Archive for ‘press and links’

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/

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 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.

 

September 3, 2012

labor day

by ashleyandersondances

The Huffington Post (and more) have been readily ablaze with articles about the unpaid dancer. For one reason or another, those brief essays leave me dissatisfied. Because they either write out the obvious flaws with art institutions or artists without exploring the relationships between them as well as the relationships with flaws in arts funding.

On the other end of the spectrum today is ablaze with essays like the one linked here which deal with the violent history of Labor Day and the way in which the United States still has a complicated way of considering it’s many laborers (to put it lightly).

The one is more specific than those about dance YET it doesn’t include any examples of artists who fall readily into the category of disenfranchised laborers. And yes, I realize, dancers haven’t historically died in factories which is more what this writer was after. But until the arts make their way into commentary, as above, they will stay in the territory of pithy essays about who we should marry to stay afloat. Obviously this super brief blog post is just as guilty of being pithy but that’s because I’m not an economic wizard by any means. And I call on anyone to write something more complex that doesn’t only find fault with us as artists or with the owners of presenting venues but also with the mechanisms that allegedly distribute our wages to us and the problems that come with being an independent contractor in a system that values salaries.

When you write it (and you have plenty of time while we are all barbequing our class warfare troubles away) I will print it here. And in the journal. And just about anywhere.

August 30, 2012

MOFO audition notice!!

by ashleyandersondances

 

 

 

 

Salt Lake’s resident improvisation group, Movement Forum, is having auditions in September. Movement Forum does performances in both theater and non-traditional spaces and has done a lot since 2003. Most recently they received support as a loveDANCEmore residency project through the Utah Division of Arts and Museums for this audition process and current rehearsals. E-mail info@akamofo.com with any questions about the process or commitment.

 

August 16, 2012

Arty Time

by ashleyandersondances

It’s that time of year again when City Weekly gets some voting underway for it’s annual Artys issue. In years past loveDANCEmore has been rewarded for the performance journal, being a dance start-up and Ashley Anderson’s performance with Regina Rocke at Sugar Space. The Artys regularly mention independent projects but they don’t always make it to the ballot and you should write some in!! If you do a write-in make sure you click “other” before typing and check the tally at the bottom so your voice is represented.

http://www.cityweekly.net/utah/artys 

On the link above some independent projects you might consider mentioning as write-ins include…..

Daughters of Mudson and it’s various choreographers and stand-out performers.
The films made for Dances Made to Order by Sam, Aniko and Josie.
Choreography and performance by local groups like My Turkey Sandwich, co.da, MOFO and the choreographers of Suite.
Performers and choreographers participating in the Nox Contemporary shows in July.
Tours like tEEth by Dance Theater Coalition.

and of course, learning to loveDANCEmore as a great multimedia publication!!

August 10, 2012

What’s Wrong With Dance (a reprise)

by ashleyandersondances

In June I posted the text below. It was about the problem of needing to label or identify performance rather than describe and enrich what is seen. I’m re-posting it because I wanted to add a link to it and figured people don’t regularly go through old posts enough to notice. Gia Kourlas in the NYTimes problematizes the same issue in context of the way in which the Bessie awards are labeled. I thought more about the issue myself while I ran a high school dance program at UArts this summer. The dancers there were really into describing what dance was or wasn’t but not so much at the ready to discuss the content of performances. Hopefully, the conversation continues on all levels. Read Gia’s article here, and my comments below.

I’ve written about this before, largely in the context of reviews where performers regularly bill themselves outside of the traditions of dance. In fact, it seems everyone, from major ballet companies to independent choreographers, eschew the notion that their work is “just” a dance performance. Whether it’s the expression “movement based” or “more like performance art” from where I sit it’s starting to get agonizing.

Is this happening because dance isn’t the most regarded of the arts (in terms of foundation funding, audience attendance and fees for it’s workers)? Is it happening because so many marketing conglomerates (dance television, competition studios) are marring what certain people imagine as dance? Is it happening because dance is too hard to pin down between the social experiences of salsa, touchdown dances, bad bars and the concert traditions as varied as the Ballet Russe and Josephine Baker?

Why it’s happening is probably all of those reasons and some I’m leaving out but it’s the implications that are potentially pretty damaging. If dance artists can agree that the name of dance is being tarnished from many directions why can’t we necessarily see that ignoring the term “dance” and pretending it’s not what you do will never address the very fundamental problems we face. Ignoring the histories and contexts that influences our art-making (whether in sync or a true departure) is allowing dance to vanish — in the history books, in the reviews and in our collective imaginations. Guess what? If you dance, with your body, or choreograph dances for the bodies of your peers and especially if those dances take place with music, on a stage of some variety before other people, it’s probably a dance. And maybe it’s a dance influenced by theater or that takes place on film or that has a collaborative design in new media or the visual arts. But what’s wrong with calling it dance and then mentioning it’s interdisciplinary components or angling it more specifically? What’s wrong with imagining dance can even be beyond those clear markers and calling it dance no matter what? Why can’t audiences reckon with dance on new terms or more importantly, why can’t we?

I know a lot of people, dancers and otherwise, disagree with what I’m getting at. This is largely because the value of markers is questionable to some and the purpose of identifying your work with a single word seems reductive whereas defining it on new terms seems important. But I have to say even the most specialty chemists might simply answer “chemistry” when asked what they study — business executives might respond with “accounting” or “finance” no matter how unique their position. And in the context of dance itself some groups buck the trend I’m mentioning. DV8 for example has existed for twenty-six years under the name “physical theater” but if you look at their biography they pretty directly say they’ve made 17 dances and a number of films. While the name physical theater remains, for some, the elusive draw to their work, they aren’t afraid to call a spade a spade and simply say the word dance; but a lot of people are, most of them my peers.

Recently the Huffington Post is ablaze with articles about dance and money. The newest is a response linked here. She makes a good point that deprecation is not historically a really successful marketing scheme and if dance artists are guilty of one thing it’s deprecation. Shame over the word “dance” is only one of the models of deprecation she’s mentioning.  But the writer also misses the boat that live performance has never been, and will probably never respond to the dynamics of capitalism in America. It is something that disappears before us whether in a stuffy opera house or in the foyer of a historic train station. Just because it’s value isn’t quantifiable in the way many goods or services are doesn’t mean I should change my marketing strategy, it means I should demand that the community I live in acknowledge the arts as a different kind of commodity, one that isn’t bought or sold on the same terms as my sleeper sofa. Our deprecation is linked to money but I can’t convince myself that the solution is to buy into the idea that something interdisciplinary will “sell better” or that any strategy other than honesty with my work and it’s history is acceptable.

The assumption of the article that setting up a non-profit assumes non-success obviously doesn’t understand the purpose of non-profits (Susan G. Komen for the Cure is a non-profit and we can all agree it would never be deemed unsuccessful on a broad scale) Non-profits, and many dance organizations, can certainly make money in the sense that they pay wages for full and part-time employees, it’s simply that beyond those expenses additional money rolls into their programming. And what an excellent thing that is because why use money designated by foundations or government agencies for anything other than public programs – there is a reason arts were designated as worthy of charitable status and it’s a way to protect that some funding be made available, even in the economic downturn seemingly endless on the horizon.

But okay okay, I’m getting ahead of myself and these topics are clearly more complex than a brief post will allow but here’s the breakdown.
Dance artists can (hopefully) agree that our opportunities right now, other than those we make ourselves, are pretty limited by various circumstance.
This lack of real support (financial and otherwise) create situations in which we all devise new creative strategies
One of those strategies is to pretend we aren’t actually dancers we are something else and that the things we make and do are really more important than dance could ever be.
BUT THAT STRATEGY JUST PUSHES US FURTHER FROM SUPPORT BECAUSE WE ARE ACTUALLY DANCING.

MAYBE WE GO TO DANCE CLASS. WE MOVE OUR BODIES & WE WARM THEM UP THEN THEY TRAVEL THROUGH SPACE. MAYBE WE RESIST DANCE CLASS AND STAND STILL WITH ONLY THE MEMORY OF THOSE THINGS BECAUSE THEY COMPRISED AN OTHERWISE CRIPPLING TRAINING. MAYBE WE DANCE TO FEEL FREE AND NEVER DO IT ON STAGE AGAIN. MAYBE WE ONLY MAKE DANCES BECAUSE WE DON’T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO DO. MAYBE THEY ARE TO POPULAR MUSIC AND MAYBE THEY ARE TO A LIVE ORCHESTRA. MAYBE THEY GO ON YOUTUBE AND MAYBE THEY ARE AT THE ROSE WAGNER. MAYBE THEY ARE SOCIAL DANCES MEANT TO MAKE YOU HAPPY AND MAYBE THEY ARE CONCEPTUAL DANCES ALSO MEANT TO MAKE YOU HAPPY. MAYBE I TAKE THEM TOO SERIOUSLY OR NOT SERIOUSLY ENOUGH. MAYBE I HATE YOUR KIND OF DANCE AND MAYBE YOU HATE MINE but maybe if we keep refusing to call them dance as a result they won’t be dance because they won’t be anything any more.

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)
June 4, 2012

this weekend

by ashleyandersondances

SB Dance opens “Of Meat and Marrow” this weekend but a new dance group is also having a fundraiser on Sunday. co.da is a cooperative group housed at Sugar Space that will produce excerpts of new choreography by it’s members (including Molly Heller, Nancy Carter and more) but it will also showcase some projects from those outside it’s ranks including Ashley Anderson and Shannon Mockli. Come out Sunday the 10th at 7:30 to see new work and help them raise funds for ongoing projects.

Don’t forget that reviews/documentation of all these events are welcome at lovedancemore@gmail.com

Read more about SB’s performance here: http://entertainment.sltrib.com/articles/view/sb_dance_unveils_a_host_of_changes_including_a_new_show/1

And if you are looking to go through more links check out this incredible NYTimes review of our previous artist-in-residence and collaborator Burr Johnson: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/04/arts/dance/burr-johnson-at-danspace-project.html

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