Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Choreography Showcase this Saturday at the ICA/Boston by Kelley Donovan

I’ve been out in Concord most of this month developing a new piece and learning lots of new things, I have created a multimedia project with video artist John Slepian.  We will perform the work in a Choreographers’ Project Showcase, Featuring New Work by Edisa Weeks and Choreography Fellows, Kelley Donovan, Adele Meyers, and Tennille Lambert on Saturday, 07/30/2011 at 03:30pm Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater at the ICA/Boston.

A showcase of new work developed by Choreographers’ Project fellows--myself, Adele Meyers and Tennille Lambert--and featuring an original piece by Edisa Weeks, performed by Summer Stages Workshop participants. 30 amazing dancers!

Here is a clip of a bit of rehearsal from Saturday:

I’ve been able to work with 8 talented dancers in the program as well as Laura Murphy and Nordica Houlton who have been a big help to develop this piece. I hope you can come see the final product. The dancers create the sound score for the piece as they move!   via John’s video technology.  Earlier David Parker will perform at noon which is free family event see info below:

John has been great to work with!  here is a bit more about him:
John Slepian’s artwork has been shown at P.S.1/MoMA and Hunter College Art Galleries in New York, the Exploratorium in San Francisco, Axiom Gallery and the Boston Center for the Arts in Boston, and elsewhere in U.S and Canada . He exhibits with the Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco. In 2002, he received the New Langton Arts Bay Area Award. He was a resident in the P.S.1 National Studio Program in 2002-2003, and in 2005-2006 was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts grant in Computer Arts. Slepian is an Assistant Professor of Art and Technology at Hampshire and Smith Colleges in Western Massachusetts. www.johnslep.net

Our mentors, Richard Colton, David Parker and Danny McCusker have been great, visiting rehearsals often and giveing us advise at every stage of the development of the pieces. David Parker & The Bang Group Backward and in Heels Saturday July 30, 12 p Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater, ICA/Boston Free tickets will be available on the day of the event only. Space is limited; first come, first served. Co-presented with the ICA as part of their monthly Family Programs.
“[The] Bang Group is a dance company dedicated above all things to the sheer joy of dancing. With witty allusions to everything from Swan Lake to A Chorus Line…everyone up there is revelling in the sheer fun of movement, and that joy is irresistible.” – theatreguide.london A suite of dances displaying The Bang Group’s trademark rhythm and humor. Choreographer David Parker and his dancers will open up their process and show how they build humor out of rhythm and predicament using Velcro costumes, bubble-wrap, Chinese take-out, elbow grease, their voices and their own eight feet. A touchstone for the performance will be Slapstuck, Parker’s award-winning dance for two men in Velcro costumes which has earned an iconic place in The Bang Group’s repertory and will be danced by its original cast: Parker and Jeffrey Kazin. There will be, in addition to the performances from repertory, an interactive exploration of the company’s improvisational work, wide-ranging use of percussive dance forms and how they generate kinetic wit.

It should be a fun day all around!  Hope you can join us!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Lucky" (working title) - Tennille Lambert, 2011 Choreographers' Fellow

A very full first week of rehearsals has past.  I am sensing that a center of the material has been found and I am beginning to understand how each of the performers relate to one another as well as behave in the environment of the work itself.

Upon arrival to Summer Stages, I didn't have an exact concept which would stimulate the piece that I would be creating or set phrases for the dancers to perform.  Rather, I wanted to find the tonal premise of the work through examining improvisations which were explored by the dancers, and asking each of them questions in an effort to observe how they interacted with each other and the emergent environment that was created.  The performers were open and generous with my process which may have at first seemed uncomfortably new and risky.  By the end of the first week we found a few interesting ideas/concepts/themes and formed them into two sections.

Here is some of what arose in the group explorations which we have taken into more critical building place:

-The misplacement of people/objects - constant shifting
-Wanting to find the right place for self and objects
-Fragmentation of individual time lines
-How people can occupy the same space but be completely disconnected from one other

In the first section, I extracted a few actions from "1/4" Canyon Scale" a work that I created in 2004 and recently reset.  Therefore, I sense the new work may be a partner piece to "Canyon" and am interested in seeing how it individuates itself throughout the rest of the process.…  We are definitely having a dance making adventure - insect repellent required!

Monday, July 18, 2011

ideas in the raw (week one at summer stages) by Adele Myers, 2011 Choreographers' Project Fellow

Part I: this dance is what you see (CPF project)

Part II: a new work (Adele Myers and Dancers)
Part I:
This Dance Is What You See

I am simply interested in people dancing as if each moment were a sequence of events experienced with heightened awareness. Whatever that conjures is what it will become. Of course the sound, clothes, and environment etc. will frame what happens which is why the working title is: This Dance is What You See.

It is the chemistry of the group that dictates the work for me. I am simply a movement curator and perhaps a curator of chemistry between the eleven people I am working with at Summer Stages.  I don't second-guess my instincts at this point. I use my intuition to make pairings and compositional choices about what happens when. I'll question and analyze later, maybe.

We are playing with being in control of being out of control. And we are playing with being individuals in a group.  And about running fast and then taking time. It is not about that but it is that.

There is not much more I want to say about this process yet other than to say with all sincerity that the chemistry of this group and each person and how they move seriously rocks my world twice.

Part II: A New Work

I am working as a choreographer and director on a new collaborative project with a filmmaker, a writer, a composer and a dramaturg around the theme of falling or flying.  We are working toward coexisting in time and space for 60-minutes or so without making it adance-o-centric performance.  We’ll see.  During the month of July(now), all of the collaborators will individually create seeds of ideas that wewill share with one another in August during an intensive week in NYC.  We’ll see what sparks and develop fromthere over the next 18 months until the work premieres. 

So far at Summer Stages I have been working in the Scout House experimenting withcreating visual, kinetic and sonic experiences that evoke for theviewer/listener a physical sensation of anticipation of almost…something. Teasing that threshold. So far, this is an “exercise” in abstraction, notso much an investigation of conceptual ideas or emotional states.

Words that frame this project:





A Task For You:

Above are two pictures.  What do you see?  Roland Barthes writes about the “punctum” in his book Camera Lucida.  The punctum is a specific part of the picture that pierces you, draws your eye. What is the punctum for you in these pictures?  (Can you let me know in person?)

I also use the idea of the punctum to help me discover and edit in the choreographic process.  The punctum of a movement phrase or exploration is a singular moment I am most drawn too.  Scrap the rest and just dig into that.  That is my approach for this project.

I am interested in the picture of the person climbing up the ladder. I find satisfying the colors in relation to one another and the clean lines in space and the person within the frame of the lines. It is a clean and controlled framing of a person about to do something or having done something.  What intrigues me is that we do not know what just happened or what will happen.  There is a big unknown for us (viewer) to figure out, or not.

The second picture is also from trapeze school where we launched the new project in late June. It is not the Apollonian aesthetic of the person on the ladder.  It is the Dionysian experience ofletting go of control.  It is a messier experience, seemingly.  Can the two coexist? Does one precede the other? Looking at this photo makes the back of my knees feel funny and yet I crave that flight again.  (Yes, both pictures are of me at trapeze school. Super self-referential. Yuck.)

Some ideas and images that Diana and I discovered last week:

There is construction happening at the Scout House and I am going to assume that is fate because of the picture of the ladder. I like taking situations as they are when making a new work and allowing that to shape the process.  So far,we have been climbing up ladders  (don’tworry, they said we could) and singing into the huge orange industrial fan.  Who could resist that?

One personclimbing an 18-foot silver ladder for 60 minutes-the duration of theperformance. (There happened to be ladders of ALL sizes here). This one wasleaning upstage right.  I have a fear of heights so maybe I will do it andit will cure me.

Creating some kind of surround sound environment - perhaps in the dark- where we disorient the listener's equilibrium. I tried this with someone (Thanks,Tenielle) sitting in a chair with her eyes closed. With the recording device onour cell phones, Diana and I recorded ourselves singing the same song indifferent ways into the industrial fan at full blast.  We held the phones close to the ears of the listener and then began circling her at varying speedsand bringing the phones far and near. She said it disoriented her sense of balance while being seated. Much like a small vertigo but she said it was an intriguing state- not nauseating. Unless she was lying.

the leaningroom


 between two fallings

I gave Diana and I the task of creating a movement study that we thought might agitate and/or soothe us and/or an audience. For us that meant standing still.  I took a sound score that both agitated and soothed me with it's harmonic vibrations (soothe) and atonal (agitate) elements. I put the cell phone across the room and decided the task would takethe time of the score- 4 min. Our task was to begin by shifting our weight intoour heels to the point where we almost fell backwards. We had four minutes toshift our weight to our toes without falling forward. It is fascinating to see two or three bodies and various states of leaning. It is an experience ofexisting between two fallings (backward and forward). Watching one or two or three bodies do this task is very interesting. The space changes and does their relationship to one another-in leaning forward and back and struggling not tofall while teasing the edge of almost falling.

Diana sitting on a 6 foot ladder:

Diana on 6 foot red ladder doing a series of accumulations of pendular (is that a word?) arm swings and gestures we combined into what we call the scapula dance.  (This material has found its way into this dance is what you see.) It is scary for her and also a difficult series of movements to remember. We recorded her doing the scapula dance sitting on top of the ladder while I watched from beneath the ladder with my legs draped over the bottom rung. Interesting to watch someone watching someone on top of a ladder from below the ladder. As if we (viewer in the seats) can imagine an empathetic experience from the point of view of looking up.

Adele standing on a 4 foot ladder:

I simply fluttered my hands from the wrist impossibly fast like a humming birds wings for one-minute while standing on top of the 4 foot ladder.  I watched the clock.  Each second passed slow and matter of fact. It was actually very scary. Diana said her gut was clenched as he watched.


We fell primarily into explorations of accumulation, variation, and repetition of actions in complicated patterns. We played with being as the mercy of momentum. Riding its sweet spot. Watching the series of pendular (there is that word again) swings they guide her through space it is quelling.  

Those are afew beginnings so far.

Unfortunately, Diana had to go.  She was only here for week one.  Company member, Kellie Lynch is here for this week and so far we are experimenting with an idea we just affectionately labeled “Ralph”. To be con't…

Friday, July 15, 2011

Kelley: Combining phrases

It has been two days and we have finalized the vocabulary for the piece, I decided to combine parts to see how they look together to decide which phrases I’d like to pursue the most in the piece, I had 10 phrases and I distilled all the material down to the most unique movement from each person and combined these in groups of two or three, we ended up with 4 phrases.
This is Michael and Lorrin’s phrase combined with Nordica, Stephanie and Sasha’s phrase, danced by Micheal and Stephanie:

Kelley Donovan, 2011 Choreographers' Project Fellow: Choreographic Insomnia!

This first week has been so busy I have not even had time to write at all.  I’ve also been getting over a cold and not doing nearly everything here I want to do.  There is so much going on.

We had auditions on Sunday night and we were very easily able to select our cast since all the choreographers were mostly looking for different qualities.  I am thrilled with the group I have, they are all very talented and wonderful people.
The set up here is ideal for creative work. We have afternoon access to studio spaces to work on our own or today we worked with a video artist to play with some technical elements we will incorporate into the piece.  In the evenings we work with the students here who auditioned for the program.

We have daily dance classes available to us but can use our time in any way that serves our process.  It is an ideal combination of enough structure to push us but enough freedom to allow us to each have our own process at our own pace.   We got to watch and open rehearsal of Alexandra Beller’s latest work on Wednesday which was very inspiring.
The food is great and I am eating more vegetables than I usually ever do, and it is fun to chat with folks about what we are working on or catch up with my dancers Laura Murphy and Nordica Houlton who have joined me here to help build this piece.

All three choreographers are in a suite of three adjoined rooms with our dancers right across the hall or on an upper floor which makes post rehearsal video viewing in the lounge with a TV and DVD player ideal.  I’ve been leaving DVDs for my dancers to check out during the day so it is just really nice on convenient to all be so near by.  It is nice to see the other choreographers, Adele Meyers (from NYC)  and Tennille Lambert (from NYC and LA) in passing most days just to hear how things are going.

Our first couple of days it was overwhelming.  There were so many things about my piece I wanted to think about, getting acquainted with all 8 student dancers and how they move and how to create a piece suited to them.  I think usually when you have a few days between rehearsal your mind has time to process all this kind of information over an extended period of time but my brain was trying to figure it all out in time for the next rehearsal each day so the first couple of nights I was awake processing my thoughts rather than sleeping and it was very hot as well.  I got about 30 minutes of sleep from Sunday morning until Monday night!  It turns out the other two choreographers were having a similar experience!  Now we are getting in the groove of it a bit more and getting a break from the heat and a little more sleep.

Here are a couple of clips from our first few days of rehearsals:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Check out what's happening with Boston Cyberarts!

Boston Cyberarts Events by 
Summer Stages alum Alisa Cardone and Nell Breyer

Seekers: A Bi-Coastal Dance Improvisation 
Saturday, April 30 at 5pm, CyberartsCentral at Atlantic Wharf, 290 Congress Street, Boston

Seekers looks at the human need for intimacy and connection in a world where distance and technological mediation is the premise for the majority of our communications.  Four performers in a studio in Los Angeles will create movement portraints or "profiles" that will be broadcast live onto monitors in Atlantic Wharf's Waterfront Square in Boston, where a second cast of performers will interact with them in real time.  Seekers aks - to what degree is it possible to virtually capture and transmit the depth and complexity of life experience from person-to-person?  The piece calls attention to the role that fantasy, desire, and imagination play in the absence of presence.

Conceived and directed by Alissa Cardone and Alla Kovgan of Kinodance Company featuring performances by Asimina Chremos (Philadelphia), Zack Fuller (NY), Olivier Besson (Boston), Maria Gillespie (LA), Allison Wyper (LA), Michel Kouakou (LA/Ivory Coast), Alissa Cardone (LA/Boston) and others. Free.  More information at www.bostoncyberarts/festival.org

A Dance Within Sol LeWitt’s Bars of Colors Within Squares (MIT)
Saturday, May 7 at 4 & 8pm, The Green Center (MIT Building 6C), Cambridge

 Nell Breyer’s “A Dance Within Sol LeWitt’s Bars of Color Within Squares (MIT)” is a performance project staged on LeWitt’s stunning polychrome terrazzo floor created for the atrium of MIT's Green Center for Physics in 2007. The performance work examines rule systems manifest in group and individual behaviors, revealing surprising aspects of motion, color and depth perception. It responds to the seminal work "Dance" by Lucinda Childs, Sol LeWitt and Phillip Glass. Audiences are invited to view the work from the cross bridges, balconies and stair well of floors 3 & 4, looking down onto the vibrant geometries of LeWitt’s floor and the ephemeral re-organizing passages of dancing bodies through space.

Concept & Direction: Nell Breyer. Dramaturgy: Dejan Srhoj. Rehearsal Director: Sarah Baumert. Choreographic Contributions: Nell Breyer, Sarah Baumert, Dejan Srhoj, Sarah Witt, Ricky Kuperman, Alissa Cardone. Performers: Sarah Baumert, Isidore Bethel, Nell Breyer, David Glista, Theodossios Issaias, Kate Ladenheim, Marissa Molinar, Catherine Murcek, Rafael Oliveira Mariah Steele, Sarah Witt.
Free. A reservation is required via [ http://mit-lewitt-floor-dance.eventbrite.com/ ]http://mit-lewitt-floor-dance.eventbrite.com/

 A related exhibition, Perspectives on a Dance in Sol LeWitt’s “Bars of Colors Within Squares (MIT),” will be on view at Carroll and Sons, 450 Harrison Street, Boston from May 4-28.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The many views of dance and sculpture!

Dance and sculpture share the ability to give the viewer a multi-perspective view of its materials.

I find exciting that two of our most interesting and young dancemakers, Kyle Abraham and Jack Ferver, are currently working with sculptors for new performance works, George Bolster and Mark Swanson respectively.  And renowned sculptor Sarah Sze and dancemaker Trajal Harrell
are developing new work together.  It will be fascinating to see how they share their practices in these exciting collaborations!   Follow Summer Stages performance series 2011-2012 and see! --Richard Colton