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Backstage Haiku- Body Cartography

Next show coming up? It’s Body Cartography… Check out those shadows!  

Next show coming up?

It’s Body Cartography…

Check out those shadows!

 

teching "Supernatural"

standing stage right

Voices of Strength: The Enchanting Voices of Madame Plaza

“Madame Plaza, created by Moroccan choreographer Bouchra Ouizguen and performed with three traditional Aïta vocalists whose custom includes guttural wailing and incantation, is a powerful merging of bodies with song.” — Mapp International Throughout my research of Madame Plaza,  Bouchra Ouizguen’s work in the Voices of Strength dance series, I have been struck by the […]

“Madame Plaza, created by Moroccan choreographer Bouchra Ouizguen and performed with three traditional Aïta vocalists whose custom includes guttural wailing and incantation, is a powerful merging of bodies with song.” Mapp International

Bouchra Ouizguen’s Madame Plaza Photo by Hibou Photography

Throughout my research of Madame Plaza,  Bouchra Ouizguen’s work in the Voices of Strength dance series, I have been struck by the dynamic power of the Aïta vocalists to grasp my attention. I’ve always been captivated by singers who explore colorful vocal techniques (Fatima Al Qadiri, Meredith Monk, Laurie Anderson are a few of my favorites).

Video Excerpt from Madame Plaza

Choreographer Bouchra Ouizguen explains her connection to their spellbinding sounds and describes their unique ability to engage audiences in an interview from 2010 with Time Out New York.

What role has the music you feature in the show played in your life?

From in the womb of my mother, this music was already there somehow. Most of the time the songs are about impossible love from a woman to a man and the difficulties that encompass that kind of relationship, or complaints about life. The music is more of a cry, more of a scream—asking for things. The word aïta means “calling.”

So how did you find the singers?

I met them once I stopped my trip. I had just had moved next to a nightclub in Marrakech—one of the oldest clubs, where these ladies were performing. It was called Madame Plaza. It’s an old nightclub that no bourgeois, no middle-class person would ever put a foot in. They were performing there, so I watched and started talking to them. On the same night I asked one of them, “Could you come and work together next week?” She said yes. We started working together and out of it came a duo.

What did they teach you about the body?

They taught me to forget about what I have learned. I have trained with choreographers in France and they taught me to break all the rules and do something new. They broke my habits.

Why does Madame Plaza speak to so many people?

I think that it is due to what I was saying before: There is no difference between onstage and offstage. They are not magnificent robot dancers. I think it’s because of what they sing—it resembles a lot of crying that is in all cultures. People can connect to these ladies who are fat and who are not dancers. Everybody knows that they are not contemporary dancers. They are not mechanical. The song is the same for people in different parts of the world who are crying for death or crying for love—this kind of vocal expression is common to mankind. And also, fragility is exposed. It has to do with the fragility of the human being.

Madame Plaza is one of four pieces in the contemporary theater and dance mini-festival, “Voices of Strength” here at the Walker. Ouizguen and company will perform in the McGuire Theater this Thursday and Saturday (October 11 and 13) at 8pm.

Twin Cities Dance

  Fall is upon us with the Walker’s dance season beginning next week. In addition to the upcoming world premieres and special engagements as part of our offerings, we are celebrating two big anniversaries with our local dance platforms, Choreographers’ Evening  and the Momentum: New Dance Works. It will be an amazing year to share […]

 

Fall is upon us with the Walker’s dance season beginning next week. In addition to the upcoming world premieres and special engagements as part of our offerings, we are celebrating two big anniversaries with our local dance platforms, Choreographers’ Evening  and the Momentum: New Dance Works. It will be an amazing year to share these experiences together and jump for joy!

Announcing:

The 40th anniversary of Choreographers’ Evening featuring: Judith Brin Ingber, Christ Up Dance Crew, Michael Engel, Emily King & Ryan Underbakke, Blake Nellis, Luke Olson-Elm, Rosy Simas, Joanne Spencer, Third Coast Collective, and Voice of Culture.

The 10th anniversary of Momentum: New Dance Works, in partnership with the Southern Theater, featuring: SuperGroup/Rachel Jendrzejewski and Leslie O’Neill on July 11-13, and Pramila Vasudevan/Aniccha Arts and Jennifer Arave on July 18-21, 2013.

Fifth annual Twin Cities National Dance Week photo includes (in no particular order): Chris Holman (Executive Coach), Allie Hankins (Choreographer), Taylor Fleege (Irish Dancer), Britt White (Irish Dancer), Jeffrey Berger (Dancer), Jessi Fett (Dance Educator/ Dancer), Sam Johnson (Choreographer), Otto Ramstad (Dance Artist), Penelope Freeh (Dancer/ Choreographer), Charles Campbell (Performer/ Choreographer), Lewis McKinnell (Performer), Monica Thomas (Choreographer/ Dancer), Theresa Madaus (Choreographer/ Dancer), Sarah LaRose Holland (Dancer & Accountant), Abi Sebaly (Unitard Minder), Michèle Steinwald (Curator), Corey Horbison (Production Manager – Cowles), Rae Eden Frank (Recycling Coordinator), Laurie Van Wieren (Dance Maker/Producer), Noah Keesecker (Composer), Laura Bohne (Education Associate),  “J-Sun” Jason Noer (Choreographer), Jeffrey Wells (Performance Maker), Erinn Liebhard (Jazz Dance Artist), Dana Kassel (Dance Administrator), Olive Bieringa (Choreographer), April Sellers (Choreographer), and Chris Schlichting (Choreographer).

Choreographers’ Evening Auditions 2012: Finding Inspiration from our Past

Our annual Choreographers’ Evening (CE) at the Walker is always a celebratory affair, but this year we’re especially excited to be planning a special edition to celebrate the fortieth year of this favorite Walker program. Inspired by CE’s long, rich history, curators Aparna Ramaswamy and Patrick Scully are presenting an evening of dance that reflects […]

Our annual Choreographers’ Evening (CE) at the Walker is always a celebratory affair, but this year we’re especially excited to be planning a special edition to celebrate the fortieth year of this favorite Walker program. Inspired by CE’s long, rich history, curators Aparna Ramaswamy and Patrick Scully are presenting an evening of dance that reflects past curators and choreographers and their contributions to this annual smorgasbord of local dance.

 

A note from the curators:

Calling all Dance Makers Old, Young and In Between!

The Choreographers’ Evening in November of this year, 2012, will celebrate its 40 years in our community.

We, Aparna Ramaswamy and Patrick Scully will co-curate the evening.

We plan to present a show that will allow us to revisit points of those forty years in a number of creative ways. Just to get the juices flowing, here are a few things we thought might be possible (these are in no way intended to be prescriptive—rather, just to spark your creativity!)

Perhaps there will be 2 works from each of 5 time frames:

1970s

1980s

1990s

2000s

Today

What does it mean to be related to one of those time frames?

-          Maybe a choreographer from a ’70s CE sets a previous work on a new cast?

-          Maybe a young choreographer incorporates past CE video of an earlier work into a piece with new material?

-          Maybe a piece has a source of inspiration from the ’80s – a local teacher, some music, an issue, who knows?

 

Our criteria for selection, in order of importance are:

1. Work representing our theme of 40 years of Choreographers’ Evening at the Walker Art Center

2. Excellence of work (We agree that this has a lot to do with our subjective perspectives of “Does this work speak to me, grab me, move me?”)

3. Representation of as much of the community of dance makers as possible – Breadth of the work selected to perform

We hope you get the idea, if you have any questions, feel free to email us at:

ramaswamy617@gmail.com   and/or  patrick@PatrickScully.org


Audition Details:       

WHEN:
Thursday, August 2 from 6-10pm
Friday, August 3 from 2-6pm
Saturday, August 4 from noon – 4pm

WHERE:                The Walker’s McGuire Theater, 1750 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis

WHO:                    You must email patrick@PatrickScully.org to reserve an audition time; auditions are accepted by appointment only.

WHAT:                  All forms of dance welcome. Our theme of 40 years of Choreographers’ Evening at the Walker Art Center is encouraged.

- You will receive a call or email confirming your time slot

- Auditions are in 10 minute intervals

- Pieces are usually 3-6 minutes in length and may not exceed 7 minutes

- DVD submissions are accepted, although live performance is preferred

For more information and to schedule an audition, please email                patrick@PatrickScully.org or call the Walker at 612.375.7550 to leave a message.

–Aparna & Patrick

 

BROWSE—AND HELP BUILD—OUR ONLINE CHOREOGRAPHER’S EVENING ARCHIVE

Since this year’s CE curators are looking for works that represent choreography from the 1970s to the present, we have compiled a list of past curators and choreographers to help inspire those auditioning: http://choreographersevening.tumblr.com.

Our list is complete, but some program notes are missing. We invite members of the dance community to share any information you may have and help us expand the online archive! Do you have programs, photos, memories, anecdotes, or other material?

If so, you can upload it to the Tumblr archives site—or we can arrange to have it scanned and uploaded for you: email Anat Shinar at anat.shinar@walkerart.org for details.

Videos of Choreographers’ Evening from 2000 – 2011 are also available for viewing and research in the Walker’s archives department. Contact archivist Jill Vuchetich at jill.vuchetich@walkerart.org for an appointment during research hours, Wednesday-Friday 1-4 pm.

Seeking Local Actors/Singers/Dancers

The Lisps are seeking local actors/singers/dancers to join the ensemble of FUTURITY: A Musical by The Lisps, for performances at the Walker Art Center, April 26-28. FUTURITY: A Musical by The Lisps is coming to the McGuire Theater soon and is looking for local performers to join the ensemble to play soldiers, scientists, and members […]

The Lisps are seeking local actors/singers/dancers to join the ensemble of FUTURITY: A Musical by The Lisps, for performances at the Walker Art Center, April 26-28.

FUTURITY: A Musical by The Lisps is coming to the McGuire Theater soon and is looking for local performers to join the ensemble to play soldiers, scientists, and members of the chorus.  Strong singing, movement and acting skills a must.  Unfortunately, they are unable to consider members of Actors Equity Association.

FUTURITY tells the story of a soldier’s quest—inspired by Lord Byron’s brilliant daughter, Ada Lovelace—to save humans from themselves by inventing an omnipotent, steam-powered “brain.” Melding the Civil War with sci-fi and American folk with avant-rock, The Lisps have crafted a unique and compelling portrait of war, human imagination, and technological hubris.  The show arrives at the Walker from its much-anticipated premiere at the American Repertory Theater.

To participate, you must be available for all of the following rehearsals:

Friday, April 20, Saturday, April 21, and Monday, April 23 from 10 am–6 pm; Tuesday, April 24 from 11 am–6 pm; Wednesday, April 25 from 11 am–11 pm; Thursday, April 26 from 10:30 am–5 pm.  And for Performances: Thursday, April 26, Friday, April 27, and Saturday, April 28 at 8 pm (available 7 pm–10 pm).

Interested performers should send an email to FuturityTheMusical@hotmail.com with the link to an online video of themselves singing a song (3 min maximum) and performing a contemporary monologue (1-2 minutes) with a resume or paragraph describing their skills and relevant experience.  If you avidly play any instruments, please let us know that as well. Each performer will receive a small stipend and a pair of free tickets to one of the performances.

Deadline for submission is April 6. Chosen performers will be notified no later than April 9th.

More from FUTURITY

> Listen to music from the show: “How Much” and “Singularity”

> Read a Boston Globe profile about the show, its DIY aesthetic, and its mathematic background

> Hear a review from WGBH Boston

> Read more about the Steam Brain “Franken-drum set” from WBUR Boston

 

Calling all Choreographers

Upcoming opportunities for MN Choreographers: 1. Momentum: New Dance Works 2013 We are pleased to announce the release of the Request for Proposals for Momentum: New Dance Works 2013. The Momentum: New Dance Works 2013 series is presented by the Walker Art Center at the Southern Theater, with support from the Jerome Foundation. The series […]

Upcoming opportunities for MN Choreographers:

1. Momentum: New Dance Works 2013

We are pleased to announce the release of the Request for Proposals for Momentum: New Dance Works 2013.

The Momentum: New Dance Works 2013 series is presented by the Walker Art Center at the Southern Theater, with support from the Jerome Foundation. The series will run July 11-13 and July 18-20, 2013.

Purpose of the Series: The Momentum dance series was created to promote the work of an exciting new generation of dance and dance-theater creators in Minnesota. The series enables innovative, under-recognized choreographers to have their work presented by the Walker Art Center as well as provide professional development opportunities facilitated by Springboard for the Arts. Momentum seeks out applicants from a full range of styles, cultures, aesthetics, and approaches that represent contemporary dance in the world today.

For eligibility requirements, official guidelines with the complete RFP and application information, click here. Attend a public informational session on April 14 at 11:00 am in the Lecture Room at the Walker Art Center to answer all your questions.

Applications due: Thursday, April 26, 2012, by 4:00 pm.

2. Choreographers’ Evening auditions

The Walker Art Center is pleased to present the 40th Annual Choreographers’ Evening curated by Patrick Scully and Aparna Ramaswamy, November 24, 2012 at 7pm and 9:30pm.

SAVE THE DATE: Auditions will be held in the Walker Art Center’s McGuire Theater; August 2-4. We are not accepting audition requests right now but times will become available in early July. Check back after July 5th for specific dates and times.

Watch MN Original’s segment on 2010 Choreographers’ Evening auditions:

Two Takes on Choreographers’ Evening

Patrick Scully is performing in this year’s Choreographers’ Evening. Patrick Scully also performed in Choreographers’ Evening nearly 40 years ago, in 1972. You can listen to him talk about circularity and Sage Awards gossip on the latest episode of Talk Dance with Justin Jones. You can hear this year’s curator for Choreographers’ Evening, Chris Schlichting, […]

Patrick Scully is performing in this year’s Choreographers’ Evening. Patrick Scully also performed in Choreographers’ Evening nearly 40 years ago, in 1972. You can listen to him talk about circularity and Sage Awards gossip on the latest episode of Talk Dance with Justin Jones.

You can hear this year’s curator for Choreographers’ Evening, Chris Schlichting, talk about his choices and experience curating in the other latest episode of Talk Dance with Justin Jones.

Tickets remain for this Saturday’s 7 pm and 9:30 show!

 

photo by Cameron Wittig

In the Directors’ Chair: Marcela Lorca to host talk tonight with Annie-B Parson

After tonight’s performance of Big Dance Theater’s Supernatural Wife, Guthrie Movement Director Marcela Lorca (and recent director of another modern take on Greek tragedy, The Burial at Thebes) will lead a Q&A with Big Dance Theater Co-Director Annie-B Parson.

After tonight’s performance of Big Dance Theater’s Supernatural Wife, Guthrie Movement Director Marcela Lorca (and recent director of another modern take on Greek tragedy, The Burial at Thebes) will lead a Q&A with Big Dance Theater Co-Director Annie-B Parson.

Annie-B Parson (left) with Big Dance Theater Co-Director Paul Lazar (photo by Jeff Larson courtesy of Big Dance Theater)

Marcela Lorca (photo by Mike Haberman courtesy the Guthrie Theater)

Momentum 2011: In Their Own Words

Part of Momentum choreographers’ participation in the series is to answer a creative questionnaire mid-process that helps them verbalize their unique creativity. By removing the questions, their answers open up to new meanings. Chris Yon: I grew up in the Los Angeles Unified School District. I am lucky I can read. I am still deeply […]

Part of Momentum choreographers’ participation in the series is to answer a creative questionnaire mid-process that helps them verbalize their unique creativity. By removing the questions, their answers open up to new meanings.


Chris Yon:

I grew up in the Los Angeles Unified School District. I am lucky I can read. I am still deeply resentful at how ill prepared I still feel for the world at large. My education prepared me for forty hours of mind numbing work a week spent daydreaming about a dance I’m making that nobody wants to see. Since stumbling into a dance class after school at the Echo Park Recreation Center early on in the first grade, I have spent every waking hour not dancing tuning out whatever was going on to think about what I was going to do the next time I got to dance. The dance class at Echo Park was the first refuge. Where I became a believer. There was no explanation, just following (the tall, pretty, older girls) and listening to stories. Barbara, the teacher, was from “back before TV, kids, there was this thing called Vaudeville.” She drilled us into a variety of routines: a bullfighting dance, Puttin’ on the Ritz, a boxing pantomime, traditional gypsy folk dances, various ballet send-ups and step touch routines. She’s the first person I remember telling me I was funny. She taught me how to do a double take, how to pause for laughter, and wait for applause. We performed regularly at parties in the Gym/Auditorium at the Recreation Center for the Christmas, Easter, Cinco De Mayo, and the Fourth of July. Every year for the Marathon, we would perform on a flatbed truck in the Pioneer Market parking lot on Echo Park Blvd. It was real “Mickey & Judy put on a show” all the time. This is the part of my education/life experience that I’ve been reflecting on while making this piece.

It is personal because of what it means to arrange one’s life around this. I feel like I come from a school concerned with personal invention and attempting to do something no one’s ever seen before. So I really try to consider each moment, where it comes from and what it means to me. It may not be unique in the world, but it is something that came from me.

The fabric of the universe, for the infinite possibilities of interconnectivity. Pyramids, because they cause you to wonder how they were made. Parachutists, because I’m feeling the pressure of deadlines and pushing how long I can wait before I have to pull the cord.


Kaleena Miller:

The piece is structured around how I’ve known my dad: Before Alzheimer’s, during the beginning stages of it, and now- when he’s pretty much been taken over by the disease. From that I’ve injected my own personal thoughts and experiences, and it’s become a piece about support structures as well.

Right now, my favorite moment is the slowing down part at the end of the second section. It came out of a rhythm I had in my head, and trying to figure a transition from one point to another rhythmically. After seeing it in action, I realized it was perfect to represent the unraveling of my dad that was happening at the time.

More sections, more detailed, more filled out. It’s become more personal, more varied. More people, more color, more music. Was much simpler when it was an idea marinating in my head!

I’ve learned to trust myself during the process of making this piece. To follow through with my initial instinct, and then edit… instead of editing or saying no before anything is even tried or experimented with.


Kenna Cottman:

Favorite moment: we haven’t practiced this yet but I have it so clearly in my mind – Koko comes out with a barada kass (tea set) after Backa and I have this argument. Muse and Rich are sitting around kind of tapping on some instruments but they start making attaya (tea) – like somebody goes to get sugar, somebody passes the warga (green tea) to Muse so he can start. The tea is getting poured and I’m still pouting. Muse offers tea to Koko – she takes it and gives it to Rich he slurps half and gives the rest back to her, she finishes it and gives the kass back, Muse gives to other kass to Backa who calls me and holds it out toward me. I come drink. We all sit and stand around kind of tapping on some instruments and commenting on the tea. I go to work on the next round, the second.

This moment just arrived in my mind. I wrote it down to make sure I wouldn’t forget but while I have forgotten other things about the piece this moment has never left me. I love it because this is the crystal moment of sharing that I’m talking about when I say “shared language” old guys in Senegal sit around making attaya all day, passing around little cups and just breezing. It’s the way we pass the bottle outside at the BBQ, pour a splash of liquor for the dead homies, the ancestors. We do it with food – gimme a bite, lemme taste that, I just want a piece of the toast and some sauce, naw I’m good. We do it with our movements – oohhhh that’s a STEP I’m about the FREAK THAT! aw naw that ain’t the step, issanwayye!

Some artist friend told me about writing as performance so I tried writing as rehearsal. As if it’s the same thing as dancing in the rehearsal room. I let the writing be enough sometimes. But this was hard because I don’t actually think writing is enough. I don’t want to see a dancer’s writing, I don’t think anybody wants to see mine. They want to see me dance. I want to see me dance, but I had to let this piece have some words because the words are pushing to come out. Griot style.

The whole of Shared Language is going to be direct and literal. I’ve given myself permission to be literal in this work because always I have been going for “abstraction,” as if that is inherently deeper or more meaningful. So I wrote a bunch of words and I am going to make a piece of dance performance that is more or less a literal interpretation of those words. It is confrontational, in your face, in each others’ face. I hope the tone allows for crowd participation.

I’ve learned to go with that picture in my mind’s eye. Whatever concept I’m seeing clearly, or whichever bodies I am seeing clearly in the work – I have learned to honor that and make it work. Like I see Koko and Rich in the piece even though it’s a pain in the ass to work with out of town artists and more expensive. I’ve learned to keep pushing toward that vision in my mind’s eye, and stay true to this advice that was once given to me “Don’t listen to people, don’t listen to nobody. If you listen to people, they gonna spoil the group, oh my ga.” What this means to me is to keep pushing for my vision and not listen to other people’s vision on my vision’s time. Let them do their own vision their way.


Mad King Thomas:

We are always inspired by a few broad-reaching themes- one could even say obsessions: hegemony and feminism. Gender, power, the fucked up world we live in, and how much we love it and how we make sense of it. We are always inspired by our personal experience as well as what we read, see, hear and study.
This particular work found its seed in a Vegas Revue that Tara saw several years ago. She came back to MN and was telling us about this parade of topless ladies, beauty through the ages, and when they announced the suffragettes were going to be next, she was like, NO WAY, they are going to make the suffragettes go TOPLESS? And then they didn’t. But we were entranced by the hilarity and irony of WHAT IF THEY DID?

So we’ve been inspired by Vegas spectacle, the curious power in being objectified, questions of power and liberation, bicycles and suffragettes, feminism through the ages, fame, glamor, spectacle, sacrifice, the making of icons, the replacing of icons, blond celebrities through the ages, the making of gods, the placement of power, distraction, mediated life, Guy DuBord’s writings on spectacle, and our own questions about how we can live our lives to the fullest, in the most liberated way, and share that with others.

The Bicycle is a powerful symbol in this piece- it represents both the sacrificial bull with which the virgin is carried to the ritual (a platform for sacrifice and a sacrifice itself) and the means of liberation, the suffragette’s independence and our own independence now, as it is our main transportational tool. It is both a means of practical power and a vehicle for spectacle- a woman on a bicycle cannot escape the cat-calls and looks, but a woman on a bicycle has so much freedom and power, and a power that is vested in her own physical power and embodiment. The bicycle in some ways represents the perfect freedom, but is by no means perfect, and lives within the complicated and broken system.

We like dance for a lot of reasons, but in terms of our work we especially value the fact that it is based on our bodies. We make pieces about life and living, and what better form to express life and living than the very vehicle of those things. Our existence is mediated through our bodies, our bodies serve as the agents of everything we do, mundane, transcendent, revolutionary. Dance recognizes the power of the body and put them on stage. Our dances recognize the body’s power in life, in shaping the world. We want our audiences to leave our performances empowered in their bodies, to go out and live the lives they want, to go out and make the world more awesome.

Choreographers’ Evening Auditions 2011: All forms of dance welcome!

The Walker Art Center is seeking choreographers to be presented in the 39th Annual Choreographers’ Evening. This Choreographers’ Evening will be curated by Chris Schlichting. Performances will take place on Saturday, November 26, 2011, 7 & 9:30 pm in the Walker’s McGuire Theater. Auditions will be held at the Walker’s McGuire Theater, 1750 Hennepin Avenue […]

The Walker Art Center is seeking choreographers to be presented in the 39th Annual Choreographers’ Evening.

This Choreographers’ Evening will be curated by Chris Schlichting. Performances will take place on Saturday, November 26, 2011, 7 & 9:30 pm in the Walker’s McGuire Theater.

Auditions will be held at the Walker’s McGuire Theater, 1750 Hennepin Avenue on Thursday, July 7 from 6-10pm; Friday, July 8 from 6-10pm; and Saturday, July 9 from noon – 4pm.

You must email schli019@umn.edu to reserve an audition time; auditions are accepted by appointment only.

All forms of dance welcome.

- You will receive a call or email confirming your time slot

- Auditions are in 10 minute intervals

- Pieces are usually 3-6 minutes in length and may not exceed 7 minutes

- DVD submissions are accepted, although live performance is preferred

For more information and to schedule an audition, please email schli019@umn.edu or call the Walker at 612.375.7550.

Additional questions may be directed to Michèle Steinwald at 612.375.7581 or michele.steinwald@walkerart.org.

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