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Posts Tagged ‘Peter Price’

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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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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