating solos dedicated to ,and inspired by, members of her community. Growing out of that project, We deserve each other is, as Ms. Tharin put it, “a Valentine” to the performing arts community. More theatrical in nature, the piece referenced several performances (Heather Kravas to Ishmael Houston Jones to Karen Finley…) and performance venues (Performance Space 122, Danspace Project, La Mamma…). Bringing all in the room, regardless of their performance experience, into her world where artistic expression is sharing an environment, a moment in time. We ate black and white cookies, thought of our first city experiences, and remembered performances that reverberated through the field. It was poignant without being sappy. It was genuine.
I will leave it to some one else to speak about my work, but I will say that I was proud of each of my dancers. Alli, Kendra, Meg, Michael, and Tara each performed beautifully, giving pieces of themselves to the audience and guiding us into the heart of the work.
It was a great day.
This past Sunday I had the honor of inaugurating a new online video dane relay curated by Sarah Maxfield and created and performed at Gibney Dance Center. The program includes one six hour residency and one (“one-shot”) filming.
The resulting video is online here.
Please join the comments and let me know what you think.
Once again our creative residency in Princeton, NJ was a success. We worked hard, relaxed, and received excellent feedback on our new work-in-progress. I can not thank our gracious hosts enough. As always they were beyond hospitable, and everyone felt completely at home.
At the end of the residency, we showed around 30 minutes of work varying from quiet duets to busy quintets full of texture and counterpoint. At first, I was concerned that the heart of the work was still missing. I was glad to hear during our feedback, that the audience had connected with the piece ,and that while it still needs some editing and clarification, it’s core is clear.
During our next few rehearsals we will focus on adding onto sections that resonated with the audience including a duet between Michael and Tara. We will continue to dig deeper into the layering of the work, ensuring that crucial moments can be seen and that the loose nature of the piece works for us, and not against us. I am delighted with what we have created. And am extremely pleased to hear how audiences are receiving the work. I can’t wait for our next showing.
The performances in Indiana were amazing. Audrey, Jamie, and Kristen all performed beautifully and the audience was receptive. I honestly could not have asked for a better run. During the last performance I sat by myself in the back, and watched in wonder as three new women guided the audience through the journey that is No Where. Each of them owned their role, and even in the larger space the integrity of the performance penetrated. It feels completely satisfying to put that dance away again knowing that we can reproduce it in this fairly low cost but powerful way. I can not thank my good friend Debi enough for making this residency and performance experience possible. Without her, No Where would not have had a second life. Thank you.
On February 26th ten people came to our first open rehearsal. The weight of 20 new eyes watching the dance gave me new perspective. The feedback provided insight into what was working and what I could let go. Since then we have have been plowing ahead with small but significant changes to the order, quality of movement, and length of certain sections. This past Thursday we ran it with all of the new tweaks, and presto, breakthrough. The piece is clearer, stronger, and more efficient.
Next week I am planning to add on. To build on top of the stronger base. The two main tasks we have in front of us now are 1. to extend the dramatic arch of the entire piece and 2. to create a strong ending. Next week we will start by extending the section with the highest intensity.
I am most concerned with the ending. There are several ways it could go. But finding the one, the one that will do the rest of piece justice, that is the one I want to find. Endings tend to be elusive. They take their time, and then slowly reveal themselves. With nine weeks to go to show week we will certainly find it.
I just finished this promo reel for …within us. and I would love to know what people think before I send it to the venue. So have at it my few but loyal blog readers….