Archive for December, 2012

December 27, 2012

year end review

by ashleyandersondances

Some of you may have seen our year end report in an e-mail blast earlier this month. (If you didn’t subscribe on the home page!) It detailed loveDANCEmore activities for 2012 but also the activities of “ashley anderson dances” the 501c3 which continues to produce loveDANCEmore programs for the SLC dance scene.

2012 was a pretty great year:

  • Mudson presented 18 dances in progress, with $50 stipends to each artists &  a Vimeo archive.
  • The first Daughters of Mudson was curated by Ishmael Houston-Jones for select Mudson artists to complete their works-in-progress. Daughters had 2 sold-out shows at the Rose, 5 dances by 5 incredible women & 2 stellar reviews on the blog & in SLUG.
  • learning to loveDANCEmore released volumes 4 & 5 with essays and reviews by 17 local writers and 9 national contributors
  • on the new media front we hosted “Screen Deep” in the UMOCA auditorium which showcased free films by 16 artists from 5 states and 3 countries in addition to curating the March edition of Dances Made to Order which featured 5 Utah dancers and filmmakers.
  • Movement Forum (aka MoFo) was in residence and received administrative support for their upcoming show including liability insurance and dancer stipends.
  • AND this very blog you are reading had: 134 posts authored by Ashley, 14 guest contributors and 3 interns which included 35 reviews of local productions. AND it was noted with the 2012 Arty for Best Dance Forum

On top of the community programs, ashley anderson dances, presented 3 new dances and 3 re-staged works for over 15 shows at venues including: Nox Contemporary, the Arts Bank (PA), the Rose Wagner Studio Theater, the Provo 4th Ward & more. Ashley taught 415 classes at over 20 venues and spent her second summer co-directing the UArts Pre-College Dance Program in Philadelphia (131 classes, 20 teachers & 70 students in two weeks!)

And there is a lot more on the horizon in 2013. Not only the continuation of existing programs like Mudson and learning to loveDANCEmore but the continued search for new venues and methods to share current dance-making in the community. These events require your support and there are a few days left in the calendar year to make a (totally tax-deductible donation).


Last year 40% of the budget was spent on fees for individual artists with an additional 20% going to program support for performances that are mostly free to the public. You can mark your donation for any program that you support in particular whether it’s Mudson fees, the acquisition of materials for the next performance journal or a new media project.

As you consider donating keep in mind that almost all of our events are free and absolutely all are offered at insanely low rates for students. “Arrivals/Departures” our gallery show at the Rio will be free from January 18-March 8 of 2013 and showcases numerous new dance films by local and national artists. Free performances during gallery stroll by local choreographers and performers on January 18 and February 15 as well.

Check it out and keep the programs in mind at the end of the year. We couldn’t create this programming without such a vibrant community of artists and audiences. Thanks.

 

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December 17, 2012

Learn to Love Dance More

by lovedancemoreguest

Although the death knell of print journalism has been sounding more and more loudly over the years, I am still a believer in the power of words on paper, (recycled paper). One case in point is Salt Lake’s own learning to loveDANCEmore journal published by the minders of this blog. Although I love the blog and contribute to it and reply to posts, the print journal is still something special for me. For instance, in the most recent issue (Back to School) which is focused on dance teaching, there is a beautiful portfolio of photographs by Parker Gard of a dance Brooklyn-based choreographer Emily Wexler made with a group of senior citizens. For these photos alone, people in Salt Lake should be sure to pick up a copy. And if you live away from Salt Lake you can subscribe to the journal at:
http://lovedancemore.org/journal/

Ishmael Houston-Jones, (chair of Ashley Anderson Dances)

December 14, 2012

Lines of THREE

by lovedancemoreintern

Ririe Woodbury’s newest offering, entitled Three…, began this in the Black Box Theatre at Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center. The show served as an exploration of the linear formation of three to six dancers in performance. The dancers were phenomenal artists, and they imbued the movement with vivacity but the choreography didn’t always play to their strengths. The first piece, Lost, began with all six company dancers standing in a line perpendicular to the 4th wall of the stage. Throughout the evening, the performers came out of these lines and often returned them, which seemed strange figuring that all of the five pieces in this night’s offering were over the several years by a single choreographer, Charlotte Boye-Christensen, the company’s departing artistic director.

THREE is part of Ririe Woodbury’s countdown performance series to their 50th anniversary performance this spring. Boye-Christensen is a clearly talented individual who has a good idea for which pieces may relate to each other over an evening. However, the main question I ask of the program regards the necessity to return constantly to these same linear formations over the years and whether she might break away from the mold of her artistic oeuvre? The rushed and sometimes frantic quality of her movement, as well as the continual use of spatial “return” seemed less meaningful than they might when viewing each piece in isolation.

The show consists of many beautiful and stunning moments between smaller groups of dancers or in individual dancers’ movement, but the stage is often crowded filled with the full company and the audience risks losing these beautiful moments in the crowd.

The best choreography of the night laid in the second and fourth pieces, respectively titled The Finish Line and Siesta. Both pieces were striking in that they shirked Boye-Christiansen’s movement for a more pared down and simple approach. The Finish Line was beautiful in it’s circular movement, which deviated strongly from the linearity of the rest of the dances. Siesta was beautiful in its symmetry, something that was always strived for in the other pieces, but didn’t always translate. Set to Bizet’s haunting and ethereal score from Carmen, it took perfectly a well-known piece of music and made it it’s own. Steeped in red light and performed solely by the men of the company, it was an interesting musing on an earlier work performed by three women. In this piece, the gender switch worked beautifully.

The performance concluded with a piece from 2008 called Interiors, opening with the dancers coming onstage while washed in the grainy vision of a television screen without a clear image which later turned in to a background vision for the inspiration of the dance. This piece showcased and closed the show with what was being strived for the entire evening – a mix of different ideas of artistic exploration – something that worked at times, and at other time, to this reviewer, didn’t work as well as the audience may have wished it to. One hopes that Boye-Christiansen will continue to explore outside of her comfortable movement and that her work will begin to reflect the more pared down and contemplative works she hinted at here as she continues her creative work outside the context of Ririe-Woodbury.

Charlie Hoffmeister is the journal intern for loveDANCEmore. He graduates from the University of Utah this spring.

December 14, 2012

A review, a thank you, and a call to action

by lovedancemoreintern

On November 17, “Masonograhy: You May Ask Yourself” was presented at the Rose Wagoner Blackbox Theater. The show included original music and choreography by local musician Mason Aeschbacher. The goal of the evening was to offer the audience an emotional experience that was linked in with both music and dance. I left the show however feeling confused and disappointed that a great idea had not been executed in a more serious way.

The choreographer chose to depict several interpersonal archetypes to represent the humanistic interaction we face daily. Unfortunately, these archetypes and the choreography that accompanied them were very simple and archaic representations and felt extremely disconnected from the intention of the work. Artists, and dancers most especially, can depict archetypes such as codependency, conformity, and strength with more than simple mime gestures that imply the exact replica of an emotion. We all inherently have these qualities within us and they will be seen more clearly when we don’t layer them on top of meaning. I believe audiences can derive their own interpretations without being spoon-fed. Regrettably, this was all I could walk away with.

I must give special mention to the musicians involved in this process however. They were all fiercely talented and watching their interaction was more representative of unstaged human qualities. At moments I could close my eyes and enjoy their eclectic style and indeed it would evoke an emotion, though I’m not sure it was completely in line with what was meant to be stimulated at that point in the work. Aeschbacher is clearly a highly talented musician  and composer but perhaps should stick with that medium. I believe that if more collaboration and discussion could evolve between dancers and other artists perhaps his intention could be  fulfilled more readily.

In light of all of this, I am thoroughly impressed with the audience turnout of Masonography. I have seen the dance community of Salt Lake grow and I am glad to see so many people supporting our local dance scene. Although I personally did not enjoy they evening’s events, I must applaud both Aeschbacher for making an effort and putting work out on the line and the audience for seeking new dance in the community.

What I ask of the dance community now is to spread more widely. Only one week later I was attending a live viewing of the Nederlands Dans Theater at Century 16 in Sandy. With only a handful of attendees, I found myself questioning the dedication of dance in Salt Lake when I had just been excited by it. If we only support local dance and do not expose ourselves to the rest of the art form, then are we really a part of the dance community as a whole? I have not determined an answer for any of this.

Katherine Adler is an intern for Ashley Anderson and lovedancemore. She is currently in her last year the U receiving her BFA in Modern Dance. 

December 7, 2012

Flight of Fancy

by lovedancemoreguest

Aerial Arts of Utah performed Flight of Fancy to a sold out Rose Wagner audience. The company’s debut was a showcase of the dancers’ impressive skills off the ground. I saw a lot of variety between the different pieces, and the performers were able to capture the nature of each apparatus for the audience. It was also refreshing for me to witness shorter pieces (11 dances in 90 minutes!) with a full range from serious to lighthearted themes. I also want to acknowledge the seamless tech team behind the scenes for a show that must have been complicated to rig and negotiate during the live performance.

There were a variety of apparatus on display, with some dancers performing on several over the course of the show. Elizabeth Stich and Amy E. Olson opened the show with the intricate Salty Sisters Trapeze. They performed in excellent unison with a variety of impossible poses that required increasingly complex partnering while one dancer was suspended from the trapeze while supporting, lifting, or being climbed upon by the other. The equally impressive duet of Stich with Trisha Paulos on fabric was able to emphasize a distance between the dancers as one performed high above the audience, and the other closer to the ground. The two dancers would also meet in the middle of the piece of fabric they shared in this mysterious piece that demonstrated strength and endurance.

To keep the program light, there was a fun performance by Nancy Simpson Carter on the aerial hoop, wearing bright colors in a reflection of childhood fantasies. Adriane Colvin was playfully awkward in her solo. It was a nice change to see her fabric moving and swinging towards the audience to begin the dance, breaking the dynamic of a purely vertical plane of movement. And Carter returned to the stage with Mikael Thelin in Just a Little Ditty, an amusing take on acroyoga and an ironic look at a partnership built on trust. I was confused about their simple choice for costumes in subdued grey that did not seem to compliment the comic mood of the performance.

A few performances were also of a more sensual nature. Amy E. Olson and Nicholas Irwin Kubilius wowed the audience while suspended from a rope. Amy danced a beautiful solo to begin the piece, but it took on new life when Nicholas joined her on stage and the two demonstrated their partnering skills. I found it interesting that the show’s female/female partnerships were equally impressive with the skills that were being performed, but the male/female duet automatically had dramatic sexual tension, either through choreographic choice, or through my own interpretation.

My favorite performances of the evening were solos by Jenny Lucas and Elizabeth Stich. Lucas was accompanied by musician Margaret Lewis on cello. Not only did the live music enhance the piece performed on fabric, but Jenny’s timing, fluid movement, and specificity were captivating. It was a beautiful performance with sudden drops, slow methodic climbing, and seamless transitions from one idea to the next. Stich mesmerized the audience with her final trapeze solo, Shedding Skin. Her choreography had a graceful strength that gave her a quality of being unreachable as she hovered above the audience, both physically and on an emotional level as well.

The final piece by Anne Kocherhans and Deborah Eppstein concluded the evening in a fitting way. The two owners of the company performed Duo Celeste on fabric. Each dancer was suspended on their own apparatus, donning sunburst unitards, designed by Valena Magill. The dance had a very ethereal quality and I was surprised at how easily I was taken into the world that these dancers created.

For me, the evening was a successful fusion of circus arts with a choreographic focus. Hopefully, the next performance will run for more than one night, and if the chatter during intermission was any indication, Aerial Arts of Utah will be getting a surge of new students soon.

Erin Kaser Romero is a local choreographer and dancer who can often be seen performing with Movement Forum.

December 4, 2012

a dance film festival that comes to you

by lovedancemoreguest

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for “Arrivals/Departures” a dance film gallery at the Rio. Taking place January 18th-March 8th during gallery hours (which are FREE by the way) you can also catch live performances at the January 18th and February 21st gallery strolls. One of the films was created from DancesMadeToOrder.com, a website with an important mission to bring dance to broad audiences using technologies they utilize every day.

DMTO is at it again, going beyond their monthly production of films across the country. As if that wasn’t enough they wanted to do something larger, a full festival of films that you can catch on your own computer. Because the work was submitted and curated via application it is also a marked difference from monthly DMTO time-based creations. See the difference for yourself by purchasing your ticket to the En Route Dance Film Festival! The festival will stream to a global audience – completely online from Dec 13-17 ONLY.

A $15 ticket grants complete access to the films selected for the festival and $2 from that price supports a Los Angeles charity. Visit this link to get involved: http://dancesmade.com/enroute/

December 3, 2012

Pop-up @ the Leo

by lovedancemoreguest

This past Saturday I saw a fascinating new piece of theatre which was also the inauguration of an exciting new performance series. Dancers, dance audiences and anyone interested in live performance should be aware of what’s going on right now at the Leonardo. The piece was Robert Scott Smith and Alexandra Harbold’s Senses 5 and the series is called Pop-up @ the Leo. There were a host of other significant collaborators on the bill, including video artist Conor Provenzano, who called upon the dance talents of Emily Haygeman.

The work felt very stream-of-consciousness, in the best possible way. Smith, the lone performer, took the sparsely decorated stage in the small auditorium upstairs and began by recounting the story of how he had gotten lost in the Sawtooth Mountains as a six year old. He was on an RV trip with his parents and brothers. From there he meandered through sense memories of Proust, adolescent sexual awakening, Beckett, neuroscience, an elderly music lover named Henry who suffered with Alzheimer’s, and his own tumultuous love affair with Madonna.

Throughout, Provenzano’s projections, which besides a few simple lamps, suitcases and ladders were the set, created a perfectly surreal representation of the imperfection of memory. Particularly striking were the highly manipulated images of Haygeman and Smith dancing that played behind the Madonna section of the monologue. Their bodies were broken into monochromatic slices, which fell out of sync with each other and unfolded different sides of the danced experience, some sexy, some grotesque and some mysterious.

Smith, Harbold and collaborators have made very impressive use of a little and (I would have thought) very awkward space. Some readers might remember this auditorium on the top floor from when the Leo was in its earlier incarnation as the city library. At one point, Smith conflated the room with the inside of his family’s 1980’s RV, and in the work’s dreamy logic, it all made perfect sense. “Wood paneling, shag carpet, alarm clock…” Only the radio and the young boy lying next to it had to be imagined. And the sense of wonder and terror he had felt were soon palpable through Smith’s excellent delivery.

I hope this series continues with great success. And I hope that the first choreographer who presents within the series is as creative in how she uses the opportunity as Smith and Harbold were. In the meantime, catch even fuller versions of this work December 7 at 7:30 and December 16 at 5. It’s well worth the 15 bucks, which I believe includes museum admission. There are also free workshops on the fifth and sixth at 5 pm.

Samuel Hanson is a dancer and video artist who regularly contributes to the blog. His work has recently been featured by Nashville Review: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/english/nashvillereview/dance.

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