Director of Programming Martin Wechsler brought to our attention this exciting new app that brings new meaning to “site-specific” work.
Fifth Wall is an app designed for the iPad that considers the digital tablet as a new performance space. It explores the unique spatial, visual, and temporal conditions of the tablet, and its possibilities for choreography. The performance was created to embrace the multi-directional orientation and gravitational pull of the iPad. Viewers can focus on a single dance, or move, sort, and re-frame the performance.
The project’s creators, Patsy Tarr and Abbott Miller of the 2wice Arts Foundation, teamed with award-winning choreographer and media artist Jonah Bokaer, who is no stranger to expanding the boundaries of live performance through digital media.
Take a look, and keep an eye out for 2wice Arts’ next app, which will feature a yet to be chosen choreographer from the ballet world.
The “divinely gifted artist” (The New York Times), Shantala Shivaligappa will make her Joyce debut with Namasya, a work celebrating her diverse choreographic influences that consists of four solos including one created by Ushio Amagatsu, Sankai Juku’s renowned artistic director, and another choreographed during her residency with Pina Bausch.
In this interview with Time Out New York’s Gia Kourlas, Shivaligappa (who Kourlas calls “one of the most transfixing dancers of our time”) talks about the artists and traditions that have influenced and inspired her. An excerpt follows. Read the full interview here.
Time Out New York: Did you conceive of Namasya as an evening of four solos?
Shantala Shivalingappa: Actually, it came into being at different stages. The first solo that I started working on was the one with Pina Bausch. It was intended for one of Pina’s festivals. This was in homage to a dear friend of hers, who had been very influential and present in my life, and who had just passed away. Somehow the time constraint was such that the solo wasn’t ready for the festival, but we continued to work on it for about three years off and on. I thought, I have this one solo: What can I do with this? I have admired [Ushio] Amagatsu’s work for a very long time. The thing is that he only choreographs for his own company, and he only works with Japanese men.
Time Out New York: How did you approach him?
Shantala Shivalingappa: I knew the person touring his work in France, so I asked, “Do you think I could put this request to him?” And he said, “Well, you know, why not? He appreciates your work and he has seen you dance. Ask him and you’ll get your answer.” [Laughs] I went to see one of [Amagatsu’s] shows when he was in Lyon, and I just candidly put this to him, and he said, “Let me think about it.” And very soon after, he gave me a positive answer. I was absolutely thrilled. The work with Pina, of course, was something that had started a few years before, because I had also worked with her company; it was much more familiar for me. Whereas working with Amagatsu was something completely different, even in terms of body language, movement—just everything. We worked for two weeks. He came into the studio with quite a clear idea of what the solo was going to be; the music was composed. But he left a few areas open for what would come up during our rehearsals. It was a wonderful experience. Unforgettable, really.
David Gordon’s unprecedented month-long engagement at Joyce SoHo continues through June 30, and critics and audiences alike are cheering!
On ArtsJournal, Deborah Jowitt calls Beginning of the End of the… a “fascinating, brain-tossing new venture” and applauds the “assemblage of wonderfully nimble-witted movers and talkers.” MORE…
On InfiniteBody, Eva Yaa Asantewa remarks, “Beginning runs only 60 minutes but packs enough verbal wit, choreographic elegance, visual playfulness and emotional vitality to supply 60 other dance makers.” MORE…
In her New York Times review, Claudia La Rocco notes the work’s “marvelously expansive dance interlude” and commends Mr. Gordon, “a smart, romantic trickster who began as a member of the groundbreaking Judson Dance Theater” for “taking all sorts of delicious liberties with canonical playwrights.” MORE…
For tickets to Beginning of the End of the…, visit Joyce.org.
Joyce SoHo intern Elmes Gomez interviewed Andrea Miller just days before the premiere of Gallim Dance’s SIT, KNEEL, STAND at The Joyce Theater, as a part of Gotham Dance Festival.
Elmes Gomez (EG): Tell me about how your company, Gallim Dance came to be, and what’s the inspiration for its name.
Andrea Miller (AM): Choreography has always been a big part of why I fell in love with dancing. My early dance training was in the techniques and performance of works by modern dance pioneers, like Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, Martha Graham, and Jose Limon. It wasn’t until I started working with living choreographers at the Juilliard School that I truly stopped to consider that you could be alive and choreograph! I was so inspired by the choreographers I was working with; I knew instantly that I wanted to be and do that.
I’ve always found ways to make dances. I think I have a good 30 studies of Mozart’s Requiems choreographed in my early teens, all set for one dancer and one bed. When I came back to New York after dancing with Ensemble Batsheva in Israel, I kept training as a dancer, thinking about where I could audition and where I might live. Classes were getting expensive, and what I missed more than anything was being in rehearsal and part of the creative process. It was at a Doug Varone workshop at Peridance that I first saw Francesca Romo dancing. It was as if she had walked right out of my imagination. And, I found myself saying, “whenever I have a dance company, I want to have dancers like her.” At the end of the week, I asked if she wanted to play in the studio with me, and we started making dances. It was such an amazing collaboration. I decided to stop looking out in the world for a dance life, and we started making our own. I guess at that moment Gallim Dance was born.
Gallim is Hebrew for wave. When I was living in Tel Aviv, I used to walk along the beach and watch the surfers. I decided that they understand this world. They are able to experience the shifting momentum surrounding them, understand its undeniable force, and at the same time carve their own path; a truly visceral experience. It’s an incredible metaphor for how a creative environment should be. We try to create this feeling at Gallim; to be aware of the tides surrounding our lives and offer a voice, an expression of that ride.
EG: As a choreographer, what is it about a dancer that catches your attention? Are there specific qualities or training that you look for in a dancer?
AM: It is hard for me to define any one thing that I look for in a dancer because most of the time it’s that thing you can’t define that makes the dancer attractive. I love to see dancers who take risks and observe the consequences of those risks.
EG: When you hit a road block during your choreographic process, what is it that gets to back on track?
AM: Definitely the dancers. They have a heightened sensitivity to the way my process unfolds, and I look to them first when I need inspiration. We reengage the choreographic concept by sharing thoughts on where the piece is going, sometimes destroying the order of how things have been or taking breaks and talking nonsense. I draw a lot from literature and visual art and the conversations that I have surrounding those sources. When I’m really stuck, I shut myself into what the dancers call my office; I lay down on the floor, cover my face with my elbows and make no sound or movements.
EG: Tell me about Gallim Dance’s educational programming, for example, the sold out workshop with Dancewave on May 26. What effects do you think educational programming have on the dance field?
AM: Gallim Dance has partnered with Dancewave, a pre-professional arts training program, to fill what we have perceived to be a gap in dance education. Many dancers don’t exactly understand how their passion for dance connects with dancing professionally or dancing in the future. What we have co-designed with Dancewave is a partnership in which the students engage with Gallim to learn more about how passion can turn into a profession and fuel a creative environment.
At the core of this program is our individual and group mentoring initiative, which offers students an opportunity to express what they have experienced both in and out of the studio in their dance life. We want the students to be able to hear how the Gallim dancers deal with some of those issues in the professional world, and to learn some of the steps they can take to help cultivate their passion. A second important feature of this program is open rehearsals that will allow students to observe the creative/rehearsal process, the behavior of teamwork, and challenges that come with each individual’s body and mind in the work environment. Our mission is to teach our students to cultivate and demand passion in their lives.
This summer, we’ll be co-hosting our first pre-professional summer intensive with Dancewave. We’re looking forward to piloting the program and seeing what impact it has on the students’ perceptions of the field.
EG: The company will perform the world premiere of SIT, KNEEL, STAND on June 8th as part of the Gotham Dance Festival. How does this new piece differ from your past works? Does it mark a new direction in your choreography?
AM: SIT, KNEEL, STAND is a really different work for us. As a choreographer, I always try to insert a new challenge into the creative process. This time, I was inspired by the myth of Sisyphus, who was condemned to carry an immense boulder to the top of a hill, only to have it fall back down to the bottom, causing him to repeat the process for all of eternity. I was looking for an object that could help me tell his story, and I chose chairs because I felt that they are objects everyone has experience with.
I think Sisyphus’s story is a very human one. Maybe Sisyphus is stuck in a Greek myth, a victim of the Gods. But if you consider our daily rituals —how we push things around all day only to go to bed and wake up and push things around again — we probably appear no different than Sisyphus. I became creatively committed to this story after reading a quote by French philosopher Albert Camus: “We should imagine Sisyphus happy.” The piece takes on this challenge; the chairs act as a support and a burden (and is the source of some major bruises).
We use the voice in a conversational improvisation, which is a first for me. In making this piece, I have felt like Sisyphus himself occasionally haunted us in the studio. I’m excited about the work. I’m thrilled about the many discoveries we’ve had as a group. It’s been six weeks of getting to know Sisyphus and embodying the effort and releasing the story contained within the piece. I feel so lucky and happy to be making dances with the beautiful artists at Gallim.
EG: Tell us about Gallim Dance’s future plans. When can audiences next see your work?
AM: We’ll be at The Joyce June 8, 9, and 10! The company also looks forward to developing programming for its new home in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. We will be offering Gallim Open Class, open rehearsals, yoga and private Gyrotonic sessions with Fran. We hope you’ll come visit us!
We have some exciting tours coming up in the 2012-2013 season, including stops in Chicago, Atlanta, California, and Madrid. The company will begin creating a new world premiere at Montclair State University this summer as part of the Peak Performances series, and in the fall, I head to Holland to work with Nederlands Dance Theater 2.
And, Gallim Dance was selected as an inaugural recipient of the BAM Professional Development Program for 2012-2013, which comes with a performance in the brand new Fisher Building.
For tickets to see the world premiere of SIT, KNEEL, STAND – at The Joyce June 8, 9, and 10 – visit Joyce.org