Friday, July 29, 2011

Dance in July, what you've missed and some you haven't seen yet

Catching up on some of the things that have been written/uploaded about dance in Atlanta in the last few weeks. Please comment with links to things I've missed!
  • PLOT: 
  • gloATL Liquid Culture
    • Andrew Alexander's review, preview of MARTA station "station" and preview of the whole project, 
    • Cynthia Perry's preview and review (check out some of the comments on the review for some controversy...)
  • NBAF DanceAfrica: preview from Andrew Alexander 
  • Gardenhouse Dance: Andrew Alexander's preview of Origami 
  • The 3D Mariinsky Giselle (of 12 3D ballets apparently in production around the world, so you can catch another one pretty soon) was in movie theatres July 12 and Andrew Alexander reviewed it. 
  • Serenbe Playhouse The Ugly Duckling is still playing, and Wendell Brock reviewed it as "theater" on ArtsCriticATL but Joanna Brooks choreographed the dance parts of the show, so I figure we can include it here.

National Dance Day 2011

And posting a little late, but maybe you haven't made your plans for this weekend yet. If not, you should head out to celebrate on Saturday, July 30 it's National Dance Day! (Who knew!?) Our friends at ATL Dance Source have these local events posted, but there's more! Well, one more at least that I found. There's also an event at Six Flags at 8:30 a.m. where you can go and dance the dances they've posted videos of on the SYTYCD website which leads you to I can't really find much information about the Atlantic Station event other than it's in Central Park and from 1-6 p.m. We had a table there last year but didn't hear from anyone this year about it, so I guess not this year.
Well, hope you all enjoy! Yay dance!

Pilobolus gets techie and what does that mean?

So I'm passing along the link if you haven't seen it to, the newest OK Go video where the band plus Pilobolus dancers do all sorts of fun kaleidoscopic dance-y things in multiple browser windows. It was hard to get it to load yesterday when it had just come out because of traffic to the site, though some is also local in that it's resource heavy. It only works on Google Chrome so you have to have that downloaded.
So this is the sort of creative thing you can do with dance online! It's a music video, but interactive. (I was curious if they also did Japanese characters for messages?) All this goes along with a question I left the Dance/USA conference with, if the whole cultural phenomenon of staged concert dance isn't something of a dinosaur. Not sure that was meant to be the message of it all, but the whole arc of what I heard sort of landed me there. Lots about how fast technology is changing (entire libraries of information every day...) and although most people in a big audience survey said they prefer to see dance live, something like 60% were dancers themselves (at least recreationally). So if people don't dance themselves, they're much less likely to want to go see dance. (Well, sort of knew that anecdotally.) But if you never do anything but sit behind a computer (like I do. Here I am! sigh) how do you ever want to get up and dance yourself, and then subsequently, go see other people dance? There was a fantastic keynote by Pico Iyer that talked about dance as a sanctuary, something outside all this avalanche of technology and information. But how do you even know you crave the chance for something authentic if you don't ever try it? My two year old has been refusing to taste new things to the point of throwing fits about having to even take one bite of something new, even when she it's something that she likes once she tries it. How much is the same (though much less vociferous) with people trying new things like going to that first dance performance? And you can give up if they really don't like "peas" and the first show they go to is nothing but. In the over-crowded world of options vying for our attention, I just don't know how much "try it, you'll like it" is going to work!
Also, concert dance is a very expensive thing to pull off (not that hiring camera crews and web developers etc. is cheap either) so as our economic situation continues to stink, justifying the costs of producing a stage performance starts to look more difficult. Can't you just stream it all over your phone and be done with it?
But please, argue with me, defend concert dance in the 21st century (and beyond). I'm still very involved in concert dance myself (in lots of ways), so I have to defend it! To answer my own question (so I don't leave this on a down note) I can offer my perspective on how the energy is much more powerful seeing dance live--no matter how skillfully it's recorded, something is lost in translation over the screen. I would also say that the stage gives a platform and goal for attaining and showcasing skill that wouldn't exist if we all stuck to gyrating awkwardly in social situations. So we will continue to dance away in our own little corner of the sub-culture and deal with what it means. We know we have to do it--it's part of who we are. We're dancers.
And on a a positive note, here's my message to sign off :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

DanceATL meeting Aug. 7

Upcoming DanceATL meeting on Aug. 7, 6-8pm at CORE (again, I know, but it's what works when the two other places I was trying to get us to meet fall through! If you want to host in the future, let me know!) Expression Dance Co. will perform and we'll have a chance to talk to Creative Loafing's Andrew Alexander about the state of the dance scene in town from where we see it. Notes shall be taken and if you prefer them distilled, you can read Andrew's article in CL early Sept. :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Gear up for conference time

So I'm getting emails about the service council that's meeting at the Dance/USA conference later this week. Compared to the more organized orgs out there, I feel like we almost don't count, but I'm hoping to get some ideas from what those who ARE organized are doing that might help us on our path forward.

I read some of the notes sent from discussions for DanceNYC and it strikes me how the landscape compares/contrasts. Always people feel like there's not enough money for anything, but I think that's across the board, no matter where you are or how big/small you are. If you're small, then you're dealing with really having no money at all, and if you're big, you have the problem of being stretched to keep doing all the things you've already built. This is the same sort of difference between what we're doing, on the small end, and what they do in NY on the big end. They have expectations to fulfill, with people traveling there to dance from all over the world and not enough opportunities to do so. We make our own opportunities, often in places you don't expect dance to be. There seems to be a big movement here and now that dance pops up where you almost least expect it, mostly because more dancers have made the choice to take it to the audiences that don't want to come to us (because they don't know we're here).  The NY folks say they have no lack of people making dances, but also feel like they have problems drawing audiences.
So we'll see how the conversations go this week. If you have any questions you'd like me to ask or keep in mind, leave a comment and I'll see what I can find out!

Friday, July 1, 2011


It's almost the Fourth of July. There'll be fireworks and my little girl says "Happy Birthday, America!" even though she has no idea what (or who) "America" is.

And I'm pondering this blog. In an effort to remain neutral, I've only posted things that other people have written. I don't want to become a reviewer because I want to be all-inclusive and supportive of everything everyone is doing. But on the other hand, there are so many things that happen that don't get attention anywhere else, really. I always intended it to be a platform for everyone else's voices, but lately no one has taken me up on the chance to use it. I don't mean as a place to post press releases. I mean if someone has something they want to say about dance here in Atlanta, some musings or even a review that won't be published elsewhere, this could be your platform (with some editorial oversight by myself to try to keep things, well, civil). If you want to talk about a show you've been in or your experience in a workshop etc. I think it would be great to post that sort of thing, a sort of insider's view from no particular company.

Again, I want to remain as "fair and balanced" as possible (haha) and the whole goal of DanceATL has always been to bolster the community as a whole, to build ties and deepen relationships among ourselves and with our audiences. How can this blog, which will hopefully be linked to an actual website before the summer is out (cross fingers, I know we keep promising, but I'm really working on it this time) move us toward those goals? Please comment and let me know what you think! I just haven't been posting all that much, I realize, and I really would like to open it up, since I never really intended it to just be me anyway.

But to continue doing the recap of other folks' writing on the subject:
Burnaway has Art Crush: Helen Hale Dances Her Way into Atlanta's Heart and there was a preview from Andrew Alexander at Creative Loafing and review from Cynthia Perry at of Gardenhouse Dance's "Layers".

But there were lots of other things that have happened despite its being the "off" season (I probably don't have a totally inclusive list, so if I left you off, sorry and please correct me. But on a personal note, I did not make it to any of these events, I just know about them so we have them on the calendar and here. Sometimes frustrating, but until you all want to take turns babysitting for my toddler for free, I'm going to have to keep missing things.):
  • Room to Move Dance performed soon after our last meeting at the Atlanta Ballet in "The Lemon Table"
  • Giwayen Mata did a performance on Father's Day, "A Salute to Our Men", 
  • Emily Christianson did a showing of her upcoming work "Shaken" during the Castleberry Hill Art Stroll, 
  • Crossover Movement Arts danced at the Goat Farm in Aleatory (and have a new website), 
  • The Lucky Penny had inaugural events with guest artists The Blow, and Dance Truck (kinda the same folks in this case, I think) welcomed Noelle Stiles from the Pacific NW at the MINT gallery,
  • SIDEWAYS had it's 5th season show "Breaking Bounds" at 7 Stages,
  • Full Radius Dance went out of town and performed at the Florida Dance Festival
  • Zoetic had its Zoetic Dance Exchange with ChristinaNoel Reaves and "Passing Moment, Intimate Strangers," a showing at the end,
  • gloATL started its intensive and will have a showing 
And I'm pretty sure there are about 800,000 dance camps for kids, and a few more for adults, happening all across the metro area right now. And in July, it remains pretty sparse, with the National Black Arts Festival's events, Gardenhouse's "Origami," gloATL's "Liquid Culture" series of 5 site specific showings, and Dance Truck/Blake Beckham's "PLOT" as the only things I've heard about.

And then there's, da da da DUM: August. I think there are a couple of auditions (send an email if you want to be on the enews list for this kind of news, until the website is up) but otherwise, it's pretty much completely empty, as far as I know, except for the DanceATL meeting that should be happening on the first Sunday. But I'm wondering if that's going to be too hard to make happen in the midst of such emptiness. Would anyone like to volunteer to speak/perform/host that meeting on August 7? Anyone want to hear Angela Harris, who went to Americans for the Arts, someone who went to Alternate ROOTS Fest in Baltimore and myself (going to Dance/USA) download from recent conferences attended (I haven't asked Angela or anyone else about this yet...) or we could discuss spring season dates if you don't have them yet? Try to avoid another first weekend in May scenario? Let me know!

Yay dance!