Archive for July, 2011

July 29, 2011

class option

by ashleyandersondances

check out RW’s new class offering

first class is free, not sure what fee will be following

check it out

July 28, 2011

following up

by ashleyandersondances

if you were into Neta Pulvermacher & her company while they were here last winter then check out what she’s up to now in Gainesville

also check out the latest installment of the project started by Karinne Syers while she was in residence earlier this year. this ninth installment of “linda, linda” features a dream ballet

July 27, 2011

related to the bessies

by ashleyandersondances

BOMB is a NYC arts magazine that was founded in 1981 with the goal of artists conversing about their work.

Lauren Bakst has recently started writing about dance in NYC.

See the link below for her conversation with Bessie-nominated Beth Gill & the performers in her newest piece, “Electric Midwife”

July 27, 2011

links near & far

by ashleyandersondances

In probably the most amazing headline ever to be seen on the Tribune website, Ballet West is apparently seeking short films about vampires.

Also read about an upcoming traditional dance festival in Bountiful

And for news from afar you can check out the SummerStages review partially for Keigwin & Company. While my opinion lies with that of the very wise dance teacher who said that Larry Keigwin should really accept his calling choreographing for Target commercials, his own brand of humor is quite beloved by many, including RW who is bringing work of his to SLC this fall.


July 25, 2011

local press

by ashleyandersondances

While I’m not super keen on the idea that attending concert dance is never about experiencing joy or relating to dancers, I am glad to add the knowledge of this cultural dance fest to the repertory of annual Utah performance events.

And speaking of things I’m not super keen on, So You Think You Can Dance has never been one of my favorite TV developments. I know, I know, it gets people really into dance, I just hate the idea that someone wins at dancing and someone loses rather than watching a million talented people dance to amazing music just because. Ultimately my beef with the show is more about longing for American Bandstand than anything else.

What I do love is when incredibly talented people are featured coast to coast using their incredibly broad & highly technical range. Especially when those people aren’t from a particularly hip city where they attended some epic performing arts high school like you might think about many finalists. Plus this guy has married dance.

July 23, 2011

new blog from the Yard

by ashleyandersondances

A theater company review on a dance blog? Initially, I was going to skip this post, and resume with The Yard’s next residency, John Moran and Saori Tsukada. But then I watched a dress rehearsal of PigPen’s “The Old Man and the Old Moon”. I’ve watched every show since. PigPen is comprised of 7 guys who just graduated from Carnegie Mellon. Rather than move back in with their parents, they’ve decided to take their small company on the road. Using puppetry and original music to support the play, “The Old Man and the Old Moon” makes movement out of shadows, pictures and swaying (which is as close as some of the actors will ever get to dancing, as you will read).
I dropped in on the cast to interview the PigPen Company just before they went onstage for a dress rehearsal. Members of the company wandered in and out, but Arya, Ryan and Alex sat staunchly throughout the whole interview. Their comments comprise of most of the interview. Sitting at the dining room table, a surface cluttered with lobster shells and other desiccated to the point of unidentifiable seafood, the group happily (if not flippantly) answered my questions.

LoveDanceMore: What does choreography mean to you? How do you think about movement?
Arya: (laughing) Ryan, you take this
Ryan: (After a few moments of mockingly pensive expression) For me, choreography is not so much linear as it is a montage. I respond to moments in a piece, more than to a connection in choreography.
LoveDanceMore: Why do you think that is?
Ryan: That’s a good question. I don’t know.
LoveDanceMore: So, does that mean you like paintings more than dance?
Ryan: No, the physical forms of pictures and the creation of a picture is what I like most about watching dance. I like how dance can go in and out of a picture.

This comment reminds me of a scene in “The Old Man and the Old Moon,” in which the actors morph quickly into a sea-vessel by grouping together, throwing their heads back as if to bear an oncoming tide, and shouting “Ship!”  I ask if that shape, a pseudo-Momix moment of the most basic kind, could be an example of this picture/shape idea.  
Ryan: That (shape) came from what we learned freshman year. It came from (a technique called) Viewpoints, which was the basis of movement class where you use improvised movement to tell a story.

The PigPen plays use ramshackle, thrift-store bought props and sets to create a folksy effect, which pairs seamlessly with the Folk music, plaid and suspender infused costumes and the Welsh/Irish/Scottish accents. I wondered if the low-budget production was a result of the college students’ low budgets, or if it was a purposeful choice.

Ryan: It was planned. The aesthetic was set (when we began).
Arya: The aesthetic brought us all together. One thing that we all cherish is that we can make all of the things in our plays.
Ryan: Also, we like it because it helps us not spend ridiculous amounts of money. We can have ridiculous ideas and not have to spend ridiculous amounts of money.
LoveDanceMore: You said you had to take ballet classes at Carnegie Mellon (where they all recently graduated from)?
Ryan: The class was something we all knew was going to come.
Arya:  Sophomore year was the year of the tights— very movement based.
Ryan: It was a very basic ballet class; barre, warmup, stretching.
Arya: It was an hour? An hour and a half?
Ryan: It felt like it was 15 hours long.
Arya:  A glacial pace.

 After this fast paced riffing, Arya seems to remember that I write for a dance blog. He changes his tune slightly, but with true sincerity.

Arya:  It was the first time I appreciated dance. The first time someone showed me what I was supposed to do with my body….for me that was the biggest thing. I gained a lot of the appreciation for the technique.

The room is suddenly crowded, as leftover lobster calls out to hungry stomachs and my oh-so-serious questions ring out awkwardly in the casual setting. Talk of the dreaded ballet class catches the attention of everyone around, and heads nod throughout the room in agreement with Arya. Grimaces at memories of ballet lift into effusive smiles when they remember their junior year Jazz class.

Curtis: Best teacher I ever had.
Alex: As with anything, (your success in a class) really always depends on the teacher. If you have a good teacher, you can fall in love with anything. I am not a good dancer. (He pauses here, like any good dramatic actor, to let this sink in). I am innately a bad dancer. But the teacher was someone who had high patience and great care for all of the students. It was so encouraging. I felt like I was incorporated into a world that I knew so little about.
LoveDanceMore: How has your group changed, artistically, since you began?
Ben: The roles have become more defined in the creative process.
Ryan: It’s always been kind of fuzzy, a hodgepodge. We’ve all become better at stuff so it’s become easier to spread out and do multiple things, rather than to depend on one person for something.
Arya: Everyone has their strength, but everyone has gotten good at covering other people. We all have designated roles, but other people have stepped up really big. Also, being around each other for so long, everyone is constantly working towards the same end.
At this, the conversation suddenly devolves into talk of mussels. “I’m really scared I’m working on these mussels too hard” says Alex, looking at a plate of shells in front of him. Possibly delirious from a long day of work and too much sun, the lobster carcass becomes a talking puppet in Arya’s hands. Such impromptu play is a natural way to pass the time for PigPen. After a few minutes, after waiting for the diatribe on sea food to die down, the conversation is still flowing with no foreseeable end. I awkwardly interject.
LoveDanceMore: How did such a young group of guys get people to take them seriously as artists? What made you different?
Ryan: It usually takes people to see us do a show (to get recognition).
Arya: The Fringe Festival (in New York, at which they won the award for overall excellence) helped us a lot last year. It made people say ‘oh these guys aren’t just kids.’
LoveDanceMore: What else are you good at?
Finally, the PigPen group is at a loss for words. Insert into transcript: 2-3 minutes of hemming and hawing. Life outside of PigPen? It doesn’t seem to compute. But in their mutual discomfort, it is easy to see the familiarity and friendship within the group; a relationship which feeds their company and the quickly paced, off-the-cuff feel of their plays. Here is a final example of their pinballing verbal antics:   
Ryan: I think everyone has to go around and say stuff about what other people are good at
Arya: That’s a great idea
Alex: What are we good at outside of the PigPen world?
Ryan: Arya’s pretty good at sandwiches
Curtis: I’m good at making egg sandwiches (he says from the living room, eating an egg sandwich)
Alex: Ryan’s really good at inspiring me to be a better person
Arya: Ryan is a moral compass.
Curtis- Bart’s good at snowboarding
Ryan- Dan’s a good reader
Dan- Oh, it comes and goes
Ben: Falberg (Alex) is a good driver
Ryan: And a great packer
Ben: So… you could say he’s good at geometry

July 22, 2011

can’t get enough of mofo

by ashleyandersondances

you may have seen all three of their shows this month but mofo is still up to more. they have regular jams at rowland hall on saturdays.

starting this saturday (july 23) and running every saturday through aug 30th you can find dancer jammers in the studio on 843 lincoln st. (corner of 8th south & 10th east)

if you are lucky fearless leader danell hathaway will teach you this choreography afterward

July 21, 2011


by ashleyandersondances


Bessie press release July 18 2011 (2)

click on the link above for a .pdf of the Bessie’s press release.

nominees this year include our board prez Ishmael Houston-Jones!

July 19, 2011

another mofo review

by ashleyandersondances

below find Sam Hanson’s take on two of three MoFo shows. if anyone out there saw them at the Rose Establishment please feel free to round out the trifecta of showings/accounts.

This past weekend Movement Forum presented a three part mini-festival of improvisation. The first two shows out doors (at Ninth and Ninth and then at Liberty Park) and the last one at the Rose Establishment on Pierpont Avenue. I caught the first two and was happy to find myself watching dance on the streets of the neighborhood I grew up in.

Late Friday afternoon found Movement Forum circling the crosswalks of Ninth East and Ninth South in little gaggles of three and four. (See Belle Baggs review a few days ago in this blog for a more detailed account of the action.) Watching the performance from start to finish was somewhat anticlimactic, but I think it functioned intended, as an artistic interruption into the life of Ninth and Ninth. The physical circularity of the dancing got me to really look at the storefronts in a way I hadn’t in a long time. It got me thinking about how the neighborhood has changed through the last twenty years as I’ve grown up. The place we were sitting, under a public sculpture of one of the nine muses, wasn’t there ten years ago. Twenty years ago, the whole place was just beginning to be the coveted, vaguely bohemian, gay-friendly area that it has become.

As much pleasure as I got from reflecting on the place by seeing it through a lens of nostalgia, I couldn’t help but wonder if there might have been a more interesting, less obvious choice for such an outdoor performance. Many Utah dancers have recently taken advantage of the City Library downtown for similar purposes, and often to great effect, but practical as they might be, neither the Library nor Ninth and Ninth strike me as particularly brave or interesting choice to house a dance in.

Saturday at around two, I found Movement Forum moving a couch, a table and some other props on to a patch of shady grass in the east side of Liberty Park. There was classical music on a boom box, and they danced Utah’s answer to a Dionysian feast (no wine, just grapes, San Pelligrino and Martinelli’s Apple Juice). Then self-conscious play-fighting and camera-posing ensued on the couch.

Here, in this throng of half-dance, half-pantomime was the theme of reality television alluded to in the advertised title of these performances, which was The Surreal Life. And yet there was nothing here more real- or more staged in the way that say, Real Housewives is- about what was happening. Mostly, the dance languished in the space between imaginary dining and living rooms.

The piece began to find it’s footing just as it was petering off. Chris DelPorto and Leah Nelson broke out of the confused theatricality into a contact duet and then drove off together in a station wagon. Some of the other cast members moved off and watched the action from the green hill behind where most of the audience was sitting, illuminating the bigness of the park around us. And here was the best and simplest part, Danell Hathaway left alone on the couch to stare at a TV that wasn’t there and gorge herself on strawberries, which she does to greater effect than anyone else I know could manage. Here, at last, was something bordering on the bizarre rapture of reality TV.

Both shows felt like good first drafts. Saturday in particular might have worked better with more editing. It suffered from feeling a little more like a sit-down event than Friday had, without being much more coherent. Still, there were little moments of satisfaction in both performances. I remember a effusively charming and tramp-like Mike Watkiss undoing his bow tie in traffic. I remember Sherisa Bly coyly showing off her arabesque in a red dress. And I remember Jersey Reo Reimo dipping a languid arm into the gutter at Ninth and Ninth. It seems to me that about half of the company really wants to do full bodied dance all the time and the other half is more interested in doing something more pared-down and theatrical. Both directions are valid and I think that this eclectic, sexy company could successfully go down many paths, but I think they’ve reached a fork in the road where they need to make some clearer choices.

Sam Hanson holds a B.U.S. from the University of Utah, he regularly choreographs and performs in SLC.

July 18, 2011

in the news

by ashleyandersondances

see the links below for info on 1) the change-over at ririe-woodbury and 2) the new season

also check back soon for more movement forum reviews

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