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Posts Tagged ‘Megan Bridge’

An Uncanny Approach to Presence: An Interview With Megan Bridge and Peter Price

Posted January 22nd, 2018

Sp3 is shorthand for “space, pulse, pattern, and presence,” four abstract concepts from which storied Philadelphia multimedia dance theater company <fidget>‘s latest show grew from. Developed over the last two years, this interdisciplinary work, utilizing music and movement, obliquely grapples with the increasingly post-human nature of modern living, where technology is wedged between us all, disrupting our interpersonal relationships as well as our relationships to time and our environment. The show seeks to disrupt this interference, positioning the notion of presence as something radical.

Recently we spoke with <fidget> co-founders and co-artistic directors Megan Bridge and Peter Price to learn more about the concepts behind Sp3 and the development of its music and movement.

FringeArts: What was the first idea behind Sp3?

Peter Price: Sp3 is shorthand for space, pulse, pattern, presence. So the initial kernel of the work came out of discussions around those somewhat abstract concepts. We knew we wanted to make a work in a way we have not in some time—mostly set choreography to composed music.

Our last large piece was to preexisting music by the late great composer Robert Ashley, and much of our collaborative practice involves improvisation of both music and dance. So it had been some time since I wrote a piece of scored music of significant scope and Megan choreographed to it.  We began by thinking about the different ways these concepts map to sound and to the body. What does pulse mean and how is it articulated musically or by a dancer? What does playing with pattern do compositionally or choreographically?

Megan Bridge: Peter and I were having brunch (sans kids . . . rare!) on the day after Dust closed at FringeArts, and we were discussing our next projects. We knew that Peter was going to be the lead artist on our next collaboration, and after making Dust I was really excited again about music coming first and letting the body be moved by sound, treating sonic material as a physical phenomenon in the space, and figuring out what it does to the other material that occupies that same space.

In terms of the evolution of the work, I’d say we started very abstract, just playing with material, but as stuff started to stick we realized it had this dark, uncanny vibe. The mood of the piece started to feel very related to our perception of the world around us right now—tension-filled, edgy. So for me the biggest evolution is witnessing that mood and subtle narrativity weave its way into the work.

FringeArts: How is Sp3 structured? What does that structure enable you to do?

Peter Price: Part of the original conception of the piece for me was that the music was going to be continuously pulsed over for about an hour. So the historical models would be the classics of “pulse-pattern minimalism” like Terry Riley’s In C or Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians. As we developed the piece that conception evolved and much of the first half of the piece is now concerned musically with non-pulsed dark atmospheres. The second half of the score remains continuously pulsed and unfolds in six main sections. Each of these sections, though sharing tempo and meter, has their own characteristic sound world and compositional approach to rhythmic pattern. A major concern compositionally is exploring the balance between novelty and redundancy so that the perception of the passing of time changes from section to section even if the clock time of the pulse does not.

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Fringe at 20 Profile: Megan Bridge

Posted June 24th, 2016

Name: Megan Bridge

Megan Bridge and Meredith Magoon. Photo: JJ Tiziou

Megan and Meredith Magoon. Photo: JJ Tiziou

Type of Artist: Dance, performance

Company: <fidget>

Fringe shows I’ve participated in: In the early 2000’s I co-produced, choreographed, and performed in several shows in the curated Fringe which at that point was application based. I was matched up by the festival with other choreographers and we shared double and triple bills. My wedding was a Fringe show in 2003. When the structure changed in 2004 I was curated into the festival one last time, and then my work wasn’t produced again by the Fringe until 2015, with Dust (and this was not part of the festival). More recently I’ve been involved with Fringe Festival shows as a venue manager of <fidget> space.

First Fringe I attended: 1997 was my first Fringe, I remember nothing except that the cabaret was at a place called Helena’s. The Late Nite Cabaret was always a highlight but I also remember some amazing outdoor theater in the Quarry Street alley, right next to what was then The Quarry Street Café.

First Fringe I participated in: I first participated in the Fringe in 2000, right out of college. I performed two solos, one choreographed by Rennie Harris and one by me. I think the show was just called Triple Bill . . . I was placed on a shared bill with Fleur Frascella, a bellydancer, and Rodney Mason, who was doing a solo show (he was then a Rennie Harris Puremovement dancer, and has gone on to do a lot of great acting stuff including playing Tony Sinclair, the Tanqueray gin guy). The most memorable part of that show was that Rodney, Fleur and I, total strangers to each other till that week, took all our completely different works and wove them together in a seamless program where we cross-faded all our pieces, sharing entrances and exits. That was my first “professional” gig and we got a great review by Merilyn Jackson in the Philly Inky, which called our show the Fringe’s sleeper hit!

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Fringe at 20 Profile: Mel Krodman

Posted June 21st, 2016

Name: Mel Krodman

Type of Artist: Performer, creator

Companies: I make and perform work with various ensembles including the Philadelphia-based companies Pig Iron Theatre Company, Team Sunshine Performance Corporation, and No Face Performance Group. And since 2010 I’ve worked in collaborative partnership with New Orleans-based choreographer Kelly Bond.

Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
Elephant, 2010, with Kelly Bond – performer, creator
Colony, 2012, with Kelly Bond – performer, co-choreogrpaher
Swamp Is On, 2015, with Pig Iron Theatre Company and Dr. Dog – performer, creatorIMG_4776

2016 Fringe show I’m participating in: Sincerity Project with Team Sunshine Performance Corporation (performer, creator).
Also in November my show JEAN & TERRY: Your Guides Through Dark, Light, and Nebulous will premiere at FringeArts.

First Fringe I attended: The first time I came to the Philadelphia Fringe Festival was with Kelly Bond when we were producing Elephant in 2010.  We were both still living in DC and drove into town in pouring down rain, rushing to make it to the Kimmel on time to see Jérôme Bel’s piece Cédric Andrieux. I was absolutely blown away by this work—instantly impacted, forever changed. As soon as the show was over we jumped back into the car and were rushing (possibly even more than before) to make it to Brian Sanders’ JUNK. It was a truly jam packed evening of dance work at two ends of a spectrum: Bell’s stripped down and Brian’s spectacle. From then on I was in love with Philly and totally hooked on the festival.

First Fringe I participated in: I was a co-creator and performer, along with Lillian Cho, in Kelly’s piece Elephant. Kelly had found a venue that was an artists’ collective—FLUX space—in North Kensington up near Allegheny and Front streets. Our piece was performed entirely in the nude, which was kind of hilarious in this raw space with fine sawdust everywhere. And it was hot out and we were sweating. So you can imagine. But that kind of artists’ space was so inspiring to see. It was my introduction to the badass DIY Philly art scene that I love. It was during this run of Elephant that we met the magnificent Megan Bridge of <fidget> space. She invited us to come back and perform Elephant at <fidget> the following spring. In 2014-15 Kelly and I were yearlong artists in residence with <fidget>, so we have Fringe to thank for launching a significant creative relationship and friendship.

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Catching up with fidget and Megan Bridge

Posted June 6th, 2013
Photo courtesy of Megan Bridge

Photo courtesy of Megan Bridge

In June 2009, Megan Bridge and her co-collaborator, the composer, designer, and musicologist Peter Price opened thefidget space, a warehouse, research laboratory, and hub for new forms of art, media, and performance in Kensington, Philadelphia. Since 2009, <fidget> has curated and produced 55 different programs ranging from free lectures to experimental dance, music, and theater performances. It is also a platform for Megan’s collaborative work with Price.

For those who have been to the performance space/loft/studio/home, seeing a show at thefidget space is a true underground-scene experience, and each time I go there I feel like I’m being let in on a secret society of dance artists. And a welcoming one, because there’s usually a loft-lounge vibe and beer. FringeArts recently sat down with Megan Bridge to catch on up on the latest at the space and her work as a dancer, choreographer, curator, and dance writer.

FringeArts: How has <fidget> evolved since its opening? 

Megan Bridge: When we first started hosting performances and other events in 2009, it was completely accidental. Some people caught wind that we had a big space and they asked if they could do their Fringe shows here. We were open to the idea, but the floors were really terrible for dance. So, they helped us install a floor! We said yes to almost everything when people started approaching us in the beginning. The main thing that has evolved is our curatorial vision. We didn’t really have a vision and just wanted to support as many projects as possible. Since 2009, we’ve cultivated a curatorial platform that revolves around experimentalism and shaping the discourse around what we’re making.

FringeArts: What are some things you would pass on to those thinking about opening their own space?

Megan Bridge: Over the last four years we’ve had to learn how to say no to people. It isn’t easy! Especially when we are saying no to friends and close colleagues. But this is one of the most important things we’ve learned. We’re still learning. It has protected us from burn out, although we are still doing way too much. It’s helped to create an identity for <fidget>.

FringeArts: What projects are happening at <fidget> with outside artists?

Megan Bridge: In our 2012-2013 season, we presented a ton of work by outside artists and a lot of work got made here. A major highlight of the season was our Deborah Hay Festival co-produced with Mascher Space Co-op last November. Another was the “Art of Noise” Cocktail Party we hosted in March, celebrating the centennial year of Luigi Russolo’s Art of Noise Manifesto with Alex Waterman, Aliza Shvarts, and other guest lecturers and performers. Our most recent events by outside artists were SHARE, an improv-jam session with a guest set by a great chamber ensemble called thingNY and our season closer, Katie McNamara’s Strung. With Mascher, we presented three mixed bills of choreography by twelve different local and New York artists and each of those shows also traveled to Center for Performance Research in Brooklyn.

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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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