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Posts Tagged ‘Christ Church Neighborhood House’

Voice + Body: Interview with Michael Kiley

Posted August 1st, 2017

Sound designer, composer, and performer Michael Kiley makes music that is enticing and beautiful in its complexity, called “dramatic and beguiling” by The New York Times., Kiley is no stranger to using technology to synthesize new sounds and rhythms—in Close Music for Bodies, however, he aims to do just the opposite. Instead, the show (coming to the 2017 Fringe Festival) eschews any technology, or even any instruments apart from the human voice. Also experienced in sound installation work, Kiley has designed an immersive experience of sound, but this time, the speakers are the performers, and the audience becomes part of that community of sound. Kiley is also a music educator; he teaches using his own practice, called “Personal Resonance.” His approach is woven into this new work, focused on the effects our bodies have on our voices, and the effects our voices have on other bodies as well as our own. We got the chance to have a conversation with Michael about how this new piece came to be, and what we may, or may not, be able to expect!

FringeArts: Do you remember how the title Close Music for Bodies came into being?

Michael Kiley: I was running. I wanted a title that represented what the piece is in a literal sense, yet also make people curious.

FringeArts: How would you categorize this performance?

Michael Kiley: I call it a voice piece. Sometimes I call it a voice piece with movement. It is immersive. It is educational. It is participatory (if you like). I always end up explaining the whole thing before people understand what I’m getting at. There is no real elevator pitch for it.

FringeArts: How do you talk to your collaborators about it?

Michael Kiley: I usually talk to my collaborators first about my voice practice, Personal Resonance. I explain that my primary goal with teaching is to have the student understand that the real beauty and benefit of voice has nothing to do with how you sound, and everything to do with how your voice can make you feel physically—and therefore mentally. Once someone understands how to control that physical sensation, their voice becomes as accessible as breathing. My goal with Close Music is the same. I hope to, through the mediums of performance and education, create a space where a community of performers and audience feel free to access their voices together, without judgment or fear, with the simple goal of doing something that feels good.

There is no real venue for secular, public acts of group voice in our culture. The corporatization of music, and the heavy influence of technology on singing performances has driven us to feel like our voice has to be perfect all of the time. The result is that most people don’t sing. And for those who do, it is usually during some kind elevated performance, where the goal is to be impressive.  I hope to dismantle that expectation in my own small way, and change people’s thinking into understanding that simply making sound is one of the healthiest things that we can do.

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Poetry in the Air: Tangle Movement Arts brings Life Lines to the Fringe

Posted July 26th, 2017

Rebecca Mo Davis in Life Lines

In their seventh consecutive Fringe Festival show, Tangle Movement Arts uses the poetry of aerial dance and acrobatics to express stories of loss. The show is Life Lines, and it blends together circus arts, theater, and live music.  Philadelphia-born Lauren Rile Smith is one of the producers of the show and founders of the company. “Life Lines is a portrait of a community that is recovering from sudden losses,” she says. “It follows the story of three different women who are processing and healing from really unexpected change: one losing a lover, one losing a sense of safety or security, one losing a sense of connection with others.” In line with much of Tangle’s past work, this show is intensely emotional. The artists use their movements as a physical language to express feelings of loss, “like when you literally feel like the ground can’t support you, or that the person who’s holding you will drop you suddenly.”

Lauren grew up in a family of artists. She’s the oldest of four sisters, all artists: one sister is a violist, one is a playwright, and another a glassblower. She had never practiced circus arts – she had been on the track to become a writer. But while studying English at Swarthmore College, Lauren encountered the writings of a dancer and acrobat that guided her in another direction. “I’ve had chronic pain for most of my adult life. She wrote about her body as though it were a companion, a creative project, a creative constraint, something to take care of, and something that took care of her. I was mesmerized by the possibility that really anyone could relate to their body that way, and I thought, I want that.” She began learning the trapeze in 2009, and found that the nature of the exercise, along with becoming stronger, diminished her pain. All at once, she found herself falling in love with the art form of trapeze. “I loved the way it married these concrete visual metaphors with these surreal actions, like spinning upside down.”

With a couple of friends, she started Tangle Movement Arts in 2011, as an all-women group that was barreling head-on into a new and growing contemporary circus arts movement. Their first show, Ampersand, was in the Fringe Festival that year. Since then, they’ve put on two major shows each year, along with smaller pop-up productions in between. Even though she’s from Philly, she found herself thrown into the Philly arts scene in a new way, discovering that it was a vibrant and innovative community. She met many artists that moved Philly specifically to make art. “I’m finding that it’s such a welcoming community, and the different artistic communities have such great overlap.” One of these artists was Megan Gendell, who wrote the words that inspired Lauren back in college and changed the way she viewed her body. (She has since collaborated with Tangle, in past shows Tell it Slant and Points of Light.)

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“I think I’m a full-time movement researcher”

Posted September 18th, 2015

Zambrano-1024x683

Did you get tickets for David Zambrano’s Soul Project, up tonight and tomorrow at Christ Church Neighborhood House? No? Sorry, it’s sold out. Your humble blog manager won’t even be able to go . Lucky for you, whether you have tickets or not, we’ve gotten permission to run an interview from Nouvelles de Danse 32/33 with David to give you some insight into his processes. The interview was conducted by Agnès Benoit in May 1995, during the workshop “La Composition Instantanée — Approches et techniques d’improvisation,” organized by Mark Tompkins at the TCD (Théâtre Contemporain de la Danse) in Paris.

How would you define yourself as a performer? Do you consider yourself as an improviser?

Yes, before anything else I like to see myself as an improviser. I like improvisation a lot. That’s what I’ve been doing since I started, somehow without knowing what I was doing until I met Simone Forti and other people, but especially Simone. When I saw her doing… (David imitates animal sounds), I said — “that’s what I love to do.”

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“Underground Railroad Game” on Radio Times Today!

Posted September 8th, 2015

Underground RR Game DypticheditedshirtTop of the morning to you! Underground Railroad Game has been in the works for a while, and premiered in its full glory here at the 2015 Fringe Festival. It’s also a “huge hit,” and wildly interesting, according to just about everybody.

Fresh off their audio diaries for WHYY’s Morning Edition, Jenn Kidwell and Scott Sheppard are slated to talk Underground Railroad Game on Radio Times today, live, in hour 2 (11:00 am). If you miss it, audio usually goes up in the afternoon. But you won’t miss it, right? Right.

Tangle Movement Arts brings new circus arts show to Christ Church

Posted March 31st, 2014

“I love the chance to have a dozen women perform on stage together, with different body types, gender presentations, and personal styles, and illuminate their individual stories and their interactions.”

Tangle - Timelines 1 - Anne Saint PeterCircus arts has taken root in Philadelphia over the past several years, with a number of artists and companies opening up creative approaches that push the form in new directions. Tangle Movement Arts, one such company, integrates typical circus elements, such as acrobatics, into dance and theater. This weekend the company’s new production Timelines uses this combination to create a narrative about time, evolution, and the female body, spanning past, present, and future eras. The show premieres at Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 North American Street, April 3 to April 5. We caught up with artistic director Lauren Rile Smith who filled us in on the inspiration for Timelines, the women performing in the show, and the performance space.

FringeArts: How did the idea for Timelines begin and how did it evolve?

Lauren Rile Smith: Like the rest of Tangle’s shows, Timelines was built by all the performers in a long-term collaborative process. We started sharing ideas and putting together the concept in October 2013, right after our Fringe Festival performance Break/Drift/Resist. This show’s theme is female bodies in time, so it developed into a mix of shorter aerial solos that focus on aspects like evolution, healing, and aging, even comic timing—and then, for our final act, a half-hour long ensemble piece inspired by tropes from feminist science fiction. The final act, “Tomorrow Girl,” is a fantasy of time-travel in which a 1950s secretary daydreams of a radically different future—and then finds herself transported there.

Tangle-Rehearsal3FringeArts: Are you working with any new performers for Timelines? What are some of things you are doing that are new for a Tangle performance?

Lauren: Timelines includes Tangle’s core nine-woman ensemble, plus a few guest artists, including Meredith Rosenthal and Caitlin Donaghy. Meredith’s act echoes life evolving on earth millennia ago, rising out of the ocean and into the air via body contortion and aerial rope. Caitlin is a hoop artist, and she, Lee Ane Thompson, and I are creating a three-person dance that moves between the ground and the air, inspired by the precise mechanism of clockwork and the lightning-quick connections you might make when meeting a new person for the first time.

Additionally, I’m excited that our friends Megan Gendell and Lauren Feldman from the world-famous New England Center for Circus Arts will be performing as special guest artists. Their dynamic, playful duo trapeze act is really stunning and I got to preview it when we performed with them at the HOT! Festival in Manhattan last year. We’re thrilled to have them perform with us in Philadelphia!

FringeArts: What makes you most excited about this show?

Lauren: I love the chance to have a dozen women perform on stage together, with different body types, gender presentations, and personal styles, and illuminate their individual stories and their interactions. From a storytelling perspective, I’m most looking forward to Timeline‘s big finale, which is a love letter to science-fiction tropes. In creating it, we talked a lot about movement styles for different people and times: if the 1950s secretaries have very purposeful, direct gestures, maybe the people of the future are fluid and indirect by contrast, and they would consider, for example, a handshake to be the height of rudeness. We got to explore a lot of swinging, spinning, sliding movements for the people of the future, including my personal favorite, a brand-new aerial apparatus made of multiple loops suspended from the ceiling.

And purely from my perspective as a producer, I’m very excited to be at Christ Church Neighborhood House, a beautiful theater. Tangle’s full-length performances have typically taken place in giant warehouses where we build a temporary theater just for the length of the show so it’s a big treat to have lighting, seating, and a tech booth already in place! And the Neighborhood House brings together such a great range of smart, innovative dance and theater; we’re glad to be joining their community.

Sweet, thanks Lauren, we look forward to the performance!

Timelines
April 3 + 4 at 8pm
April 5 at 3pm + 8pm
Christ Church Neighborhood House
Tickets ($15-20) available at www.tangle-arts.com

Photos: Anne Saint Peter (top), Michael Ermilio (bottom)

GO SEE us.

Posted May 25th, 2012

The promo pic.

Next weekend (May 31–June 2), contemporary dance companies  <fidget> and anonymous bodies team up to bring the world to us. Kate Watson-Wallace and Jaamil Olawale Kosoko will perform their new duet, anonymous bodies (yes the title does reflect the name of the company), Jaamil will perform his new solo, other.explicit.body., and <fidget> will perform Subject in Two Parts featuring Megan Bridge, John Luna, Lorin Lyle, Rebecca Sloan-Potash, and Annie Wilson. The show is at Christ Church Neighborhood House (20 North American Street–by 2nd and Market Streets). Check out details here. I caught up with <fidget> artistic director and choreographer Megan Bridge to get the skinny on us.

Live Arts: How did the title us. come about?

Megan Bridge: It seemed like the most simple, honest title we could think of. It’s just us. Nothing more, hence the period! It’s about our work and how it fits together. All the work deals with identity, or self-hood, or the fiction of all of that.

LA: How did the grouping of artists come about?

MB: Jaamil and Kate asked me to join forces with them, we all feel an affinity to each other’s work. We all have a dark side, we are experimental, edgy, often use social commentary, often use technology.

Megan in rehearsal with Annie Wilson.

LA: Tell us about the show.

MB: I premiered Subject in Two Parts in 2008 in a New Edge Residency at the CEC [Community Education Center at 35th and Lancaster in Powelton Village]. I am so excited to be doing it again. I never felt finished with it, and a lot of its ideas are still current to me. I’m interested in the idea of subjectivity and how that word is conceived of in philosophical or theoretical frameworks. The idea that the self is a fiction, that there is no unified subject but that we are created by layer upon layer of our experiences, relationships, exposure to media, a product of our environment. It’s not like there’s some core nugget of Megan-ness that is underneath all of these layers. I am the layer, the layers are me. As for Kate and Jaamil’s works, I have to say I know NOTHING about either of them, I can’t wait to see them next week in tech!

LA: There are lots of events surrounding the show. Why did you want to do this?

MB: Originally we had planned to run the show for two weekends, but as the date got closer we realized we didn’t want to spread our audiences too thin and especially over Memorial Day weekend! But we got an amazing grant for the space (Dance UP’s New Stages for Dance) and wanted to take advantage of having it, so we decided to do some fun stuff, get the word out about our show and t reach some of the tourist population in Old City over the holiday weekend. We’re considering it as an audience building opportunity to some extent. Also a way to get people to engage in more parts of the creative and production process with the open rehearsals, discussions, etc.

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