Archive for November, 2012

November 29, 2012

learning to loveDANCEmore in the world

by ashleyandersondances

it’s no secret that some loveDANCEmore events are modeled after Movement Research in NYC. we made a mini-Judson (Mudson) and print our own performance journal.

so we were super flattered to be included in “eight pubs to watch” in the current PJ issue.
to get your hands on a copy you can order from Movement Research. they also list nearby publications like “itch” in LA and something we’ve plugged a lot, “53rd State Press.”

the PJ issue is also pretty relevant because it’s looking back at 50 years of Judson performances. the reflection is made more poignant because the future of Movement Research at the Judson Church is unclear, with negotiations about how the program will continue. it’s a memory of Judson as an era and a contemporary system for seeing performance. my favorite part is the quick looks at Judson regulars.

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November 28, 2012

Trey McIntyre Project — some notes from Kathy Adams

by lovedancemoreguest

Trey McIntyre Project’s performance at Kingsbury Hall this past week was so uniquely off the well-worn path of non-classical dance that many couldn’t recognize it as such. This work is astoundingly beautiful, emotionally engaging, original and highly detailed. It takes the best of what ballet technique can give you and fills it with purpose. It plays with dramatic intention. The purpose of art is to move us emotionally. So much choreography is either about nothing or so intellectual that it lacks heart.

The title of the first piece, “The Unkindness of Ravens,” is poetic in its efficiency and like so much else in the choreography is both literal and metaphorical.  A group of ravens is by definition “an unkindness of ravens.” The etymology infers the birds’ characteristics and ultimately is fascinating source material for a piece of choreography – so it’s funny, it’s strange, it’s sad, it’s twisted. But it is about something, and something interesting.

The solo in “Bad Winter” was soulful, and the duet so personal and sensuous. I was sitting in the hole they call the front rows at Kingsbury so I could not really see the duet clearly. But I saw enough to know the articulation these dancers are capable of make the choreography clear. Everyone has experienced a “Bad Winter” at sometime in their lives.

I loved “Ladies and Gentleman” although I think the last section seemed stuck on and unnecessary. Dynamically it seemed like one section too long to me.

The dancers technical ability and the dramatic expression in their bodies and faces gave me so much information about the choreography. Clarity is just that – there really is no other way to get across the idea.

Kathy Adams is the critic for the Salt Lake Tribune and regular contributor to Dance Magazine

November 27, 2012

Provo Sites

by lovedancemoreguest

I have seen the beautiful old church at 79 W. and 400 S. in Provo evolve over the years. It was once a private school that my siblings attended. It has also been a music school, reception center and is currently being remodeled into a residential complex. On November 12th, the church was opened for a dance concert, hopefully one of many site-specific dance concerts in the Provo area. The audience was welcomed into the historic building with hot chocolate, hand warmers and a basket of blankets, which I appreciated as the temperature both inside and out was in the 30s.

Despite the chilly evening, the concert warmed the soul and the old church was an exquisite location for a dance concert. As I sat huddled under a blanket next to my husband and hot chocolate in hand, I was greeted with a lovely stained glass window as a backdrop. We had the luxury of having each choreographer personally introduce their own piece, describing their inspiration and motivation.

Nathan Balser (BYU dance faculty) choreographed Meeting Space, danced by a quartet of men. He was inspired by the historic building where we sat and by the interactions that may have occurred in times past. The four men entered in silence and, in a pedestrian fashion, acknowledged each other. As the music began, the dancers rotated in a mesmerizing turning motif that weaved throughout the piece. The dance continued with strong, yet fluid movement choices. I wondered to myself, if these walls could talk, what would they say? What stories do they have to share?

Letters in the Sand, choreographed by Kori Wakamatsu (BYU dance faculty) reflected the emotions associated with adoption. It began with a duet that included weight bearing and mutual support. I was intrigued by how the dancers physically kept in contact and also by the connection they shared in moments when they were not. As I mother, I saw this as the connection you feel with your child, a powerful connection that is hard to describe. The piece me left with a feeling of appreciation for those who place their child for adoption.

Journey, choreographed by Doris Hudson de Trujillo (UVU Dance Faculty) featured seven UVU students and 3 dance faculty members and was recently performed at the Wave Rising Festival in New York City. I loved watching a mix of ages dancing together. This piece used 3 poles, about 10 feet in length, which the dancers held and manipulated throughout the piece. The poles held, supported, restrained, and contained the dancers. At times I saw a burden being carried, other times it was a means to connect with others. As a viewer, I was on a journey with them, I felt stuck, liberated, supported and freed as the dancers portrayed each idea through movement. The conclusion revealed a lovely sense of resolution.

Neils, by Ashley Anderson, was a brilliant collaboration of songs by Neil Diamond, Neil Young and Neil Sedaka. I was taken back to my childhood listening to those songs on the radio. The quartet’s choreography was delightfully simplistic and possessed an element of humor. I enjoyed the movement repetition and seeing the character of each dancer through improvised solos. It was the perfect contrast to watch fresh movement vocabulary that was distinct from the other concert pieces.

The final piece, Divinity, choreographed by Aaron Shaw and performed by Kate Monson was most appropriate for a church setting. It was based on Christian values and beliefs, with the notion that we try and fail and try again. The performance was a stunning emotional investment that left the audience with a sense of peace and hope.

Leaving with cold hands and nose, but a warm heart, the Provo Sites concert was a beautiful start to what I hope will be many intriguing site-specific concerts, blending stunning locations with incredible dance.

Karen Jensen is member of the BYU Contemporary Dance Faculty

November 21, 2012

by ashleyandersondances

Today I’m thankful that PhD candidates are able to compensate dancers for their knowledge. Margaret Tarampi is a PhD student in Cognitive Neuroscience and is conducting research with spatial “experts” (aka dancers and architects). It is really interesting stuff. She is able to compensate $10/hr and the research should take about 2 hours. Below is a description of the research in her words. If you have any questions or are interested in participating, contact Margaret directly at margaret.tarampi@psych.utah.edu

Here is a brief description of the study in her words:
I study spatial perception and spatial thinking in special populations (such as individuals with visual impairments, architects, and dancers). My current research work focuses on understanding spatial expertise in order to inform our understanding of spatial thinking in general and to inform training or interventions for those lacking in spatial ability. Dancers are a particularly interesting group of spatial experts as they have greater experience with spatial awareness than the rest of the population. I am currently running my dissertation experiments and I am trying to recruit dancers to participate in my study. If you are interested in participating or know other dancers who are interested, the study will take a little less than two hours to complete but you will be compensated for your time. The study will take place in the Behavioral Sciences Building on campus (the tall concrete building next to the library).

November 20, 2012

apply!!

by ashleyandersondances

Apply by December 1st for Spring Mudson. The application only requires a URL of your work and is free to submit. Selected choreographers will have a show in either February, March or April plus get 50 bucks and a digital copy of their work.

Are you kidding me it is that easy to subsidize the early stages of a project? It’s also possible curated into our show at the Rose? Is there any excuse not to do this?

Click here to apply. Questions to lovedancemore@gmail.com

November 19, 2012

tonight!

by ashleyandersondances

Tonight is the last Mudson of Fall 2012. 7:30pm at the Masonic Temple (650 E. South Temple).
Free admission to see works in progress by: Nancy Carter, Efren Corado with Tara McArthur, Karin Fenn, Eileen Rojas & Movement Forum.

If you haven’t read it check out this article from SLUG which gives really good insight into how Mudson isn’t just another dance show, but instead is a forum that changes the kinds of dance being made in SLC and the kind of dance audiences.

Also Mudson is an open application process. You can apply here. for Spring 2013. Applications due December 1st.
Be forewarned, this is a google doc and that flips some people out. I promise that you can print it and fill it out. I absolutely promise.

Questions? E-mail lovedancemore@gmail.com

November 18, 2012

Dance and Race and Post-modernism

by lovedancemoreguest

It was very interesting for me to read Sam Hanson’s review and critique of Repertory Dance Theater’s Time Capsule. I am not familiar with RDT or the Salt Lake dance scene beyond what I know thru lovedancemore and Ashley Anderson Dances but Sam’s article brought up several concerns for me. Sam takes issue with a sense of irresponsible, if unintentional, racism in the casting of several of Time Capsule’s pieces. He also ponders why the Time Capsule fails to include post-Cunningham experimentation.

These issues: Dance, Race, and Post-Modernism, were fresh in my mind as I read this. I recently attended a performance of Deborah Hay’s Blues in the atrium of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. I’ll be reductive here since I will include a link to a blog post written by one of the performers. I will just say that I was very troubled by the casting (half of the cast was composed entirely of “White” women wearing black tights and leotards and the other half by “Black” men and women wearing “colorful” street clothes.) What the two casts performed was very different; the White women were mostly still and meditative, the Blacks were free to improvise throughout the space in a loose-limbed, released manner. Deborah Hay, who is counted as one of the Judson Dance Theater’s experimentalists from the 1960s, offered no explanation of her casting choice other than an aesthetic one about how skin colors looked against the white walls of the MoMA atrium. To me this was unconscionable.

 Kathy Wasik, a dancer whom I don’t know, wrote on the Performance Club Blog about her troubling experience being a performer in this piece. It’s worth a read. It may put some of what Sam Hanson wrote about RDT into greater context and give you an idea that Salt Lake is not the only place where dance, when it comes to race, is stuck in the cold war era, and that even PoMo experimentalist icons can make huge blunders.

One final note: if you read Kathy Wasik’s blog post you will notice that there are over 15 responses. I wonder why most lovedancemore posts get zero replies. Just askin’.

Ishmael Houston-Jones is a choreographer, writer and professor based in New York and is the chair of Ashley Anderson Dances.

November 18, 2012

RDT’s Time Capsule

by lovedancemoreguest

Repertory Dance Theater’s Time Capsule is nothing if not aptly named. The evening, which ran today and yesterday, is RDT’s attempt to educate the public about the history of American Modern Dance in one night. The goal was audacious and important. The attempt made some grand mistakes which belie important issues in our local dance community.

Narrated by company director Linda Smith with contributions from Marcia Siegel, Time Capsule begins with selections from Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn and Doris Humphrey. A less textbook choice is a solo by Japanese-American Michio Ito from 1916. Pizzicati, performed with wit by Nick Cendese, reminded me of the first time I’d ever seen Steamboat Willy, the first cartoon to star Mickey Mouse. It was music visualization at it’s most lighthearted. This work could have used some better context from Smith, who at times says too much and at times not enough.

The discomfort I had at watching Cendese in a shapeless kimono was to be overshadowed by embarrassment I felt at seeing how Black American dance experiences were referred to, and then ultimately ignored in the next few numbers. Cutting the Sugar Cane was Ted Shawn’s 1933 treatment of sharecropper life. It featured four white performers in straw hats who toiled in the fields and then, though pantomiming exhaustion, roused themselves for a jovial romp around the stage. Excerpts from Helen Tamiris’ Negro Spirituals followed, which according to Smith is one of the first pieces of concert dance performed to the African American music. The work is a study of Black American spirituality, again performed by an all white cast.

These dances do have a historical value in that they are examples of how prominent white artists used various conceptions blackness in their work in the thirties and forties. But they were presented with hardly any mitigating context, in a show that reported to celebrate the diversity of what has fallen under the term “modern dance” through the twentieth century. Here they were in an evening that encapsulated the “American century” of dance without presenting a single black choreographer.

Time capsule indeed. I have a friend who likes to joke that living in Salt Lake is like living in the 90’s, but watching this show I felt like I was living in the heart of the Cold War. Even after intermission as the experimentalism of the fifties and sixties was trotted meekly across the stage, I felt like already conservative repertory was being unnecessarily cauterized toward homogeneity. Daniel Nagrin’s 1948 Strange Hero mobster looked tame in the hands of Aaron Wood. Scramble by Merce Cunningham was earnestly undertaken, but seemed stern and cold, in the hands of dancers who looked like they’d rather be doing something else. And I wondered if Chair/Pillow, a 1969 exploration of pedestrian movement by Yvonne Rainer, had originally been done in matching Capezio jazz shoes.

From 1969 and Rainer we skipped directly to Shapiro and Smith’s Dance with Two Army Blankets, which like Laura Dean’s Skylight, I’ve seen RDT do so many times that I’ll have to recuse myself from saying anything critical about it. In Gamut, a group of high school students performed a sweetly awkward attempt at Cunningham/Cage chance procedures. Karyo, by RDT alum Susan McLain closed the evening. It didn’t offer a bridge into the twenty first century, but I liked it anyway, almost inspite of myself. The lighting was dark and sexy, and the content unabashedly dramatic, like Graham, who McLain performed for.

There’s a lot more I’d like to say about the dancers, who work really hard in this show. Katie Winder captured the strange theatrics of Limón in a solo from There is a Time. Sara Donohue and Nick Cendese made a better pair of Holy Rollers than I’ve ever seen (and like the blankets I’ve seen many). Rosy Goodman was stunning in everything as always, her Graham and Humphrey demonstrations making me nostalgic for summer workshops of my teenage years. Toni Lugo should have had more stage time, her interpretation of the solo from Lyric Suite struck just the right tone for Anna Sokolow, stricken from the interior without being at all self absorbed.

Maybe it will be these dancers who stand up and ask for a more coherent fulfillment of the company’s charge to be a historical and contemporary gallery for modern dance. I hope so. I would like to be as moved by that mission as I was in 2004 for when RDT wowed me with a show devoted to the sixties and seventies. I’ll never forget Chara Huckins and Josh Larson in Relief by Douglas Dunn, the whole ensemble in Steps of Silence by Sokolow, or the first time I saw that dance with the chairs and the pillows.
Samuel Hanson is a dancer and film maker. He is currently working on an evening length duet with Kitty Sailer.

November 16, 2012

THEM at REDCAT

by ashleyandersondances

The Board President of “ashley anderson dances” is crucial to supporting the programs we offer through loveDANCEmore. So we are happy to congratulate Ishmael on taking his work, THEM, to REDCAT in LA.

This review from the LA Times really gets to a lot of important things about Ishmael’s work.

 

November 15, 2012

coming up coming up

by ashleyandersondances

This weekend RDT shows “Time Capsule” at the Rose — Sam Hanson will be writing for the blog but anyone else can submit reviews to lovedancemore@gmail.com Same goes for Masonography in the Studio Theater at the Rose, Katherine Adler will be writing but send your own thoughts, as always. As if two performances wasn’t enough for the weekend the final fall Mudson will be Monday the 19th, 7:30pm at the Masonic Temple (650 E. South Temple). Not positive yet but this might be our last Mudson at the Masonic Temple, we won’t know for sure until the spring but don’t miss your possibly last chance to see these glow in the dark masks.

Also I spent the snowy weekend reading some old reviews on the New York Times website. I looked for other dance reviews but they seem so scant. Other recommendations for good sites?

In this review, Claudia La Rocco gets at something I feel a lot of our reviewers have tried to get to when looking at repertory that seems to be a similar cascade of music and imagery. I appreciate the discussion of the real nuance that some changes can bring to the way audiences view material they might otherwise find “expected”.

This piece is nice to read both in the wake of Hurricane Sandy but also as dance continues to be vital in gallery spaces. It also starts an inevitably long discussion about the controversy surrounding Deborah Hay’s work which addressed racial politics in a (most likely) really unproductive way.

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