Archive for February, 2013

February 23, 2013

UDEO Spring Conference

by ashleyandersondances

UDEO just completed a (very snowy!) High School Festival with an enormous offering of classes, adjudication sessions and performance opportunities. They are now headed toward the Spring 2013 conference on Saturday March 2nd at UVU.

Many dance educators are also working artists in the Salt Lake community: Danell Hathaway teaches full time at Olympus while directing Movement Forum, you can see choreography by Ashley Mott in the upcoming MicroDance at the Rose but she also teaches at Westminster and SLCC, Kori Wakamatsu & Kate Monson both teach at BYU and UVU (respectively) but have been sharing their creative work through venues like Provo Sites, the crew at RawMoves teaches in various studio and school settings, RW alum Ai Fujii teaches for Tanner and RW Studio Series while still making her own work.  This is just a small cross section of the way working artists overlap with dance education in a K-12 and higher education setting — in fact, most of us are freelance artists and educators at some point.

UDEO helps to share resources among educators. This year conference presenters include Stephen Brown, Bill Evans, the BYU Kinnect Company and many of the people mentioned above. Check out the details to register here: http://www.udeo.org/index.php?id=conferences/spring2013

 

 

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February 20, 2013

a dance show in Ogden

by ashleyandersondances

In the vein of the Sugar Show, and A.W.A.R.D. shows across the country, Imagine Ballet Theater is now producing it’s second choreography competition. Efren Corado recently wrote about previous winner Monica Campbell’s concert at the Egyptian Theater and we can look forward to a new iteration.

While I continue to question the competitive format, it may be an opportunity to see both professional and student choreography coming out of Northern Utah, something that isn’t always seen in SLC but continues to contribute graduates of Weber State into our growing community. Along the line of Provo Sites, currently in it’s planning stages for a second concert, the project in Ogden is highlighting work by many independent makers that aren’t always close to the works-in-progress series or small, subsidized venues of SLC.

http://imagineballet.org/2012/12/announcing-the-selection-of-12-choreographers-to-paticipate-in-the-2013-rocky-mountain-choreography-festival/

February 19, 2013

Mudson, Daughters & 15 BYTES’ 35×35

by ashleyandersondances

Along with the journal spring Mudson is on the way. The third Mondays of March & April will showcase works-in-progress by area choreographers including: Karin Fenn, Jordan Hagen, Conor Provenzano, Kate Monson, Erica Womack, Ariane Audd, Sam Hanson & Emily Haygeman with Margaret Tarampi.

As usual they take place on the third Monday of the month, 7:30pm, FREE ADMISSION at the Masonic Temple (650 E. South Temple).

If you need your SLC dance fix before Mudson rolls around March 8th will be the start of the 35×35 show at Finch Lane Gallery. Ashley Anderson has been selected as one of 35 artists to share her solo work, The Windy Gap, as part of the event. The exhibition will run March 8th-April 29th. The premise is 35 artists under 35 who are contributing interesting work of varying media to the community.

After Mudson and 35×35 are long gone Daughters of Mudson will also be back. Ishmael Houston-Jones has curated some past Mudson performances to be completed for the Rose Wagner Studio Theater. Among them are works by Efren Corado with Tara McArthur, Katherine Adler, Josie Patterson Halford, Eileen Rojas & Ashley Anderson. The show will take place in summer 2013 with more details forthcoming.

February 19, 2013

the new journal is on the way

by ashleyandersondances

Themed around “collaboration” the journal submissions are in! With intern, Charlie Hoffmeister, we are putting together the copy as well as reviews from the past season in SLC.

We are so excited that this issue with feature the local collaborations of Movement Forum, Erin Kaser Romero, and Emily Haygeman with Margaret Tarampi alongside national efforts like, Jennifer Monson’s iLAND project, Jo Cairns & Rachel Nelson who are creating a Feminist Pop-Up Festival, Diana Crum’s musing on collaboration with sites, Gina T’ai & Susan Honer’s Distance Dances, and even some Judson Mudson offshoots in Virginia.

Beyond the content of the themed material there are almost double the reviews in this journal than the past two issues. This could be because loveDANCEmore has made an effort to secure reviews of even the smallest performances but it may also be because more dances are being made and watched in SLC. That is an accomplishment as a community that is definitely worthwhile. The issue will be edited through the end of the month and should be released at the end of March. Details on subscriptions for past issues can be found on the journal tab above.

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February 19, 2013

Gallery Stroll take-two

by lovedancemoreguest

15 BYTES , SLUG mag and Efren Corado have tackled the past Gallery Stroll performances along with the installed films at the Rio. Below, Aaron Wood takes on the second iteration of portions of Arrivals/Departures during the February Stroll.

The Rio Gallery located in downtown Salt Lake provided a superlative backdrop for loveDANCEmore’s latest endeavor, “Arrivals/Departures.” The gallery was overwhelmingly stark and sedate which carried over into the 17 film/dance installations presented by Ashley Anderson and crew. I am going to focus my impressions on two of the seventeen exhibits, thus steering clear of standing on a soap box for an erroneous amount of time and to avoid long-windedness. 

During the last few years as a dance enthusiast, I have been questioning the state in which our art form exists and where it is heading. I can’t help but wonder if every idea has already been explored. For example, Sam Hanson’s dance film “When We Were Young,” reminded me of a performance art piece I saw when I was 18 and on a theatre trip to Minneapolis. The name of the Minneapolitan artist escapes my mind, but I remember watching a video projected onto a clean white surface, showing people constrained in black clothing sluggishly moving around, on, and through a car parked in a deserted field. Without a doubt these two artists, Sam and the Minneapolitan, were exploring different themes, but I can’t help but feel those ideas don’t seem to matter now given that their explorations have become one in the same in my memory. I wonder how often we as audience members walk away from an experience feeling as though we have been there and seen that.

Another question I have been seeking an answer for is how much longer will I tolerate, with complete boredom, the use of still images in dance? What is the next step we can take as art makers to abstract the visual environment through which we interact, see, and connect? In her work “The Windy Gap,” Ashley Anderson uses an assortment of still images including various landscapes, animals, gathering places, and shared family-and-friend moments projected onto a sterile white wall. I have seen similar explorations in the past and yearn for something more. Anderson is on a path to finding a deepened sense of visual abstraction but has yet to realize her full potential. I will be anticipating the day it happens.

The performance of “The Windy Gap” took place in an oversized cubicle where the audience had the choice of sitting on one of four chairs or the hard cement dance floor. Originally, Anderson choreographed the “The Windy Gap” as a solo for herself, but it was a windfall to see Efrén Corado García perform it. Efrén took the movement vocabulary and embodied it with an impeccable sense of grounded ease and maturity. One particular standout moment was when Efrén fell to the floor with raw abandon, swooshed to an upright seated position, and then, with a brief smirk, he innocently looked at the audience drawing us into the delight of his adventure. The dance took place in front of a wall standing about six feet high and eight feet wide where photographs were cast upon and created a mixture of impressions. As I watched the images pass from one to the next, I reflected on the images in my personal memory bank and questioned if they belong to me and if there are any images from another person’s bank that I have inserted myself into but now catalogue as my own. The switching of still photographs was directed with a single monotone word “change.” As the performance continued and movement phrases repeated, I found myself longing for the employment of other words, such as “now,” “then,” “once,” “mine,” and “ours,” to be used as the command to switch the pictures. I have always enjoyed the added element of voice in dance but more recently I have come to appreciate how words and voice can be used to give a deepened sense of weight and clarity to both the movement and thematic intent of a work. For example, it was refreshing to hear Efrén’s “water howls” vocalized and echoed throughout the Rio as he sat looking at an image of a still mountain lake. On an adjacent wall, Anderson chose to project herself dancing the original solo. However, I think this choice was in excess. I would have liked to have seen the space clear of this unneeded obstacle which would have allowed more daring abandoned feats by Efrén and more opportunity to venture further away from the wall and towards the projector itself. What would happen if the projections became absorbed and minimized by a giant human form? The performance space was intimate enough where the audience could see such a distortion.

Having curated events, I understand the difficult challenge of bringing together all the constituent parts of stagescape. One has to be mindful of the overall arch and scope of an event and must consider and deal with every staging ingredient from the grand to minuscule. So, how does stagescape influence the audience experience? I pose this question because, while each exhibit was unique from the other, I felt as though my overall experience was frustratingly neglected due in part to the lack of lighting, obscure placement of exhibits, and being a slight germaphobe having had no disinfecting wipes to clean the surfaces of headphones for the video installations. I would suggest taking into more consideration the spacing and placement of exhibits and installations, involving various lighting sources, and having deliberately clear and distinct audience pathways. If the audience is confused as to where they are “allowed” to walk i.e., in front of live performers, then something should “change.” All the aspects of Stagescape should relate to and support one another rather than detour and confuse. For example, I recently saw Ellen Bromberg’s “GLYPH” at the Natural History Museum of Utah, and was taken aback with the juxtaposition of the performers’ dark blood red costumes interspersed with the muted grey and barren bones of the museum’s hallowed dinosaur figures. I was intrigued at how movement sensors were utilized to create giant word shadows on the large concrete museum walls. “GLYPH” neglected not one presentational component which allowed Bromberg’s whole vision of “time, embodiment, and the human drive to mark one’s existence” to successfully come to fruition.

While venturing through “Arrivals/Departures,” I appreciated the desire the curators had in offering Salt Lake audiences another viewpoint of dance and for giving an opportunity for current art makers to showcase their work. However, “Arrivals/Departures” did make me question the originality of the eleven involved artists. If the essence of movement is change, and dance is constantly moving, then how did this art form become so stagnant in thought and ingenuity? When will dance, if ever, be invigorated with a new sense of abandoned freedom? I’m not talking about that of the dancer’s ability of abandoned freedom but rather that of the art maker’s willingness to look beyond marginal inspiration. Are artists destined to interpret, through an unchanged fragmented filter, the same old same old laborious thematic devices of ego, love, sense of place, etc.? What and how do we contribute in securing dance as an art form of the future? I hope the artists of “Arrivals/Departures” continue to explore creative ways of unifying, inviting, and invigorating their audience, but as they embark on their art making quest remember that monotonous work is unsatisfactory, unappealing, and just plain boring.

Aaron Wood has danced for RDT since 2007. He also explores choreography with Sarah Donohue as part of “My Turkey Sandwich”. 

February 19, 2013

Why Utah?

by lovedancemoreguest

Although I live a couple thousand miles from Salt Lake City in New York and I haven’t been there since I was a teenager, (many decades ago), I agreed to chair the board of Ashley Anderson Dances because I believed that Ashley’s intelligence, tenacity, love of dance, and ties to SLC would make something wonderful happen out there.

My prediction was spot on. In just over three years she has instigated Mudson, the learningtolovedancemore journal, performing opportunities for local dancers and residencies for dance makers from afar, dance/film/video screenings, this blog and of course 18-month old Anderson Edward Garrett. (She had a little help for that last one.) So it was with great pride that I read that she was chosen by City Weekly to answer the question: “Why do you create in Utah?” But more than the fact that Ashley was chosen, the insight of her answer made me proud that I know her and in some small way, help her do what she does. Her answer to the question was:

“I make dances because I am interested in the potential of the body to display and displace expectation; the way dances create physical logic that we follow, question and relate to our own experiences.”

And why Utah?

“… simple and complicated reasons. … It is big enough to have numerous dance companies and a general comprehension of concert dance. Yet, it is small enough that the resources are manageable and easy to access. There is the possibility for new audiences intermingling with historic patrons, and that conversation is of interest to me, as an artist.”

The full article can be found at: http://www.cityweekly.net/utah/article-2-17130-why-i-create-in-utah.html

Ishmael Houston-Jones is the Chair of Ashley Anderson Dances.

February 8, 2013

by ashleyandersondances

Thanks to Sarah Thompson for her write-up of the current dance film gallery show in 15 BYTES. 

While her article talks in depth about the work of each artist some highlights include:

“…periodically, something new arrives on the scene, something that offers a different take on what a gallery can be, what art can be, a new way of seeing and experiencing…from January 18 through March 8…that something is Arrivals/Departures, a film, video and dance event presented by the Rio Gallery in conjunction with loveDANCEmore.”

“Arrivals/Departures is a unique, intense, challenging event, that will abundantly repay the effort you put into it. The films on display clearly illuminate the additional possibilities offered by dance film and site specific dance, as very few could be performed live with the same effect, while the live dances offer both a contrast and the opportunity to sample a variety of approaches to live dance for free.”

We hope you take her advice at the end of the review, to attend gallery stroll for the live performance and return during the week to see films you may have missed in the shuffle. With 17 projects available to see it’s definitely an undertaking and something we hope continues to engage and challenge audiences.

 

Tara & Alex perform choreography by Ashley; films by Diana & Sam

Tara & Alex perform choreography by Ashley; films by Diana & Sam

 

 

February 8, 2013

co.da’s Romance Novel

by ashleyandersondances

Last night co.da confirmed what I noticed at their first concert last year; they are a collective of strong women who know that if you want to be a dancer in this cultural climate you may just have to make the dances yourself. The cooperative company is made up of adept movers who are genuinely invested in the choreographic processes of their peers. But you do get the impression that on the whole, they just want to be dancing, a lot.

This comes across most in the guest work of Camille Litalien, assistant professor from Utah State. The dancers come alive, divergent approaches to performance presence notwithstanding, and show us that their primary focus is navigating the work of others.

But that’s not to say that Camille’s work has the most choreographic legitimacy. In fact, it’s the work of Ariane Audd and Shira Fagan that stand out for me as an audience member. Ariane fostered excellent performances by Jane Jackson & Emily Weaver who truly took risks within the expected structure of women dancing to Billie Holiday. Shira Fagan’s “The Breakup” also transformed the somewhat predictable dance where women act sad and find empowerment through a gestural phrase on a bench. But the choreography sticks to its idea really well and the dancers do too, so it doesn’t seem cheesy or one-off, “The Break-up” is both honest and interesting.

These two works suffered the least from an attempt to fit into the overall theme of the concert, Romance Novel. While a theme helped centralize audience expectations, and certainly elicited laughs as each co.da member narrated a passage from a particularly odd pirate romance between pieces, it also caused some dances to deviate from from their choreographic objectives.

Anne Marie Robson Smock shared her work in progress not too long ago and it began a really poetic system which challenged idioms found in backup-dancing and music videos. As the dance evolved the additions, including a cardboard fake boyfriend and lots of popular guilty pleasure music, began to take away from the bold spirit of the first iteration. She concluded on a high note with a sweet and sad dance to the Magnetic Fields where Temria Airmet is seen as simultaneously confident and vulnerable.

Annie’s work spoke to a larger concern I had about the program. There is an alternating pleasure I take in watching people joyously and humorously dance alongside a nagging feeling that maybe co.da could take themselves more seriously. That isn’t to say address deeper concepts or include more ambient music (please don’t! never!) but instead to follow their own instincts rather than try to create themes or jokes that they imagine the audience will respond to. Some of those instincts might be funny or include allusions to The Bachelor but I think others would not. I think that having a guest choreographer also downplays the exceptionally earnest efforts made by all co.da members to grow as choreographers and dancers.

Based on the enthusiasm of the audience for each work I would say my criticism may be an outlier, but it is something I look forward to investigating in the next iteration as the group comes even more into their own ways of making and doing.

Jane Jackson & Emily Jane Weaver perform Ariane Audd's "An Evolution of Things"

Jane Jackson & Emily Jane Weaver perform Ariane Audd’s “An Evolution of Things”

February 4, 2013

Dance as a Look at the Past and the Future for Recent Graduates

by lovedancemoreintern

Body Logic Dance Company’s Friday performance of Elemental at Sugar Space really drew from the title. From a student’s perspective upon seeing it, it seemed very elemental – that is, it really derived its movement and meanings from a collegiate level education. As a student in a university setting, I can see that the concert is driven from the artists’ post-collegiate experience. It’s not a stretch to trace the dancing from this concert to the programs at both Utah Valley University and the University of Utah – both in movement idioms and the vivacity of each performer. This does not mean that the show was not good, or that the movement was contrived or overdone. Instead, this idea allowed anyone coming from a university education in dance to really reflect on this idea of where we go as performers and choreographers once our educatory process is finished. As I watch it, I wonder about how my own approach to choreography and performance will change once I too graduate – and this idea proved to be one of the best ways, for me, and possibly for others, to approach such a show as this.

As the show began, the performers approached the audience’s attention in the intimate space with a piece entitled Lacuna (2010); a piece that fully makes use of the Sugar Space’s self-produced theatre feel. The piece is lit in beautiful blue lighting, and strings of plastic bottles hang from metal beams on the ceiling. The DIY sentiments make the movement come alive – something that the rest of the concert didn’t always achieve in the eyes of this audience member. The dancers spend most of the show throwing themselves all over the stage – hair whipping all over the place as the dramatic lighting changes and oscillates while fans and smoke fill the small space with noise and atmosphere – but the opening piece stood out in opposition to the others as it paused to take a breath for personal introspection. To me, this piece succeeded more than the others because it worked not only with the idea of stillness, but also with slow motion in opposition to quick throws of the head and torso that permeated the rest of the concert. The dancers’ alternating light and dark costumes added to the vulnerable feel Lacuna conveyed to the audience and allowed for more artistic exploration than the rest of the concert. The first piece is the seminal one of the concert, the main focus for the entire company – made up of six well-trained and quickly articulating dancers.

As the show continued, however, the tense action began to feel strained; running was a common motif, along with shoving and flinging the body to the ground. So the question that came to mind was why the rest of the concert felt as if I had seen it before. The moments that transcended in the concert weren’t in the well done lifts and quick frantic partnering, but instead was showcased better in the slower and more meditative movements of the choreography. There is a niche for stillness that I don’t see filled in what I’m watching both inside and outside of school. I personally believe that the stillness makes the quicker movement more relevant in opposition and yet, a lot of dance I’ve seen lately in Salt Lake, especially coming out of those choreographers from a University education, is only frantic. I will say that it is fun to watch dancers who can move quickly and adeptly articulate fast movement. – but it is not interesting to see the same quick movement over and over again. So what is happening with dance coming out of an educatory background, and is a university education really benefitting future choreographers? So many people are in support of the well rounded dance education that a university can provide, but does this hamper personal exploration? Lately, everything is appearing very collegiate when I am seeing smaller local company piece, but is that a good or a bad thing? I am in college. My work will probably be reflective of the work I’ve done at a university once I leave my education. But the question I will pose, whether for good or for bad, is whether or not dance from university dancers feels stale?

Elemental has moments that introspect that are truly interesting, but most of the choreography and performance largely suffers from the inherent need to fill the stage with egregious action. As I talked with the director of the show after it was over, she told me about how this company was formed and came together so that her group of university graduates could have a forum to continue their work. This, too me, is a wonderful collaborative idea and full of excitement and opportunity – as a good deal of Elemental contained. The dancers in Elemental are good, the choreographers are good, but the trying nature fell flat at times for this fellow dancer. I would recommend watching this company if not only to view the work of our peers and fellow graduates. As they progress, one can hope that they will find new approaches while continuing to search for ways to work together.

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

February 3, 2013

RW’s Kaleidoscope

by ashleyandersondances

My dad took me to see Kaleidoscope at Capitol Theater. We had a really great time! One dance was really funny! The dancers wore masks shaped like flowers. The music was happy, nice and quiet, and when it stopped, the dancers froze their shapes. I loved it!

In the first dance there was a boy dancer on a stool and two girl dancers below him. The girls did a really good job in their part. They had leotards with different colors that made different shapes. As they changed shapes the colors changed too. They were my favorite dancers.

In another dance the dancers dressed like ghosts, and the music was like Halloween. The dancers twisted and turned their bodies. The dancers made interesting shapes using stretchy pillow cases by pushing their arms and legs out. I was scared when the dancers brought their faces closer and closer to the audience. I had to cover my eyes!

In my favorite dance, the dancers used stretchy ribbons that were really colorful. They made a cool design stretching them hand to hand, and the music sounded like butterflies flapping their wings. It was really happy and lovely. Kaleidoscope was really different and interesting. The scary ghost dances are not for kids, but the funny and colorful dances are perfect for kids in kindergarten.

Lyla Kate Sylvia is a kindergarten student at Channing Hall. She dances with Miss Mary Martha at Tanner Dance. This is her second review for loveDANCEmore.IMG_1030

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