Archive for July, 2012

July 30, 2012

Still/This Debate

by ashleyandersondances

The internet (and my e-mail account) has been blowing up with news about NBC cutting choreography from what was aired in America from the Olympic Opening Ceremonies in London. Here is a link that tells all about it.

I can’t help but think of the great debates of Bill T. Jones’s “Still/Here” while I announce on this blog that I didn’t find it to be a particularly good dance, nor have I enjoyed his body of work.  Some people did and do enjoy that work and that’s great, I love discussing that. But I lament that the conversation will never become about the merits of Akram’s choreography or his body of work, instead the conversation will only be about whether the mainstream media made a good choice in choosing to air David Beckham in a tuxedo rather than modern dance.

The idea that because it’s “about” terrorism victims it’s more worthy of air-time is also suspect as much press coverage reveals that the content of the dance was not necessarily announced in a direct way and that’s because dances are rarely evocative of one message, as any practitioner of them is well aware.

Maybe it is sad that the media undercuts some of the more potent artistic endeavors to instead air an interview with Michael Phelps. But I hate to point out that Michael Phelps, and not art-making, it precisely what the Olympics are about. And while I wish more people had seen it my reasoning is that if more people had seen it we could all be having a conversation about the content of the work rather than the responsibility of the media. Back to “Still/Here” you’ll find that no one ever addressed what the dance was like, what Arlene Croce was missing (or not missing) by refusing to watch it, and instead it’s heralded as dance resisting expectations. And it’s still, regrettably, only small circles of us talking about that, or this.

 

 

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July 26, 2012

submit to volume 5

by ashleyandersondances

learning to loveDANCEmore is already at Volume 5. wow, that’s awesome.

themed “back to school” it will tackle everyone’s favorite subject, dance education, or pedagogy as academics might have you reference it.

whatever that means to you….write about it, take a picture, suggest a re-print, sing a song

and then submit something to lovedancemore@gmail.com by August 20th.

July 21, 2012

CUAC under fire in Ephraim, UT

by lovedancemoreguest

loveDANCEmore usually focuses pretty exclusively on dance events, institutions and issues. So the following is a bit of a departure. But I personally think it’s relevant and important for us to pay attention to whats going on in the art world in general- especially in our home state. CUAC, a Utah contemporary art institution is under fire and in the process of being evicted from it’s long time home. Here’s a link to the Tribune article:

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/entertainment/54507414-81/center-art-ephraim-bateman.html.csp

And the CUAC website:

http://www.cuartcenter.org/

What does this mean for artists in general and dancers specifically ? What institutions do we have that might suffer a similar fate? How and why are dance institutions held accountable for “educational obligations” in similar/different ways.

Samuel Hanson is a periodic contributor the blog. He makes dances and videos too.

July 18, 2012

Nox Contemporary to present dance and live performance

by lovedancemoreguest

Nox Contemporary is inaugurating a new event this year entitled Alternative Genres.  It will feature a selection of contemporary performance art and video pieces taking up the entire gallery. Performances will be one night only on July 20 and 27 from 7 to 10 pm and video work will run from July 20 through August 3. Nox is excited to feature “work from a variety of performance and video artists including Salt Lake’s own Trent Alvey”.

Says Nox director John Sproul, “performance and video art are a vital part of the contemporary art dialogue and because there are limited opportunities to exhibit these art forms in Salt Lake City, we feel this is something that we need to do.”

Alternative Genres this year will feature works from artists such as Trent Alvey, Jenevieve Hubbard, Aniko Saffran and Brian Patterson. Video art will take up the entrance gallery space and is viewable from 6-10 pm on performance nights and during regular gallery hours from July 20 to August 3. One night only performance pieces will be featured on July 20 and 27 from 7-10 pm.

Admission is free and open to the public.

Here’s the Lineup:

VIDEO FEATURED JULY 20 THROUGH AUG 3 • VIEWABLE 6-10 July 20 & July 27 AND DURING REGULAR GALLERY HOURS

VIDEO:
Jan Andrews
Trent Alvey
Brian Patterson
Hiedi Moller Somsen
Emily King
Aniko Safran
Kelley Parker
Ian Tsung-Yin Hsieh
Ben Jacobsen

FRIDAY, JULY 20 (GALLERY STROLL) • 7-10 PM:

PERFORMANCES:

Untitled     James Sproul
L’Neant     Jenevieve Hubbard, Stefanie Slade, Kim Schmidt, Mattson McFarland, Derek Fonnesbeck, Miguel Peterson

FRIDAY, JULY 27 • 7-10 PM:

PERFORMANCES:

Fatal Accident     Kristina Lenzi
Duet                     Samuel Hanson
Barre Routine      Valerie Atkisson
with Efrén Corado         Ashley Anderson

Nox Contemporary is located on 440 s 400 w, ste h. If anyone would like to go to either of these events and share their thoughts on the blog, an account would be greatly appreciated.

July 17, 2012

co.da artist reviewed in Seattle

by ashleyandersondances

Sugar Space’s co.da project is presenting starter.kit this August 2-4. The evening will feature work by company members Molly Heller, Nancy Simpson Carter, and Jane Jackson. They’re also bringing out Shannon Mockli, a Utah native currently working in Oregon as a professor. Shannon produced a lot of choreography you might remember while she was in graduate school at the U from 2007-09. She also recently participated in Seattle’s AWARD show- a format we’ve discussed a lot on this blog, both in its original NYC form and in its local incarnation as the Sugar Show. Here’s one reviewer’s thoughts on the evening…

http://www.seattlegayscene.com/2011/01/reviewthe-a-w-a-r-d-show-at-otb-is-a-fascinating-weekend-of-competitive-dance-and-art.html

I personally miss seeing Mockli’s work and am excited to see it again. Hopefully more opportunities for accomplished ex-Utah artists like her to come back to town to show work will emerge in the next few years. Perhaps this could serve as a model:

http://www.cuartcenter.org/utah-ties-accepted-artists

Samuel Hanson coordinates and curates new media projects for loveDANCEmore in addition to freelance choreography and performance about town.
July 12, 2012

ballet west in the news

by ashleyandersondances

If reality TV wasn’t enough the Tribune is covering Ballet West’s contract renewals, promotions and the design of the enhanced Capitol Theater. I’m not really sure why the lighting on the outside of the building is a big wow factor in a era where sustainability should probably take precedence but it is nice to enhance the training and performances available in the city.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/54470280-78/west-capitol-county-ballet.html.csp

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/entertainment/54464750-81/ballet-west-sklute-adam.html.csp

July 8, 2012

Highlights from Dance Camera West: FANFARE for MARCHING BAND

by ashleyandersondances

Below, Kingsley Irons (who runs DancesMadeToOrder.com) interviews director Danièle Wilmouth and choreographer Peter Carpenter about FANFARE for MARCHING BAND, which was recently screened at Dance Camera West in California. The film follows the antics of a ragtag musical militia, as they embark on an impotent invasion through a parallel universe where their exuberant music is out of sync and unheard.

(photo by Sanghoon Lee) 
I felt really lucky to see FANFARE for MARCHING BAND at the Dance Camera West festival in Los Angeles last weekend. It totally made my night and I sing the film’s praises every chance I get.  It has a very special, surreal, cheerful quirkiness and spot-on comedic timing.  But the film’s themes also have larger social implications…Director Danièle Wilmouth and choreographer Peter Carpenter take a moment to speak with me about their ambitious film and process.

What was the inspiration for your film?

Peter: The film began as a project for Danièle, MUCCA PAZZA and a delightful choreographer/improviser named Asimina Chremos—now based in Philly.  When Asimina left town, I was brought in to work on the project. At that point (January 2011) I knew that they wanted the band to be the primary movers/dancers in the film and that the film would consist of “Actions for Joy” in public spaces, spaces where such joyful actions would feel inappropriate.  For me the final product emerges as a meditation on the potential for movement and stillness in public space.  

I had seen MUCCA PAZZA several times previously, and loved them.  I played the euphonium (small tuba) quite seriously in high school and was the field commander of my high school marching band.  I practiced music long before I started dancing, so this was a dream project for me.  On a more micro level, once Danièle and I decided on songs that we wanted to use (the band provided a short list of newer works), I created some choreography to bits of music with the band, Danièle provided feedback, and we went from there. The written musical score became the script for the work—each shot was designed around a number of musical bars. A big part of my job on the shoot was not only cleaning choreography and adapting choreography to location (we never rehearsed in location prior to the shoot), but also communicating the score/script to the band and Daniéle.  Since we had so many edits that relied on matching action at specific choreographic and musical moments, this had to be done with some care.

Danièle: The original proposal, was to create a dance film of Mucca Pazza (an anarchic 30 piece circus punk marching band), staging guerilla style musical ACTIONS for JOY in inappropriate locations around the city of Chicago.

Spinning off the history of military marching bands, I enjoyed the image of a ridiculous clown army, who infects Chicago with a shot of magical musical realism during these lean economic times.FANFARE for MARCHING BAND is not overtly polemic, but certain world events inspired ideas for the film.  For example, the Arab Spring was in full swing when we were writing the proposal for the EMPAC Dance Movies Commission (which we eventually received).  The Occupy movement had not yet started in the US, but its rumblings could be felt.

A brainstorm from my journal about the film…

“It is inside the waiting rooms and lobbies, the bustling markets, train stations and passageways, where travelers break stride for a moment, converge and then separate toward their unique destinations. It is in these ripe intersections, these everyday happenstances and accidental collisions, where adventure and tiny revolutions are born. The ordinary is potentially extraordinary, the static is suddenly ecstatic. During these fleeting moments of possibility and self-awareness, all that is left to do is stop, pause, listen….
and see what happens.”

FANFARE for MARCHING BAND is about the potential for magic and the extraordinary to suddenly erupt from under the surface of mundane daily routine, and change one’s perspective.
How would you describe your creative/collaborative process for this film?

Peter: I really appreciated the way that Danièle facilitated the collaboration between MUCCA PAZZA, myself and all the other artists.  She gathers lots of information and input and then quietly makes decisions based on a deep filtering process.  I learned a great deal about revision from her.

Danièle:
It started with many brainstorming sessions with members of Mucca Pazza, including wonderful input from Mark Messing (Sousaphone player) and Meghan Strell (Blue Cheer). Eventually I chose to work with three original compositions from Mucca Pazza’s repertoir: Touch the Police by Jon Steinmeier, Sexy Bull by George Lawler and Fanfare by Andy Deitrich.Then Peter Carpenter requested musical scores, and constructed the movement around the phrasing and instrumentation of each section of music. We only had ten rehearsals, which were all done in Mucca Pazza’s studio.  I videotaped each rehearsal, in order to find interesting cinematography to compliment Peter’s choreography.

Therefore, the sheet music literally became the script for the dance, the cinematography & eventually the editing of this film.  Each shot was designed for a particular section of music.  My shot lists were organized down to specific meters and notes in the musical scores.   This made editing easy, as the order of shots had been pre-determined before the film was shot. Then Mark Messing helped immensely in post-production with sound design & audio mixing.

What were some of the challenges in creating such an ambitious piece?

Peter: There were many challenges to the project of this scope.  I had created large-scale projects before—a community celebration with 60+ cast members in Chapel Hill, North Carolina was the largest—but never for film. The two disciplines share some similarities, but are profoundly different, and my learning curve was pretty steep. Spacing the choreography for the final song in Union Station was pretty crazy, and locking down public spaces was nuts.  That said, I think the biggest crunch was time.  From the time that I was brought in, we only had a couple of months till shooting, and I had numerous other projects running simultaneously, in addition to my full-time job at Columbia College.  We had 10 rehearsals to create this work with a 25+ group of people who didn’t dance, and I hadn’t worked with before.  Danièle and I had seen each other’s work but hadn’t collaborated previously.

Danièle:
Challenges?  No sane person would embark to direct another film, unless they were under the temporary delusion that it would be easier the next time around.  Unfortunately in my experience, it seems to get harder with each new film.

Location permissions, recruiting extras, weather, scheduling, transporting & feeding our 70+ member cast & crew, were among the typical filmmaking challenges.

Some challenges unique to FANFARE for MARCHING BAND were…

Freezing the world around the band.  This included people, cars, etc.  and was particularly perplexing in the outdoor locations.  To solve this problem, we often used aerial shots, looking straight down from a 40 ft. Jib arm.  Or placed Mucca Pazza’s bus at the end of tunnels, to block the camera’s view of the street beyond.

Recording the audio & music on location, in sync, as the band was dancing for the camera, was another challenge. Unlike the process of shooting a music video, nothing in FANFARE was recorded in a studio.  We used multiple stereo microphones and booms on location. We wanted to capture the sound perspective from the camera’s POV as it passed different instruments.  We were also very interested in the discontinuity of sonic environments, as the film cuts from one location to the next.  How does a marching band sound in a supermarket, compared to Union Station, etc.

Since the music would be recorded as the band was dancing for the camera, the choreography couldn’t inhibit the band’s ability to play the music WELL while dancing.  So, our choreographer Peter Carpenter not only had to design choreography for non-dancers, but also choreography which was inspiring, without being too difficult for the band to play the music skillfully.

Who/what are some of your artistic influences?

Peter: Artistic influences include some wonderful mentors who I was able to study with at UCLA:  David Roussève, Dan Froot, Victoria Marks, and the scholarship of Susan Foster, David Gere and Marta Savigliano have all been very important to me—both for their artistic/scholarly products and their incredible teaching/mentoring.  Other artists include:  Pina Bausch, early Bill T. Jones, early DV8, Ron Athey, Ishmael Houston-Jones. I’ve also been very influenced by queer work in night club spaces—the Chicago Kings, in particular, have really intensified my consideration of humorously re-appropriating popular culture for subversive political projects.

Danièle: The humor and originality of Tattoo, You Made Me Love You & Fisticuffs by Miranda Pennell.  I love the fact that she rarely uses conventional ‘dance’ or ‘dancers’ in her ‘dance films’.  The Graduate, all the films of Maya Deren and Last Year at Marienbad for their creative use of cinematography and editing.  I appreciate the way these films exploit continuity & discontinuity techniques from shot to shot, in order to merge various locations, and match movement / action across time and space.

Reality notwithstanding, what is the dream film you would like to make?

Peter: In terms of a dream film… hmmm…. I made a dance a few years ago called “The Sky Hangs Down Too Close.”  It was commissioned by Chicago’s Lucky Plush Productions and was this abstract response to Bertolt Brecht’s Jungle of Cities (1929). The stage version was about 80 minutes and served as a poetic, kinetic rant against capitalism and the ways economies manipulate bodies—but also about the ways that bodies can create economies of their own… I’d love to create a film adaptation with some of the original cast and condense those ideas to a 40-minute work.  The cast is now dispersed far and wide, so it would be a dream to get them all in the same room again…

Danièle:
All of my previous films feel like dream films.  They were all wondrous obsessions, excruciatingly difficult, but so rewarding in the end.  I thrive on collaboration, and love to learn from other disciplines.

In the case of FANFARE for MARCHING BAND I had the honor to work with fantastic collaborators like Mucca Pazza, who can make the most mundane meeting agenda fun.  Mark Messing, who is the leader of Mucca Pazza, as well as a brilliant composer & sound designer.  Peter Carpenter, an imaginative & gutsy choreographer, and the tireless & generous Meghan Strell, the co-producer of the film.

On a more personal note: If we were hanging out with you for a day, what would we do?

Peter: In terms of a day in the city with Peter Carpenter….  That depends on the city we’re in.  In Chicago, I would definitely make breakfast at my apartment in Rogers Park and then we’d walk by the lake (a couple blocks away!).  Then we could ride bikes along the lake front trail and spend some time at the Museum of Contemporary Art…. Bag lunch in Millenium Park?  Later, nap and catch a show by some of the really excellent smaller Chicago dance companies… The Seldoms, Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak and Lucky Plush are some of my favorites right now. Then we could catch a MUCCA PAZZA show late night?  How’s that for a good day?

In LA, I’d be up for any day that involved lunch in Korea Town.  I used to live near 3rd and Normandy and I miss the unlimited, 24 access to Bi Bim Bop and donuts.  And I’d like to see a show at Highways…  Dancing at Oil Can Harry’s—a gay country-western bar in Studio City completes the night.

Danièle:
In the morning, we could head to Lake Michigan for a run, or perhaps a paddle up the Chicago River in a Kayak.  Then head to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where I work.  Many of my days are spent either editing, compressing, or viewing a film of some sort.   I agree with Peter that we’d need to spend the evening at a live show by Mucca Pazza, especially if they are playing at their favorite small club in Chicago called The HideOut.

“Like” it on Facebook
http://www.facebook.com/fanfareformarchingband

For more information visit:
http://hairlessfilms.org/index.html

The film’s official site (under construction):
www.fanfareformarchingband.com

MUCCA PAZZA
http://mucca-pazza.org/

The DVD of FANFARE for MARCHING BAND will go on sale in the Fall of 2012. It’s totally worth it! Keep your eyes peeled!

(photo by Sanghoon Lee)
July 4, 2012

loie fuller, the original non-fire firework

by ashleyandersondances
July 1, 2012

Screen Deep: The beginning of something new?

by lovedancemoreguest

So, recently Ashley Anderson and I put on a little show. It was the inauguration of  a new film series here in Salt Lake City and that will bring together two of the most important art communities in Utah– film and experimental dance. We playfully called it Screen Deep. It was an evening of dance films and videos. In putting it together, the goal was to show people how choreographic and cinematic thinking might interact, in a variety of contexts. We wanted to show dance viewers/makers that there are a million ways to make a film, just like there are millions of ways to make a dance. The films we presented were nothing if not diverse. That said, you could see a dancer’s mind at work in each of the films, even in Karinne Keithley-Syers piece which had no live performers.

Several of the pieces were from established filmmakers and dance artists. Director Julie Dash is best known for 1991 feature Daughters of the Dust, which made her the first black woman director ever to have a general theatrical release in the United States. We screened Relatives, in which New York improviser Ishmael Houston-Jones explores his past in a cathartic duet with his mother. Issac Julien is know for documentary efforts including Looking for Langston and Derek, a renowned portait of fellow British filmmaker Derek Jarman. We showed his work Three, produced with dancers Ralph Lemon and Bebe Miller in response to their seminal duet Two. Jason Akira Somma gave us Frances Wessels: A Portrait of 92 Years. This beautiful short is a blend of video art and documentary, showing it’s subject in her home practicing the art form that has defined her life for over seventy years. David Rousseve lent us Bittersweet, the film verision of an acclaimed piece he shared with Ririe Woodbury a few years ago. And last but not least, screendance guru Ellen Bromberg gave us her seminal Black Dress, one of the defining early American screendances.

Emerging artists from around the world also brought us a lot of surprises. Jo Cairns’ work took us all to task for our artistic pretension though the fictitious high-art phenomenon Vera Rauschenberg. Carolina Tabares Mendoza brought a screendance portrait of Puebla, the city where she lives and works, that reminded audience members of Peter Greenaway’s youthful exploration of Venice. The screening was well attended by cinephiles and dance-lovers alike.We also had several of the artists there in person, including myself, Ellen Bromberg and Carolina Tabares Mendoza who was visiting us from  Mexico.

We’d like to continue making events like this that connect the film and dance communities and foster artistic dialogue. And so I have a few questions for everyone, whether or not you were there at Screen Deep. What kind of work would you like to see? Who and what would you like to see here that you aren’t seeing? Why? What kind of media-dance projects do you think would improve the scene here? And finally, how do you feel about the name “Screen Deep”?

Samuel Hanson coordinates and curates new media projects for loveDANCEmore in addition to freelance choreography and performance about town
July 1, 2012

Salt Dance Fest Turns International

by lovedancemoreintern

Between the weeks of June 4 and June 16 the Modern Dance Department at the University of Utah held their second annual summer intensive which took place at the Marriott Center for Dance on campus. The original concept for the summer workshop was voiced several years ago in faculty meetings with the realization that the space available on campus was not being utilized during the months where school was not in session. The department wished for students to get dance education and experience that not necessarily being represented in Utah. Department Chair and leader of the Salt Dance Fest program Stephen Koester wanted the experience to lead participants into developing their own creative processes.

Katherine Adler interns for loveDANCEmore and participated in SaltDanceFest

Last year’s program focused on faculty working in collaboration and improvisation. The goal for this year’s program was to focus on international choreographers with a legacy of working with some of the “greats” of contemporary dance. Vicky Cortez from Costa Rica, Marina Mascarell from Spain, and Paul Selwyn Norton from the UK and Australia served as this year’s faculty. Both women led daily technique classes for two separate levels that were offered. All three led creative and repertory classes in the afternoon which gave students the opportunity to both learn and create.

During her performing career Vicky Cortez worked as a guest artist with the late Pina Bausch. Bringing in her own choreographic philosophies, Cortez co-created a piece with participants based on a previous work of her own entitled “Next To the Body”. Cortez said that the program provided her with a true “cultural exchange with American dancers…exchange of ideas and creative lines”. Marina Mascarell has been a part of both Cedar Lake Ballet as well as Netherlands Dance Theatre I and II. Mascarell worked alongside students to create a new work as well drawing upon text and theatrics. She was surprised and impressed with the commitment of the students involved in the program and is hoping to take the energy of a large group back to her work overseas.

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