Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Cool dance stuffs"

Catching up on some things and because it's summer I'm not nearly as behind as I often am. So...previews (actually before the events! don't expect it guys, sorry, but during the season this won't happen) in Creative Loafing for Dance Truck at the MINT Gallery, gloATL's upcoming, and Gardenhouse Dance at the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center.
And something upcoming for me too, is the Dance/USA conference. I'm heading up to Chicago with all the dance folks from all over the US to talk about what we do for a few days next month. I haven't been to one of these particular conferences before but I've heard they're good from the folks who have been. I'm also taking part in their inaugural mentorship program as a mentee (you can see the list here, though don't take the names as they're listed in the boxes to mean anything...we're not actually matched that way, it's for some reason alpha by last name on the mentees and first name on the mentors!) The other mentees are in CA, NY, DC and Chicago it looks like. Should be interesting to meet everybody and learn what they do, and of course the feedback of a mentor should be extremely valuable. We're supposed to meet with our mentors at the conference and then commit to speaking at least two hours per month for the next six months. Looking forward to some sage advice from the field. :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Some recent news

Congratulations to Angela Harris of Dance Canvas for winning the American's for the Arts American Express Emerging Leader Award at this year's AftA conference! Read more about Angela and her award at the AJC and Creative Loafing.

And the Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company is moving part-time to Atlanta (sharing with its current home base in Kansas City, MO). You can read Cynthia Perry's story about this new-to-town company in

Other news has been from out of town: nearby festivals like Spoleto in SC (Sideways performed at "Dance at Noon" and here's a mention) and the American Dance Festival. For those of us not lucky enough to be at ADF this year, you can see videos of things cooking in Durham, NC on the blog "May we have this cyberdance?"

And in case this makes it seem like there's no dance happening in Atlanta during the summer, check out the calendar and see that is totally untrue!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Coverage: for us and the rest

So since my last wrap up of articles covering Atlanta's dance, it hasn't been quite as busy as that first weekend in May, but the rest of the month was none too shabby, with performances every weekend. Not this but next weekend is one of the first in a long time that I don't know of anything going on (and if I'm wrong, please please correct me!) And after that, it's good to see that there are things going on through June and July, just not every weekend, or so many shows at once. So everyone enjoy taking a breath, getting out into the heat and celebrating summer with some yummy watermelon or ice cream, and maybe doing some dance workshops/intensives, and we'll get back together August 7 for the next DanceATL meeting! (We don't have anything lined up yet, so if you have ideas for topic, performers, space, etc. please contact me at
To cover what I've not posted yet (as always, cannot promise I've caught it all):
Cynthia Perry attended our June 5 DanceATL meeting about "Approaches to Choreography" (you can see the notes I just posted below) and wrote up her thoughts for Thanks, Cynthia, for joining us at the meeting and attributing an "upswing in creativity" to DanceATL (and I chuckle a teeny bit at being a "support group" for dancers--feeding the addiction rather than curing it! :)

Zoetic's "Catch and Release" at Centennial Park had a review from Andrew Alexander in Creative Loafing, Ms. Perry in ArtsCriticATL, and an interesting view (and of course fantastic photos) from photographer John E. Ramspott in Burnaway.

The last weekend of May had a quick preview in CL, mentioning Dance Truck at MondoHomo and the Decatur Arts Festival's New Dance festival.

And for what's coming up, you can visit for the calendar (and possibly maybe even the "real" website soon...though I keep promising it and it keeps eluding us, so you'll find out when it happens) and if you'd like to join the newsletter list for updates on performances, workshops and more (going out sort of monthly, or sometimes more if there's more to send) you can email and ask to subscribe.

Notes from June 5 meeting

June 5, 2011
DanceATL meeting
Atlanta Ballet Michael C. Carlos Centre for Dance, Studio 1
4-6 pm

Amy Gately and Room to Move Dance
Work “Southern Signs”, collaborator Peter Dyer, photographer
Layering of phrases, teach phrases then work to change up phrasing, dynamics

How do the slides interact with the dancers? Projected into the space? Sequence of where the music and photos and choreography portrays.
Photos are rhythmically timed with the music or movement? No. on their own timing.
Music being more of an environment, not counting but dancers feel the movement and causal accidents.
Dancers have choreographed part of this piece. They’re comfortable with her style and integrating choreography.

George Staib speaking more generally rather than a particular piece. Choreography not live in his back pocket. When he watches things he wants to know what it is that has drawn him in? Best when dancers and the composition are both great. Always living in a choreographic place and picking up things, borrowing ideas. Comes down to responsibility as artists to put out something that really speaks about who we are and knowing who the audience is. Hope you’re showing audience something unique and mind bending. Finds contrast compelling. Japanese “maa” everything has negative space, silence, stillness. These moments between are where the art comes to life. Transition is exciting to delve into. Not let anything fall through the cracks when performing. Find contrasts, dancers to each other, music, space…find way to liberate himself from devising a narrative. Looking to create environment that touches on something emotionally or physically. Events or chronology put in too many parameters. Grew up with color guard and marching band—can make 150 ppl move around a field, no problem. Bored now with that alone. It’s too empty and doesn’t speak to him any more. Tired of seeing that world. As he gets older, he wants to know about people and how they interact. Beautiful things that can happen when we’re silent with one another. Personal interactions and cause and effect can be important in performance and he wants those. Spontaneity and truth more important and decoration not so much: Versailles to minimal room appealing to him. Refreshing to be in Israel where watching people on stage didn’t have a history. Different kind of responsibility and ferociousness there. Fascinating to affirm the physicality and honesty of our bones and dishonesty of our faces especially in more “decorated” dances.

Showing duet from “Four Letter Word” with Kathleen and Daphanie from Vega String Quartet show.

Vocabulary and trying to find new movement that isn’t “jazzy”. Finding crisp movement that doesn’t seem incongruous.

Execution especially through focus or specificity of initiation.

Blake Beckham
PLOT, reading and then movement sharing
10 Ideas (Perhaps Blake can share her ideas in a comment? I didn’t write them down.)
Rewarding process because of collaboration especially, photographer, sound, video, The Goat Farm as a space. Work has evolved very organically and every choice rooted in a collaborative decision.
Malina: before American Muscle was even over, inspired by seeing a truck full of rolls of sod. Dance Truck’s first collaboration with someone specific to their work alone. Neighbor has let them fill his 70s yellow truck with sod, will usher folks around the Goat Farm. She sends Blake an image or video that’s related to their dialogue about the show so strong visual concept of what it’s going to be. Always looking at performance spaces and showed this to Blake. Fortunate as designer to be involved throughout, going to rehearsals.
How is sound coming and going in the piece? Always listening to music and inspired by but not always played with the movement. Some samples of ambient sounds and some music. Piece has 3 acts and the Magnetic Drift to music is one and today’s is different, will be where roots are exposed, language and way of being that’s raw, exposed and intimate. Audience will be intimate with dancers as well.
Developing work inside and shifting outside, or all developed outside? Started early when winter but had enough could work on in studio then. Built language of piece in the studio but now all rehearsals are at Goat Farm and what’s left will be created in the summer space and all the vegetation. Wasn’t useful for a July show to be there in Feb. but now can be finished there. Started in her own back yard and neighbor thought she’d had a heart attack, lying there on the grass.

What are the spaces there you’ve chosen? Breezeway next to Goodson Yard. Needed a sod donor for 2500 sq ft. Goat farm planted sod in the breezeway.
Back of the space where public doesn’t often go and Rodriguez room is only interior space. Maybe lit mostly with candles. Audience will be sort of underneath a raised stage so there can be scenic artistry for people to see from beneath.

Goal is to give audience complete immersive experience, a whole universe.

Attention to detail and imagery, something new and exciting every rehearsal. New idea every time. Enriching to be part of a process that’s so open, communicative, creative and exciting. Pleasure to be in the process with Blake. Takes everyone’s voice and care to make a solid piece.

What images have been shared between Blake and Malina? Conversation about digging and burials, what you buried as a kid—just other things that come up stream of consciousness. Images come from conversations but not logical.

How do cause and effect play into relationships of dancers in duet they showed? Interested in staying with an idea and letting it evolve. Things about repetition, multiples, evolution and experiencing the passage of real time (not theatre time). Bargaining—sometimes answering with word, or with body weight but no real answer or solution at the end of it.

RTMD: The Royals from “The Lemon Table”, painter in Spain of royalty but decided to paint still life instead, scraped paint off royal paintings he’d done to get canvas to do what he wanted to do. Also inspired by Silence(?), book about composer not being able to complete his symphony.

Movement from gesture, from literature or photography expanded on in the studio with dancers. Collection of concepts and information from the paintings, lemons etc. Abstracting into a larger form from images. Image helps to zero in on the movement. Particular movement style developed over the last 30 yrs with new inspiration.

General question to all three choreographers: How do you separate, edit what you’re trying to communicate? How do you not put too many things in the pot? What separates what choreographer does from other collaborators?
Amy: Move audience, communicate on emotional level
George: Not to cling to things, might keep from editing and critical eye, but sometimes gets away from you. Sometimes idea is cool and can live in some work, but not that particular work. He’s trying to work more in sections and not worry about the overall score.
Blake: About depth and rigor and for her honesty and in practical terms always aware of audience experience and what will they see from start to finish. Attracted to working in unconventional spaces and what each experience can bring. Sometimes have to step away for a while from something to go back with a fresh eye to help edit. A lot is gut. Connecting the threads, how do you create context? Most interesting question for her. More juicy for her at the moment than the nuance of movement invention.
George: What time of dance are you making, something that reveals process or a finished product? Process revelation can be exciting but sometimes lacks pay off for the audience. How much is selfishness and sharing and where do those come into play.

To George: You’re changing your approach, what cracked it open?
It’s been bubbling but never knew how to deal with it. Fear involved. Always wants to be a better choreographer than he’s capable of being. Trying not to second guess based on what everyone else might think. Always had everyone dancing to keep dancers engaged, didn’t want to let people sit in rehearsal. Threw that away and finds it much more interesting for him. Not trying to control so much personally and choreographically.

A lot of talk about communicating with the audience, how do we do it?
George: We have to recognize there’s no universal truth in dance and we can’t control audience’s openness. We tend to go into
Amy: Honesty and commitment come through and touch people. Never a guarantee of course, all you can do is put it out there and if it’s abstract and internal it may not happen.
Blake: Relies on her kinesthetic experiences of things and honesty most of the time not really pretty. Being true to language and universe of what you’re doing. Something she’d had before didn’t work then and works now. It’s an arabesque but it’s about X—bugs her. We all carry around bodies and do similar things all the time so there’s always overlap. Honoring your impulses.

Can’t separate with how you communicate from what you’re communicating, right?
George: The idea of everyone being “unique”--by rejecting specific techniques, we all become nonconformists in the same way. How do you distinguish your version from someone else’s?