Posts Tagged ‘Headlong Dance Theater’

A New Book To Help Artists Live Better, Smarter

Posted June 20th, 2014

The book.

“I wrote the book that I wanted to read. This is the book I wish someone had given me twenty years ago.”

Are you an artist in Philadelphia, thinking, How the hell does this work?

There’s a new book in town for artists to help get themselves to live a more fruitful artistic life and career and it’s FREE (the PDF version anyway, the handsome trade paperback costs $18). Making Your Life As An Artist by Andrew Simonet, grew out of Andrew’s work at Artists U, a planning and development program for artists, which he founded in 2006. (Andrew was also a co-founder and co-artistic director of Headlong Dance Theater.) Since much of the wisdom of the book grew out of living an artistic life and career in Philly, this is a must read if you are a performing artist in Philadelphia! The landscape is different here than in New York or L.A., even though those cities’ narratives still drive much artistic thinking and/or dreaming. Making Your Life As An Artist will help you take a long view and help you plan and develop your artistic career while also getting you to see your life outside of your work as part of that equation. We caught up with Andrew to fire off three quick questions.

FringeArts: Why did you write Making Your Life As An Artist?

The author.

The author.

Andrew Simonet: I wrote the book that I wanted to read. This is the book I wish someone had given me twenty years ago. I need to be reminded of the sacred role artists play and the astonishing skills artists have. Doing this work with artists [at Artists U] for the last ten years, I’ve always worked face-to-face, always real bodies in a room, sharing a dialogue. It’s probably my performance background that makes me feel so strongly about presence and sharing space with people. But there’s a limit. More people have downloaded this book in the last day than I will ever work with in Artists U. That’s sobering to me and exciting. With the designer, brilliant artist Anthony Smyrski, we asked: what is the physical object and virtual object that will be like an Artists U workshop? How can we use this scalable system to convey the work? So there’s lots of negative space, lots of room around each thought, and a tone that is more like speaking than writing.

FringeArts: How many books have been downloaded?

Andrew Simonet: 3,300 as of 9 pm on June 19 [Ed note: less than 48 hours after going on sale!]. I’m thrilled about that. It’s exactly what I want for this book: take it, read it, share it. Several folks have said they emailed the book to all their students, which I completely encourage, so we’ll never know the total reach.

FringeArts: What are you reading now?

Andrew Simonet: The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality by Angus Deaton. It’s a brilliant account of how humans escaped the grinding poverty and short life expectancies that dominated human life for tens of thousands of years. In the last 300 years, we are suddenly dramatically richer and live much, much longer and healthier lives. It’s a book about that astonishing and rapid shift, and about the rise of inequalities. Everyone should read it, if only for Deaton’s distinction between good inequality—rich people develop a technology, like indoor plumbing or eyeglasses, that trickles down to everyone—versus bad inequality—rich people control the political process to keep others down.

Making Your Life As An Artist
By Andrew Simonet
Download for FREE! Or purchase the paperback right here.
For more info on Artists U: www.artistsu.org

—Josh McIlvain

No Snooze in This News

Posted September 10th, 2012

Spooky spooktacular! Not really. But after the jump, coverage of Fringe in cemeteries, my friend Cherri interviews Jumatatu Poe for KYW, some top picks from our media posse, and more. Rounding up the roundups again, here we go:

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At Home with the Aryadareis

Posted September 4th, 2012

Another piece of Newsworks’s coverage of This Town is a Mystery is this excellent interview with Andrew Simonet and Amy Smith of Headlong Dance Theater, and with the Aryadareis themselves. Watch:

This Town is a Mystery
opens Friday, September 7 and runs every night of the festival. Locations vary, but all will be revealed to ticket buyers. All shows 7:00 pm; $35.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Roundup Roundup

Posted August 31st, 2012

It’s that time in a young cowboy/cowgirl’s life where we round up the roundups, as the Festivals are about to begin. Here’s some press and press-sorting of shows to help guide your way through the next three weeks:

>>>The South Philly Review has a beautiful cover story on the Aryadareis, one of the families performing in Headlong’s This Town is a Mystery.

>>>Great story from WHYY’s Peter Crimmins on the same. Hey, ditto for the Chestnut Hill Local!

>>>WHYY’s “Arts Calendar” pulls out some pics for the festivals, including Ivona, Princess of Burgundia, Brat RockPile, Tourettes: A Dancing Disorder, and Return Return Departure.

>>>uwishunu offers up lists of top participatory shows and top bets for unusual sites.

>>>Rep Radio‘s kicked off its podcast coverage of Live Arts and Philly Fringe this week. So far: interviews with Eric Balchunas about Wawapalooza, Whit MacLaughlin about 27, and commander-in-chief Nick Stuccio about all things festivals. Listen over here.

>>>J. Cooper Robb writes in Philadelphia Weekly about what is sure to be a most amazing post-show talk on body politics in the arts (following the single performance of Arguendo), featuring John Collins of Elevator Repair Service, Charlotte Ford (of this year’s Bang), and playwright Young Jean Lee (UNTITLED FEMINIST SHOW).

>>>Art Attack, the Daily News-Drexel U collab arts reporting project plugs Barbie Blended, this year’s first Philly Fringe offering (opens tomorrow, whoa!).

>>>Top ticket for Stage‘s Debra Miller? The Gate Reopened.

>>>The Montgomery News runs down the MontCo connections.

>>>Ditto for Mount Airy, via the Mount Airy Patch.

>>>Dispatch from central Jersey, who loves us. We love you too! Come on down!

–Nicholas Gilewicz

We’ve Been Curbed

Posted August 21st, 2012

The Aryadareis

Well, not curbed, thank the gods. But Curbed Philly has a really nice piece on Headlong Dance Theater’s 2012 Live Arts Show, This Town is a Mystery. Check it out here.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

This Town is a Mystery runs September 7 through 22 at four different households throughout Philadelphia. All shows 7:00 pm; $35.

Besties! Charlotte Ford and Headlong

Posted August 6th, 2012

Actually, do they hang out? I don’t even know. But in the department of PHILLY IS SO REAL, the arbiters of the very best of us, Philadelphia Magazine, gives the propers where the propers are due in their Best of Philly 2012 issue.

BEST DANCE COMPANY: Headlong Dance Theater, with a plug for their 2012 Live Arts show, This Town is a Mystery.

BEST THEATER ARTIST: Charlotte Ford, with a plug for her 2012 Live Arts show Bang.

Congrats, folks!

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Slightly Less Mysterious: Headlong’s 2012 Live Arts Show

Posted July 18th, 2012

At the 2012 Live Arts Festival, Headlong Dance Theater is taking it way indoors with This Town is a Mystery. Motivated by the fight against urban anonymity, this performance takes place in four different Philadelphia households, performed by the families that live therein. To get us started down this path, the show’s blog introduces us to the families. So far, we have the Bosticks (listen to them tell you Bostick must-knows here), and see if you agree with statements like this from the Aryadareis:

Mine too! Stay tuned for Headlong’s posts on the next two families, and see who you might want to have dinner with—after these folks welcome you into their home for a show, you’re going to sit down to eat together. Because breaking bread together is a great way to solidify intimacy and neighborliness, after all.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Headlong Dance Theater returns to the 2012 Live Arts Festival with This Town is a Mystery in September. Tickets on sale soon.

Artists & Their Coffee: Amy Smith

Posted April 30th, 2012

When Amy forgets to drink coffee.

 Amy Smith

Company: Headlong Dance Theater

Artistic occupation:
Co-director of above [and choreographer and dancer]

First experience with coffee that made you understand coffee: Living in Seattle in 1990, and having espresso for the first time. In the mornings I would drink a quadruple shot of espresso and then go to my shitty job at a record store.

Coffee you drink at home:
Starbucks from the ACME, or if we are lucky Blue Bottle (from SF) or Bucklyn (from Brooklin, ME).

How you like your coffee:
Half and half, no sugar

Average no. of cups per day:

Fave coffee shop: Old school = La Colombe, New School = Ultimo.

Fave fancy coffee drink: Dry cappuccino.

What’s the most inappropriate thing a barista has ever said to you?
 “You look tired.”

Enough about coffee, what are you doing now?
Getting ready for Desire, a new trio for Andrew Simonet, David Brick, and myself, directed by Elizabeth Stevens. May 4-6 at the Performance Garage.

Headlong’s DESIRE Arrives In May: A Quick Chat With Andrew Simonet

Posted April 5th, 2012

Andrew Simonet pauses before answering.

Headlong Dance Theater returns to the stage this May with a new show, DESIRE, directed by K. Elizabeth Stevens, and performed and co-conceived by Headlong co-directors Amy Smith, Andrew Simonet, and David Brick. The piece will be at the Performance Garage, 1515 Brandywine Street, one of my favorite places, May 4 and 5 at 8pm and May 6 at 3pm. A reception will follow the May 5 performance. We caught up with Andrew and had him give us the lowdown on DESIRE.

Live Arts: How did this project come about?

Andrew Simonet: We have been looking to get back on stage together. In the last decade, one of us has usually sat out to direct—or at least jumped in and out. There is an amazing clarity and connection we have when we are in the studio or on stage together. But when you run a company together your focus is on a lot of different things: the production, the design, the budget, the PR. Elizabeth, my wife, came to us and proposed directing us in a trio and it felt perfect. A chance to work together, create together, and share the stage—with someone else running the show!

LA: You, and your co-directors Amy Smith and David Brick are performing together. It seems like you’ve all been getting back on stage more lately. Why so, and what are you learning by doing so now?

AS: A lot of things can pull us away from performing. In 2008-2009, we did a project with Tere O’Connor, and none of us could be in the piece, so we spent two years working with our six dancers, and not performing. That process opened up a lot of possibilities in our work and our collaboration. We have new ways of developing and analyzing work. So being together as performers has a beautiful familiarity and a sense that there are new places for us to go together.

LA: How does the experience of performing differ now than from, say, 15 years ago?

AS: I can’t speak for everybody. But here’s what I would say: it’s clear. Like water. There is immediate recognition and understanding. You know where each person is going. You know how to say yes, and how and when to contradict.

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