When I started “Moving Still(s)” one year ago at the Djerassi Resident Artist Program, I was very resistant to the idea of producing a concert or even creating a piece from the experience. I worked intentionally to derail my choreographic process in order to arrive at deeper states of being and latent approaches to moving. My research in thwarting myself continued through the fall of 2012. Then I realized the practice of derailment was in deed the structure of the piece itself. “Moving Still(s)” reflects this practice and I have been thrilled to share the work with friends and audiences in New York and Portland this spring. I have been intrigued and amazed at how much people bring to the piece and I appreciate this receptivity. I’d like to hear your thoughts on it; come to the show and let me know what you think. Thank you to Mary Ellen Hunt and her 96 Hours interview and preview–she has reconstructed our conversation in a clear and accessible way that opens up a window onto my source materials for “Moving Still(s)”–the film M by Fritz Lang, and the film Le Doulos by Jean-Pierre Melville. Thanks also to CounterPULSE’s co-production project for making all of this possible. finally, please welcome Katherine Longstreth from Portland who brings her insightful, richly-associative work to the Bay Area for the first time.
Premiering at CounterPULSE Theater June 21-23: 2013, THIS IS DEDICATED…utilizes the structure of a professional sports games, offering four 20-minute quarters complete with a half-time show and team mascot. Inspired by themes from WWI era dance-marathons and sports culture, the dance game appropriates what is successful and exploits the negative spectacle of the two particular phenomenons. Specifically, the structure of the work revolves around multiple movement games each with their own projection environment and rules of play. These “playing cards” embody a variety of qualities, aesthetics, and statements. Each time the game is played/ the piece is performed, the order is unknown to the dancer players. A three surface projected set design by Hannah Ireland dictates, through randomization, which game within the game will be played and in what order. Guest dancer Kelly Del Rasario from The Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, plays the referee character calling each dancer out of the game when a mistake is made or a rule is violated. For the sound score, live DJ, Jordan Akerley spins various tracks from a variety of genres onstage, further contributing to the chance element of the performance.
It is my (Michelle Fletcher, HNDC director) observation that sports plays a huge role in our society – it serves as an immediate bond when strangers share the same favorite team, causes riots, funnels aggression, distracts, and for some people it is their theater and the stadiums are often full. I never participated in sports events or activities, but after the Giants won the world series and I witnessed my own community get so immersed in it all, I could resists examining what sports does well and what I still have qualms about..
As the structural frame and launching place for This is Dedicated… is sports and WWI dance-marathons, the work includes a competitive edge. We (HNDC) found fuel and purpose in pairing with three Bay Area non-profits of each HNDC dancers’ choosing: Larkin St. Youth Services, The Vasculitis Foundation and The Friends of Alemany Farm. Inspired by the desire to win support and visibility for their charity, each dancer is positioned to push themselves physically and competitively to win. Every minute the dancer players are able to stay in the game, and not be called “out” by the referee, they earn money for their chosen charity. Pledges have been collected ranging from $1-5 for every minute a dancer player dances.
For the live performances, audience members will have the opportunity to “bet” their ticket money on a dancer, knowing that the ticket proceeds will go toward the non-profit for which the dancer is representing/dancing/playing for. So get ready to pick favorites! See you at the game…
Photo by Matt Lewis of HNDC
ImShift explores the shifting identity of “living in the in-between” as Latin American living in the diaspora. Through the ritualistic practice of self-affirmation, one can challenge systemic barriers and create art that transcends borders. The expiration of this piece is my lived reality and the work of performance scholar Diana Taylor.
This piece is also about the shifting pressures and negotiations in collaboration. The music, the video and the choreography were developed separate. Its in the later part of the process that the these three elements start conversing and informing further shifting of the piece as a whole.
I just returned to the Bay Area from packed and generously-attentive houses in Portland. Thanks to Martha Ullman West for her coverage in Oregon’s Arts Watch:
And thanks of course to my dear friend and colleague Katherine Longstreth. We met in graduate school some 20 years ago and quickly became comrades in DIY dance production via our performing group ESTRUS WORKS with Julia Wyncoll. Although our dance lives have taken us in different directions, we remain committed to the ongoingness of our dance-making. This spring’s tour, which began in New York in April and wraps up in San Francisco at the end of this month, has been an incredible opportunity to reconnect and celebrate our shared past.