Blogs The Green Room matt peiken

Momentous Reflection

The Walker’s support of local artists is unassailable when it comes to contemporary dance. Every Thanksgiving weekend, our Choreographers Evening presents about a dozen young and emerging dancemakers — many making their first appearances at the Walker. This has gone on for more than 30 years, and the Walker can cover an entire dance floor […]

chris-schlichting_1.jpg maia-maiden-and-ellena-schoop_3.jpg

eddie-oroyan_3.jpg anna-marie-shogren_3.jpg

The Walker’s support of local artists is unassailable when it comes to contemporary dance. Every Thanksgiving weekend, our Choreographers Evening presents about a dozen young and emerging dancemakers — many making their first appearances at the Walker. This has gone on for more than 30 years, and the Walker can cover an entire dance floor with the names active artists who can chart their starts through Choreographers Evening. For some, the showcase has also been a stepladder into Momentum: New Dance Works, which the Walker presents over two weekends with (and at) the Southern Theater.

Next weekend’s Momentum opener spotlights new work from Chris Schlichting, a familiar face in avant garde local dance, and the hip-hop-inspired duo of Maia Maiden and Ellena Schoop. The following weekend gives rise to Anna Marie Shogren and Eddie Oroyan. Don’t be surprised if one or more follow in the steps of local artists such as Mathew Janczewski and Emily Johnson to earn full commissions from the Walker.

In pure cash, Momentum commissions are relatively modest compared to, say, the budget for the Walker to bring in an established artist to workshop new work and perform it, coupled with a residency, though the commissions also come with technical, administrative and marketing support from the Walker and Southern. As it happens, choreographers lucky enough to earn Momentum slots rarely pay themselves with commission funds, more often using them to rent studios and pay the dancers, composers and others who, to that point, have worked chiefly on the familiar artist barter of time and talent.

You don’t have to consider yourself a fan of contemporary dance to find charm in Momentum — just a supporter in the flight of local art. Momentum is a plus sign in the artist equation Talent + Commitment + Opportunity = Good Things. While Momentum is likely the first work you’ll see (or at least consciously notice) from these artists, it won’t be the last. Regardless of where or how we hear from them next, those who come through Momentum can stand alongside the likes of Trisha Brown, Merce Cunningham and Ralph Lemon as “Walker artists.”

IMAGES (clockwise, from upper left): Chris Schlichting; Maia Maiden and Ellena Schoop; Anna Marie Shogren; Eddie Oroyan.

eavesdrop 06.23.08

Untitled from matt peiken on Vimeo. Here are sights and sounds Saturday from the sold-out Rock the Garden concert in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (well, technically, the median between the Garden and the Walker Art Center … but we didn’t think Rock the Median sounded as catchy). I posted this video through Vimeo because it […]

Untitled from matt peiken on Vimeo.

Here are sights and sounds Saturday from the sold-out Rock the Garden concert in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (well, technically, the median between the Garden and the Walker Art Center … but we didn’t think Rock the Median sounded as catchy). I posted this video through Vimeo because it was too meg-heavy for YouTube.

eavesdrop 06.12.08

[youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=N_Nf-xMyAko[/youtube] Drop into a rehearsal for Songs of Ascension, the work-in-progress collaboration between Meredith Monk and Ann Hamilton. Performances are tonight through Saturday at the Walker Art Center’s McGuire Theater.

[youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=N_Nf-xMyAko[/youtube]

Drop into a rehearsal for Songs of Ascension, the work-in-progress collaboration between Meredith Monk and Ann Hamilton. Performances are tonight through Saturday at the Walker Art Center’s McGuire Theater.

MPR gets the lowdown on Ascension

MPR’s Marianne Combs produced an illuminating feature this morning on Songs of Ascension, the work-in-progress collaboration between musician/composer/vocalist Meredith Monk and visual artist Ann Hamilton. Performances in the McGuire Theater are tonight through Saturday. Monk and Hamilton first collaborated on Mercy, which the Walker brought to the O’Shaughnessy Auditorium in June 2003.

MPR’s Marianne Combs produced an illuminating feature this morning on Songs of Ascension, the work-in-progress collaboration between musician/composer/vocalist Meredith Monk and visual artist Ann Hamilton. Performances in the McGuire Theater are tonight through Saturday. Monk and Hamilton first collaborated on Mercy, which the Walker brought to the O’Shaughnessy Auditorium in June 2003.

Hamilton’s “Tower” — from the ranch to the theater

Meredith Monk and Ann Hamilton are in town studying, exploring and rehearsing in the McGuire Theater, preparing for Songs of Ascension. One key challenge — transferring the magic of Hamilton’s eight-story concrete Tower sculpture, on a private ranch in Geyserville, Calif., into a formal theater. Bay Area public broadcasting power KQED documented the creation of […]

Meredith Monk and Ann Hamilton are in town studying, exploring and rehearsing in the McGuire Theater, preparing for Songs of Ascension. One key challenge — transferring the magic of Hamilton’s eight-story concrete Tower sculpture, on a private ranch in Geyserville, Calif., into a formal theater.

Bay Area public broadcasting power KQED documented the creation of Tower — from Hamilton’s first conceptual meetings with the ranch owner who commissioned the piece, Steve Oliver, to the foundation pour to, eventually, the tower’s christening in 2007 through the vocal chords of Monk and her ensemble. It’s a beautiful, illuminating video, well worth watching for, among other reasons, the sense of Hamilton’s task at the Walker.

In an interview earlier this year about Songs of Ascension, Monk told WALKER magazine she might use the stairways and balconies of the McGuire to recreate the distance and verticality of a tower. Hamilton is likely thinking beyond that, to other (im)possible physical and metaphorical manifestations. One thing is certain — Songs of Ascension, a Walker co-commission, will go where neither Monk nor Hamilton have gone before.

eavesdrop 04.18.08

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30OdTXCbAtg[/youtube] To launch an exhibition of her drawings at the Walker, Trisha Brown performed on paper Thursday night — drawing in the Medtronic Gallery with cameras rolling and an audience packing the Walker Cinema to watch her process as it happened.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30OdTXCbAtg[/youtube]

To launch an exhibition of her drawings at the Walker, Trisha Brown performed on paper Thursday night — drawing in the Medtronic Gallery with cameras rolling and an audience packing the Walker Cinema to watch her process as it happened.

eavesdrop 04.17.08

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_Ri5o9iLeM[/youtube] Trisha Brown has spent much of this week at the Walker Art Center working with local dancers on the nuances of her choreography and preparing to perform a drawing tonight to launch an exhibition of her works on paper, So That the Audience Does Not Know Whether I Have Stopped Dancing. On Wednesday, in […]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_Ri5o9iLeM[/youtube]

Trisha Brown has spent much of this week at the Walker Art Center working with local dancers on the nuances of her choreography and preparing to perform a drawing tonight to launch an exhibition of her works on paper, So That the Audience Does Not Know Whether I Have Stopped Dancing. On Wednesday, in the Walker’s Medtronic Gallery, Brown coached a handful of Twin Cities dancers — Emily Johnson, Sally Rousse, Morgan Thorson and Galen Treuer among them — to work out the curves of Brown’s 1968 piece Planes. Brown’s own company performs April 25 at Northrop Auditorium.

Mondays with Merce

The New York Times reports that, starting next month, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company will show Mondays With Merce, an online video program featuring weekly episodes of the choreographer’s Monday class, on its Web site. As theTimes reports: The program has three major components. First, there will be 26 episodes online beginning in September. Each […]

The New York Times reports that, starting next month, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company will show Mondays With Merce, an online video program featuring weekly episodes of the choreographer’s Monday class, on its Web site. As theTimes reports:

The program has three major components. First, there will be 26 episodes online beginning in September. Each will include 30 to 40 minutes of technique class, edited and supplemented with interviews with Mr. Cunningham, collaborators like the artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg and some of the original dancers from the pieces, and archival material. The episodes will show the inspiration for dances and reveal the threads that link one work to another.

“ If the company is performing Ocean,’ which is based on the circle,” said Nancy Dalva, a dance historian who will be directing these edited episodes, “ we can go get archival footage of Beach Birds,’ which has the same circle in it, and show the same Matisse poster, which Merce saw in his dentist’s office before he made the dance.”

Cunningham and his entire troupe are performing Ocean Sept. 11-13 inside a granite quarry just outside of St. Cloud, Minn.

Everyone: Powerful, and then some

Miguel Gutierrez calls his company of dancers the Powerful People, and powerful they feel in Everyone, the dance-kissed piece of abstract theater opening Out There 20. At turns, the characters are also giddy people, awkward people, fascinated people, unsettled people, unbridled people, distracted people, determined people, nave people, idealistic people, vulnerable people, frustrated people, impressionable […]

Miguel Gutierrez calls his company of dancers the Powerful People, and powerful they feel in Everyone, the dance-kissed piece of abstract theater opening Out There 20. At turns, the characters are also giddy people, awkward people, fascinated people, unsettled people, unbridled people, distracted people, determined people, nave people, idealistic people, vulnerable people, frustrated people, impressionable people, lustful people and, through it all, hopeful people. Such is life as an American twentysomething, an age Gutierrez explores with layers of minimalist music and movement, fragmented text and crescendos of intensity.

At the Walker, Gutierrez seats his audience backstage in the McGuire Theater, on cushions and small risers facing the curtain. Against the beat of clanging hi-hat cymbals and the drone of keyboard and guitar, Gutierrez and his players emerge one after the other and, over the next 75 minutes, slowly discover and reveal themselves and each other. Aside from a funny, rambling nonologue (all nine players deliver a journal entry in unison), there’s little text here. Gutierrez moves his players from one place to the next, both physically and metaphorically, with the patience of a sunrise, stringing repetitive sound and movement to the breaking point before releasing the tension. It’s one of his core strengths as a choreographer and director – Gutierrez draws arcs of emotion and subtext without serving them up on platters.

He also challenges his audiences. With Everyone, Gutierrez fosters a relationship that, at times, seems more zoo/visitor than performer/viewer. His players are learning how to exist in the world – we see fear, playfulness, over-the-top sexuality, and the aping of one another in the compulsion to feel normal – and they’re as aware of our presence as we are of them. Moments after what could be the most extended group makeout scene in the history of theater, the players break into an atonal, Lennon-esque chorus – “ When you rise up, you must sing songs” – extending their longing for community to all of us. In the end, Everyone is for anyone who wants to share or reclaim his own coming of age.

Prepare for Out There

Before stepping into the great unknown of the Walker’s Out There 20, you might want to get a leg up by scanning these reviews of the artists we’re bringing here over the next four weekends: Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People, Everyone (Wednesday-Saturday, January 9-12): The New York Times (March 2007) The Brooklyn Rail (April […]

Before stepping into the great unknown of the Walker’s Out There 20, you might want to get a leg up by scanning these reviews of the artists we’re bringing here over the next four weekends:

miguel-gutierrez_5.jpgMiguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People, Everyone (Wednesday-Saturday, January 9-12):

The New York Times (March 2007)

The Brooklyn Rail (April 2007)

The Village Voice (March 2007)

the-team_1.jpgThe TEAM, Particularly in the Heartland (Thursday-Saturday, January 17-19)

Time Out New York (March 2007)

The Edinburgh (U.K.) Scotsman (August 2006)

The New York Sun (July 2006)

claude-wampler_5.jpgClaude Wampler, PERFORMANCE (career ender) (Thursday-Saturday, January 24-26)

The Brooklyn Rail (January 2007)

The New York Times (November 2006) – part of a longer trend piece by John Rockwell. Scroll toward the end to read about Wampler.

BLURB: The New Yorker (November 2006)

david-neumann_3.jpgDavid Neumann/advanced beginner group, Feed Forward (Thursday-Saturday, January 31-February 2)

The New York Times (October 2007)

Off Off Off Dance (November 2007)

Counter Critic (October 2007)

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