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Posts Tagged ‘Dance’

Filipino Folkdance, Contemporary Ballet, and Motherhood: Annielille Gavino Kollman’s HERstory

Posted August 11th, 2017

Annielille Gavino Kollman in HERstory.

What do you get when you combine modern choreography, folkdance polyrhythms, and a baby? The dances of Annielille Gavino Kollman bring together eastern and western styles, while incorporating many other disciplines, and using a group of dancers diverse in both race and generation. Her newest work, HERstory, is a three-part production that investigates the theme of motherhood and culture, and is supported by the Small But Mighty Art Grant. Annielille’s dance is about her homeland (the Philippines) as a mother and acts as a celebration and portrait of the women there and around the world. She first learned dance as a folkdancer, and now incorporates the styles from her country into contemporary movements. Much of the work is autobiographical, expressing her experience as a mother and as a Filipina woman, but it also includes the backstories of the other dancers, who contribute vibrant rhythms by clapping, stomping, and yelling. Additionally, HERstroy features spoken word through poetry written by the dancers and Lenora Howard, film projection by Jasmine Lynea Callis, and music composed by Maya Simonee.

Born in the Philippines, Annielille lived there until coming to New York after college. She attended the The Ailey School of dance in 2000, which caters to minorities who were often overlooked in the world of ballet and modern dance. She left the country “on impulse” but she also left to escape extremely difficult circumstances. She was tired of being silenced as a woman, and of experiences of abuse by men.  “I was too vocal. I think that was the problem for them. I was too strong to be a submissive wife.” She had been dancing since she could remember, and was a highly skilled folkdancer. “It was just a way for me to get out of the country so I just followed that, because I was good at it. It became cathartic to me, too, so I just kept doing it.”

After studying at Ailey, she danced around the United States for different companies, touring in Colorado, and then in Texas. Later she moved to Virginia, where she found very little creative dance, and a society that was less accepting of her than they had been in New York. “It was very segregated,” she says. “Being in a place where I saw Confederate flags every day of my life, I started to make art. I became a political artist at first, and more of a performance artist.” She had her daughter, and started teaching her dance. “When I didn’t have an outlet for dance, I started teaching her texture, colors, and letters through dance.” She also started choreographing for a Filipino folk dance group, and began teaching her folk dances. She moved to Philadelphia two years ago, a welcome change. “I liked the grit, and a little bit of a faster pace. I love the row houses, and the little streets, where people can connect easier than in wider, suburban space. I feel more at home in cities like this.” Once in Philadelphia, she started dancing for Kun-Yang Li/Dancers, and soon, creating her own projects.

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Moving Against the Tides with Olive Prince

Posted August 9th, 2017

Olive Prince and Brandie Ou in Silencing the Tides

“In watching the tide and the ocean, I think a lot about how it slowly and suddenly shifts. You have to look at it closely, but it totally changes, from the beginning of tide to the end of tide. And I hope I do that with this space.”

Olive Prince founded her dance company in 2008, and since then, has been devising, creating, and teaching highly dynamic works of art. Olive Prince Dance (or OPD) works are often site-specific, such as past productions in the Magic Gardens and in the Iron Factory. For this year’s festival, however, the show is held in the Ballroom Philadelphia, and she is working with visual artist Carrie Powell as a conceptual collaborator for the show. Carrie is building a sculpture that will create an entirely new type of space for the dance. The show, called Silencing the Tides, is a work that exists under and around a large sculpture fabricated from clothing. The show is based on the idea of free will, juxtaposed with messages and metaphors from nature. She evokes strong images of the ocean’s tide, many of the ideas growing from the feeling of sand and the changing nature of the waves. The dancers sway between working together as large forces, and breaking out into their own movements. Sometimes calm, sometimes violent, they may break down barriers as if they were bodies of water, or they may escape each other as if they were sand.

Olive and Carrie are close friends, and the idea for Silencing the Tides grew out of conversations they had together last year. “We’re both artists, and we’re both mothers, and we often spend time together with our kids talking about art.” Carrie often writes poetry and creates drawings to go along with the ideas. She started making drawings that looked like piles of laundry. They talked together and started thinking about ideas of free will, as well as the forces of nature. Olive was drawing inspiration from literature she was reading, including “The Things they Carried” by Tim O’Brien:

“They did not submit to the obvious alternative, which was simply to close the eyes and fall. So easy, really. Go limp and tumble to the ground and let the muscles unwind and not speak and not budge till your buddies picked you up and lifted you into the chopper that would roar and dip its nose and carry you off to the world. A mere matter of falling, yet no one ever fell.”

She also brought in pieces of The Venerable Bede, from 703 CE (“The most admirable thing of all is this union of the ocean with the orbit of the Moon…the sea violently covers the coast far and wide…unwittingly drawn up by some breathings of the Moon.”) as well as Johnathan White and Mary Oliver’s short story, “Swoon.” “I had this really strong image of free will,” she says, “and going against the tide, and so we started exploring that.” Eventually the conversation between Olive and Carrie became the basis of the work. These conceptual conversations combining ideas from movement, visual art, poetry, are integral to the creation of new work, and it has become a defined process that they call in-the-round reciprocity.

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It Wasn’t Me

Posted June 20th, 2016

FB headers DJ-03

Join us as we reminisce of the past and deny everything she ever caught you doing.
FEATURING:
00s HIPHOP/DANCE/POP
SHAGGY
TRL VIBES
BLEACHED HAIR
PRE-07 MELTDOWN BRITNEY
Our very own “IT WASN’T YOU” CONFESSION BOARD-All night we be accepting confessions and denials for anything you may or may not have been caught doing, JUST SAY IT WASN’TYOU!!!

The Queer Agenda

Posted June 11th, 2016

Queer-Agenda-Post-CardCelebrate Pride Month the best way you know how… by dancing all night long! Saturday, June 11th at 10:30pm FringeArts is hosting a FREE night full of music and dancing with beats from DJ Dame Luz. With his mix of pop, rap, and house featuring queer anthems and artists, you will be begging your friends to cancel the uber ride home!

FREE

Fringe Festival Sneak Peak: nora chipaumire

Posted June 6th, 2016

nora chipaumire is bringing her dance-theater work, portrait of myself as my father, to the 2016 Fringe Festival, co-presented with the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Here is a video in which chipaumire discusses her piece and process.

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

Posted September 18th, 2015

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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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On “Available Light”

Posted September 13th, 2015
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Finished

Perhaps I’m a wee bit emotionally fraught, but I almost cried twice at the beauty of Lucinda Childs‘s Available Light during opening night. The sold-out run closed Saturday, but we have a great interview that Lucinda did with Alisa Regas of Pomegranate Arts, below for your perusal. Whether you saw the piece or not, they offer an excellent overview of its creation, Childs’s collaborations over the years, and the processes of remounting past works. They spoke in October, 2014:

Alisa Regas: I’d like you to describe some of the history of Available Light and what the work is.

Lucinda Childs: In 1983 I choreographed Available Light, a 55-minute work with music by John Adams, décor by the architect Frank Gehry, and costumes by Ronaldus Shamask. And this was commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, in particular by Julie Lazar, who came to BAM [Brooklyn Academy of Music] in 1979 and saw Dance, my first major collaboration after working on Einstein on the Beach in 1976 with Robert Wilson and Philip Glass. In any case, once she saw Dance, which had a film décor by Sol LeWitt, and music by Philip Glass, she had the idea to commission a work for the west coast, and we met, and she said to me, “Do you know John Adams, by any chance?” And I said, “Yes, I know John Adams,” I knew perfectly well who he was, and had some of his recordings, and she also mentioned Frank Gehry, another very famous person on the West Coast, and the idea of a possible collaboration between these artists, the three of us, together. I thought it was a marvelous idea, and I came out to MOCA to meet with them, and we sat and we talked about it. John was very interested in the idea of creating a work for a dance company, and we talked about the fact that dancers, my dancers in particular, are used to working with a certain kind of pulse, or a certain kind of rhythmical structure that we can follow, which is very much the case with the music of Philip Glass. He more or less abided by that with his music, which is completely different from Philip Glass, but there are some parts of the music, which actually don’t have a metrical base, but they’re very beautiful passages, so I learned to work with my company in a special way regarding the music. Frank Gehry said, “I really need to meet with you, I really need you to come back out again, we need to talk about this and figure out what we are going to do.” So I came back out to Los Angeles, to his wonderful office in LA, and I said, “I like the idea of something perhaps on another level, perhaps on the sides,” and he liked this idea very much and did some drawings and sketches and we finally decided that this split level would be a lovely idea for the piece.

After the jump: set, materials, site-specificity, and returning to past work.

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“Very Provocative and Rude”

Posted September 10th, 2015

Still-Standing-You_pers-2---PhileDeprez7522-202x300Did you catch the excellent interview with Pieter Ampe in Philadelphia Magazine‘s “The Ticket”? No? You should. Sarah Jordan talks to him about the intensity of Still Standing You, which has it’s last performances tonight and tomorrow at the Painted Bride. There are promises of ball-tugging. Tickets here.

Photo by Phile Deprez.

Monday Night is Scratch Night: the Itch Returns!

Posted August 24th, 2015

Welcome back to Scratch Night at FringeArts!

Come see a roster of Philly’s most talented artists perform new material from shows they are working on in this fast-paced sampling of contemporary theater, dance, performance art, and everything in between. Scratch Night features short performances by four-to-six companies/artists, offering an inside look at the future of performance.

This week’s lineup includes artists from our 2015 Northern Liberties Fringe, South Philly Fringe, and Fishtown-Kensington Fringe festivals. Performances begin at 7 on our main stage at FringeArts at 140 N. Columbus Boulevard. Admission is free!

MONDAY, AUGUST 24 LINEUP:

Gunnar Montana: PURGATORY

hires_purgatory-5Gunnar Montana takes us to church with another wickedly beautiful production – his most mature and thought-provoking work yet. Be baptized in this raw and sometimes uncomfortable exploration of the state of Purgatory, examined through a series of very human struggles that bring people to their knees each and every day

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Sanders’ JUNK: American StandardAmerican-Standard_JUNK-crop-300x141

Escape the crush of urban living and be transported to a more bucolic way of life; American Standard mulls JUNK’s evocative style with the twangs of bluegrass, the sweet smell of rotting hay and bare flesh atop a shaggy Hereford. Where will a quest for a more tranquil existence lead us? Our roots hold a certain veracity…

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Center City Fringe: Get into the GROOVE!

Posted August 17th, 2015

Philadelphia Fringe Festival favorite Tongue & Groove, Philly’s cutting-edge critically-acclaimed unscripted theater company, announces a first-time collaboration with blues dancers and musicians for a unique improvised performance based on personal information from the audience. Founded in 2006, Tongue & Groove has created nine unscripted show formats, including their popular SECRETS, in which the actors are inspired by the audience’s true secrets. Tongue & Groove has been invited to perform at the Kimmel Center for both Philadelphia International Festivals of the Arts. For PIFA 2013, Tongue & Groove collaborated with dance company RealLivePeople and developed THAT TIME. That collaboration was so successful that Tongue & Groove Artistic Director, Bobbi Block, was eager to find another project in which improvisational dance and music could share the stage with the actors. That desire is being realized with GROOVE

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FringeArts: What can audiences expect when they come out for a performance of GROOVE?

Bobbi Block: When the audience arrives, they will be asked to anonymously write on a card their response to this prompt: “Describe a specific time when you were in the groove…with yourself, a partner, a group, or something you were doing.” The ensemble will draw random cards, read them aloud, and begin riffing off of the themes and characters submitted. Tongue & Groove is dedicated to exploring the collaboration between artist and patron, reflecting the spirit of each audience at every one-of-a-kind performance.

FringeArts: How do you use music and dance in the show?

Bobbi Block: GROOVE will follow Tongue & Groove’s signature format, creating a montage of scenes and monologues, both comic and dramatic. Interspersed in the montage will be blues dances that comment on and interpret the themes and characters created by the actors, inspired by the audience.

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Got an Itch? Come to Scratch Night!

Posted August 17th, 2015

Tonight is Scratch Night at FringeArts!

Come see a roster of Philly’s most talented artists perform new material from shows they are working on in this fast-paced sampling of contemporary theater, dance, performance art, and everything in between. Scratch Night features short performances by four-to-six companies/artists, offering an inside look at the future of performance.

This week we are hosting 6 artists from this year’s Center City Fringe, South Philly Fringe, Fishtown-Kensington Fringe, and Fairmount Fringe lineups. The performances begin at 7 on our FringeArts stage at 140 N. Columbus Boulevard. Admission is free!

So, what’s on tap?

MONDAY, AUGUST 17 LINEUP:Loves-Labours-Lost_Revolution-Shakespeare-271x300

 

Revolution Shakespeare: Love’s Labour’s Lost

“To fast, to study, and to see no woman,” (IV, iii) agree the gentlemen of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy of love, clowns, and wit. RevShakes’ second free fall outdoor production will be directed by Samantha Bellomo, and feature live, original music. Shows will run Fringe and post-Fringe, through Sept. 27th.

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Photo Credit: Geoff Sheil

New Street Dance Group + The Radical Sound: Structurally Sound
NSDG and new music ensemble The Radical Sound bring you a performance experience that begs the question, “Just what are we made of -and how stable is it, anyway?” Featuring choreography by Krista Armbruster and Shannon Dooling, re-imaginings of historic music, and a world premiere commission by composer Tomek Regulski.

Haygen Brice Walker: Spookfish11707785_10153020872795980_2634809601896238907_n

A haunted house that’s not a haunted house… until it is. A play
about slasher flicks, the horrors of high school, firework accidents, cat colonies, and a Canada Goose. The meanest play in this year’s Neighborhood Fringe will have you guessing who’s the Spookfish until the end. *Audience members must sign a waiver.

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Photo Credit: Kaitlin Chow

Olive Prince Dance: Of Our Remnants

The stage is set with a collection of chairs, empty frames, and abandoned objects for a dance of expressive physicality to emerge. Of Our Remnants is an intimate site-specific work where visual art and dance collide. The viewer is immersed in the installation creating an absorbing impact from all vantage points.

 

Brian Shapiro Presents: A Few Thousand Upgrades Later

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Photo Credit: Kevin Monko

In 1995, nobody downloaded, payphones existed, and performer Brian Shapiro created a show on how people predicted computers would impact human interaction. 20 years later, we download daily, payphones died, and Shapiro revisits that show to raise questions in an era where waiting 15 seconds for answers is wasting time!

Ferdinand Presents: NOT FOR PROFIT

Slide2by
MJ Kaufman
Doug Greene
Jennifer MacMillan
Christina May
and Jack Tamburri
The theater is dying. Only three actors can save it by playing dozens of roles and telling all of their stories, from the box office to the boardroom, from the page to the stage, everything you love and everything you hate about theaters and theater people will be NOT FOR PROFIT.
Catch a glimpse of these performances in their infancy before they get all grown-up in September!

60 minutes

FREE / $5 Suggested Donation

140 N. Columbus Boulevard (at Race St.)
Philadelphia, PA 19106

-Brendan Farrell

 

Lovertits: Interview with Neighborhood Fringe artist Annie Wilson

Posted September 17th, 2014

Lovertits_Annie-Wilson-283x300“Multiple climaxes, drifting off, getting exciting again, plateau-ing out, calming down, another climax, some snuggling.”

In a performance she describes as a “burlesque-postmodern-dance-theater-bad-improv,” Annie Wilson explores our societal views on sex and the real, messy, embodied sex that humans actually have. Lovertits will run at the Ruba Club (416 Green St) from Sept 19 to Sept 21 in this year’s Fringe Festival.

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Oh My Goodness: Voguing Train

Posted August 19th, 2014

ICYMI: As featured on Huffington Post and Philadelphia Magazine, Kemar Jewel made the Broad Street line a bit more awesome recently:

(Did you know that we have shows involving voguing? Details here. And here.)

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Dancing through Diasporas: Interview with Shaily Dadiala of Usiloquy Dance Designs

Posted July 14th, 2014

“Moving to the United States changed everything.”

Shaily Dadiala in performance, 2014.

Shaily Dadiala in performance, 2014.

Shaily Dadiala, artistic director of Usiloquy Dance Designs, has been dancing Bharatanatyam, a classical Indian dance form, since childhood. After growing up in Bardoli, a city in Gujarat, India, Shaily moved to the United States, where she formed her own ensemble. Usiloquy presents innovative, cross-cultural Bharatanatyam dances informed by stories of immigration and multiculturalism. On Saturday, July 26th, Usiloquy Dance Designs performs an original dance, Ragas and Airs, combining Bharatanatyam dance and Celtic music. We caught up with Shaily to find out more about her life as a dancer

FringeArts: What kind of dance did you do growing up?

Shaily Dadiala: At age four, I was part of a kindergarten dance group in India. I distinctly remember rehearsals, shopping for jewelry with my mother, and dancing at the annual gathering on stage. It was a “welcome dance” inaugurating the event.

I started learning Bharatanatyam at age nine. You had to be sixteen years old in order to take the state board exam at the end of the seven-year course’s graduation. Before the formal training, I would excitedly throw my arms and legs around in make-believe dance concerts.

FringeArts: How did you decide to specialize in Bharatanatyam? 

Shaily Dadiala: I owe genuine gratitude to my parents for that. They recognized the dance itch in me as something that wouldn’t go away, something that needed formal nurture. My home town at that time offered structured training only in Bharatanatyam. My parents enrolled me, and I was entranced from day one. The style feels encoded, almost epigenetically, and it has never been a matter of choosing it over another.

FringeArts: Did moving to the United States change your relationship to dance?

Shaily Dadiala: Moving to the United States changed everything. Until then, Bharatanatyam was something I simply enjoyed. The experience of being an immigrant here—the pressure to assimilate, the desire to belong, the stereotyping—has deeply informed my dance discipline over the years. My dance practice has represented how I myself have navigated the tensions of creating a home here in the United States while I remain true to the classical grammar of Bharatanatyam movement. My inspiration comes from preserved music styles, folklore, and cultural practices of the myriad diasporas I see around me, and I see my journey reflected in theirs.

Usiloquy Dance Designs in performance, 2013.

Usiloquy Dance Designs in performance, 2013.

FringeArts: How did you decide to form Usiloquy Dance Designs?

Shaily Dadiala: I wanted to project my work through the texture and complexity that only an ensemble can bring to the stage. I quit my full-time job and established Usiloquy in 2008. Students had been taking classes with me since 2006, some of whom I invited to join the company. “Soliloquy” was my favorite Shakespeare word. Replacing “Sol” with “Us” to make “Usiloquy”—our conversations—seemed like a pretty neat neologism to me. Besides, Bharatanatyam was the only element that I could coherently tie to the narrative of my birth country.

FringeArts: What is it like to teach an Indian dance form in the United States?

Shaily Dadiala: It is mostly fun and interesting. I think the average dance student and aspirant dancer is hard working and eager to learn. Sure, there is plenty of background knowledge like the history of the dance, symbols from ancient scriptures, and cultural jargon that I cannot take for granted. Teaching non-South Asian students has become a refining mechanism for my historical knowledge! There is a healthy curiosity and yearning for training across all age groups and institutions, which is highly encouraging. There are some weird instances though, when Bharatanatyam is confused with Bollywood dance or belly dance.

FringeArts: How do you use the meeting of cultures to create work?

Shaily Dadiala: Music is the trigger, usually. If I hear certain music and it intrigues me enough, I start digging deeper into the culture at large. We all are immigrants, give or take a few years or a few centuries. Immigration creates diasporas, which, curiously enough, preserve old music and cultures more judiciously than their originating sources. As a choreographer, I seek points of intersection between my immigrant identity and adaptation of my classical dance training. I create works drawing upon the fundamental vocabulary of rhythmic footwork, hand gestures, and mime inherent to Bharatanatyam, juxtaposed with music and narrative devices not traditional to South Indian arts.

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So Much To Do This Weekend!

Posted May 27th, 2014

What’s come to our attention:

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27, New Paradise Laboratories

Remember New Paradise Laboratories’ hit performance 27 in the 2012 Fringe Festival? Whether you missed it the first time or are eager for more, 27 returns Thursday, May 29th through Saturday, May 31st at the Painted Bride Arts Center, 230 Vine Street. Members of the “27 Club” of talented musicians who passed away at the age of 27—Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, and Jimi Hendrix—explore purgatory and deal with a new arrival to their group. Questions of musical genius, mortality, and the afterlife coalesce in this performance pulsing with music composed by guitar prodigy Alec MacLaughlin. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, and can be purchased online.

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Kate Aid of Tangle Movement Arts. Photo by Michael Ermilio.

Looking for some circus arts this weekend? The Porch at 30th Street Station has been showcasing a series of dance and physical theater performances this spring and summer. On Saturday, May 31st at 2pm and 4pm, the Porch will come alive with acrobats and aerial dance in Tangle Movement Arts’ free performance of their new and original work Passages. The urban circus-theater will explore daily life in urban Philadelphia and play with the idea of 30th Street Station as a public center for Philadelphia. The rain date is Saturday, June 8th. More information can be found at: www.tangle-arts.com

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Performers in CATCH Takes Philly

After you leave 30th Street Station, head over to The Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N American Street at 8pm on Saturday, May 31st, for the explosion of performance events that is CATCH Takes Philly. Usually confined to Brooklyn, this weekend CATCH joins Philadelphia’s Thirdbird for a night of dance, theater, video, performance, and beer. CATCH Takes Philly will feature Tei Blow, Cara Francis, Meg Foley, Groundswell Theater Company, Cynthia Hopkins, Jaamil Kosoko, No Face Performance Group, Brain Osborne, Matt Romein, and Saúl Ulerio. Tickets are $15 at the door, beer included.

Round off your weekend by attending the culmination of a year of research into voice and movement improvisation by the Leah Stein Dance Company on Sunday, June 1st, at 5pm. The renowned composer Pauline Oliveros developed the deep listening method of incorporating environmental sounds into musical performance, and has been working with the Leah Stein Dance Company to explore the relationship between deep listening and movement. Oliveros, Stein, seven dancers, and seven singers will conduct a free performance, panel discussion, and opportunity for audience participation at The Performance Garage, 1515 Brandywine Street, this Sunday. More information can be found at: www.leahsteindanceco.org.

Leah Stein Dance Company conducing research with Pauline Oliveros.

Leah Stein Dance Company conducing research with Pauline Oliveros

–Miriam Hwang-Carlos

Preview: Colin Dunne’s “Out of Time”

Posted September 19th, 2013

Opening tonight! Here’s a taste.

You can also take an Irish step dance workshop with Colin on Saturday! If you’re interested, RSVP here.

Colin Dunne performs Out of Time September 19, 20, and 21 at the Painted Bride Arts Center, 230 Vine Street, Old City. $20-$35; all shows 7:00 p.m.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

New York Times: Road Trip to FringeArts for Dance

Posted September 3rd, 2013

thesociety1Siobhan Burke tells New Yorkers that it’s time to head to Philadelphia for “New Fringe”–I suppose we are rechristened, after all.

Adding to the growing tradition of The New York Times sending its readers here for shows, Burke calls out four pieces in particular: Jo Stromgren’s “darkly funny physical theater production” The Society, Brian Sanders’ “different kind of mayhem” in Hush Now Sweet High Heels and Oak, Reggie Wilson’s premiere of Moses(es) and Colin Dunne’s “singular deconstruction of Irish dance” Out of Time. Story here.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Photo by Knut Bry.

Other Blogs: Lessons From Newt Gingrich on How to Make America Love Performing Arts

Posted August 21st, 2013
Good people.

Good people.

A few months ago, Phindie.com, a new website covering Philadelphia theater and arts, re-publsihed an old blog post of mine from 2011 titled Lessons from Newt Gingrich: or how we in the theatre and dance communities can stop acting like losers and learn to make the nation love us. The article (originally published in the currently dormant theppaa.org), spurred by going through an old stack of New Yorkers and reading a profile of John Bohner, details his mentor Newt’s rise to prominence and his ability to change the course of a defeated Republican Party largely through rhetoric and looks to apply that same thinking to the performing arts. Rereading the article recently, I thought, wow, there’s some pretty good stuff in there that continues to be super-relevent.

Lessons from Newt poses a number of the following questions: “How often have you heard that performing arts are dying, that we’re a niche market, that you can never make a living off of it, that we’re a charity case? That dance and theatre will never be the way it used to? Have you ever caught yourself saying, as an excuse for some failure or inability to accomplish a simple task or even some slightly unseemly arrangement in your programming: well, you have to understand, that’s life in the performing arts.”

And goes on:

“Do you accept as given that theatre and dance will never be as culturally or socially as relevant as TV or film? Has it ever bothered you, that whether through foundation giving or corporate giving or the generosity of patron saints, that you have geared your programming, and by dint your organization, to appease the money that comes from those aforementioned sources, as oppose to appeasing your artistic vision and audiences? Yet you still make the spurious claim that you are not commercial because you have sold out to your funding “partners” as oppose to Dentyne?”

Who should come to the rescue of this dilemma? Newt Gingrich, that’s who! To quote from The New Yorker profile upon which Lessons is based:  “After Newt Gingrich served a few terms as a member of the Republican minority in Congress, a circumstance he detested, he devised a plan to achieve what most of his colleagues could scarcely conceive—a Republican majority in the House. Gingrich believed that the G.O.P. had been the minority party for so long—ever since the first Eisenhower Administration—that Republicans had lost the ability to imagine themselves as anything else.” (My emphasis.)

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The Weekender: PA Ballet’s Forsythe and Kylian, Martha Graham Cracker, your dad, and other sources of inspiration

Posted June 13th, 2013
Dancers Ian Hussey & Amy Aldridge

Dancers Ian Hussey & Amy Aldridge in Artifact Suite

The Pennsylvania Ballet  premieres a set of absolutely stunning contemporary ballets, Forsythe & Kylián starting June 13th and running through the 16th at The Academy of Music, 240 South Broad Street (at Locust), prices ranging from $20 to $125. One of the world’s foremost choreographers, William Forsythe creates precisely angular mechanics wrapped up in gripping physicality and arresting simplicity in Artifact Suite. Czech-born choreographer Jiří Kylián illustrates a somber kinetic masterpiece with Forgotten Land. Finally, Matthew Neenan, choreographer in residence, presents his intimate, youthful 14th commission, Forgotten Land.Try before you buy: check out this teaser! (TIX)

Martha Graham Cracker

Martha Graham Cracker

Come see the enormous, hairy-armed woman who gave me my first lap dance, Martha Graham Cracker, perform this Thursday night at L’etage at 8pm. For a fee of just $15, be enthralled by a riotous evening of post-illusionist drag cabaret complete with an accompanying live band, opening set by Philly Gayborhood comedian Alejandro Morales, and a guest appearance by Typhoon Sugarpants. Ages 21+ only!

Spend Saturday, June 15th, at the outdoor crafts market on the Porch at 30th Street Station, 2955 Market Street. Browse handmade jewelry, prints, clothing, candles, ceramics, woodwork, stationary, children’s gifts and more items inexplicably adorn with birds than you can imagine, all day from 11am to 4pm. That’s right 30th Street Station is getting in on that crafts fair thing. (VENDORS)

Alie & the Brigade (formerly known as Movement Brigade) will perform live interactive choral dance in celebration of the Schuykill, INVISIBLRIVER, at 8pm this Sunday, June 16th, and again on the 23rd.An ensemble of ten will perform Elliot Harvey’s compositions,while leading audience members on the Schuylkill River Trail as choreographed by Alie Vidich. Anyone interested should meet at the parking lot next to the St. Joseph’s University Boathouse, 2200 Kelly Drive in Fairmount Park. The event is completely free and age inclusive. PhiladelphiaDANCE Journal wrote about the sure to be dance spectacle here.

 

Paul DeLaurier, Dan Kern in Heroes

Paul DeLaurier, Dan Kern in Heroes

Lantern Theater Company  has extended its run until June 16th of Tom Stoppard’s adaptation of the French play Heroes showing at St. Stephen’s Theater, 10th & Ludlow Street. Winner of London’s Oliver Award for Best New Comedy, the play tails Mal Whyte, Dan Kern, and Peter DeLaurier as war heroes Gustave, Phillippe, and Henri as they plot their escape to Indochina or a picnic under a poplar tree (still undecided) from dictatorial captors, untrustworthy fellow prisoners, and far too many birthday parties. Bring someone’s dad on Sunday! He’ll get in for $10. (TIX)

–Maya Beale

Illadelph or Portlandia?

Posted September 18th, 2012

Ellen Freeman is a freelance writer and former Festival Blog intern who is based in Oregon.

We’re iller than thou. Portland’s still pretty awesome, though.

Remember the segment Adam Carolla used to do on the radio show Loveline called “Germany or Florida?” Oh, you had better things to do at 11:00 pm on weekdays than listen to ecstasy-addled sexually-active teens discuss their problems with Dr. Drew? Well the concept was simple: listeners would call in with bizarre news headlines like “Woman wearing sausage earrings is mauled by pack of toy poodles” and the hosts would try to guess whether the event took place in Germany or Florida.

Here at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe, we’ve come up with an even better game called “Philadelphia or Portland?” The two cities have been duking it out for supremacy in the categories of foodie snobbery, beer-lovers-per-capita, and rapidity of gentrification for years, but they’ve got something else in common—both are currently hosting some of the world’s finest performing arts festivals: the Time Based Art Festival in Portland and the Live Arts/Fringe Fest here, of course. We’ve compiled a list of highlights from both festivals, leaving it up to you to guess which city you can catch each event in. And before you say “That’s so ___________ (fill in city here),” remember that the answers may surprise you.

1) Shakespeare’s classic Antony and Cleopatra is transported through time and space to modern-day Egypt, as represented by the Nefertiti busts and sarcophagi of the Ancient Egyptian wing of the host city’s art museum.

2) Fat-livered audience members shotgun beers in time with the cast of a drinking-game-cum-sketch-comedy-show performed in a pub.

3) One of the creators of those wacky Old Spice commercials pulls audience members onstage for a live life-coaching session.

4) Audiences downward-dog and open their heart chakras to live acoustic music in a nirvana-inducing musical yoga journey.

5) More than 150 amateur dancers celebrate the joy of community in a performance that’s part flash-mob, part line dance extravaganza.

6) A genderqueer chanteuse belts out her R&B condemnation of societal evils like the gender binary and capitalism while making ample use of butt plugs and onstage golden showers.

7) An experimental American pop band plays auto-tuned covers of Tuareg desert jams.

8) A choreographer who suffers from Tourette’s syndrome crafts a dance inspired by her own tics.

9) Audiences will recognize the harsh fluorescent lighting and excruciating/hilarious mundanity of these gesture-driven vignettes depicting office life, performed in Japanese with projected English subtitles.

After the jump: Answers!

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