Monkeyhouse is thrilled to announce that we have once again been nominated for one of the Boston Phoenix's Best of Boston awards! This year, you can find us in the Best Dance Performers category. All you need is a valid email address to cast your ballot. So please, show the world how much you love Monkeyhouse.
Psst...Since Jason is Production Manager for Actors' Shakespeare Project and Karen is choreographing Coriolanus with them, we hope you will also vote for them as Best Theater Company.
Hi, I just wanted to invite everyone to a FREE upcoming event!
Moving Into Adulthood: Options, Ideas, and Information
On Dance After High School
A Panel Discussion for Parents & Students
Moderated by Karen Krolak, Impulse Dance Center Faculty Member &
Artistic Director of Monkeyhouse
Kristen Lung, DPT Sports and Physical Therapy Associates
Melissa Alexis, Independent Choreographer
Lauren Johanson, Massachusetts Cultural Council
Amanda Page, Impulse Dance Center Faculty & Guidance
Jason Ries, Actors’ Shakespeare Project & Monkeyhouse
Presented by Impulse Dance Center
On Sunday, March 15, 2008 at 2PM
At 5 Summer Street, Natick, MA
This free event is open to anyone interested in pursuing dance or careers related to dance after High School. We will tackle a wide range of topics including:
How do you continue dancing into adulthood?
What does it mean to be an arts administrator?
Do you have to major in dance to become a professional dancer?
Please RSVP by March 1 to 508-653-2171
Impulse Dance Center is dedicated to providing a complete, technically sound, dance education to people of all ages. Since 1987 Impulse Dance Center has been offering a diverse spectrum of classes and summer dance camps in downtown Natick. For more information about auditions, classes and events at Impulse Dance Center, please call 508-653-2171.
Apparently, yesterday's post on Actors' Shakespeare Project's Coriolanus perplexed some people. Rest assured that there will be no random "dream ballets" interrupting Shakespeare's plot. Perhaps it would help if I explained that I define choreography as 'creating meaning with movement'. When working on dramatic plays, therefore, I try to emphasize thematic metaphors through movement, to generate subtext through body language, and to shape the physical narrative.
Coriolanus unfolds through a series of battles between the Romans and the Volsci. Though we don't often think of it, dancing and fighting have a long and tangled history that pre-dates Michael Jackson's Thriller by at least a several hundred years. Just this afternoon I stumbled upon a picture of a Marine break dancing in between training exercises in Djibouti in the latest issue of National Geographic.
The Afro-Brazilian martial art, Capoeira, for instance, was intentionally designed to look like a dance even though it could have deadly consequences. Developed by slaves who were bound at the hands and forbidden to fight, opponents would tuck razor blades between their toes added a lethal edge to their stunning kicks and turns.
Coriolanus' director, Robert Walsh is a proficient fight choreographer who envisioned a production that would explore the shapes and sounds of violence. Together we are weaving martial arts, Viewpoints technique, contact improvisation, modern dance, and gymnastics together to ratchet up the visceral intensity of the plot. Rehearsals have been fairly grueling for the actors thus far but I am really excited by the results.
Just wanted to let everyone know about a really feisty project that I am choreographing for Actors' Shakespeare Project. Robert Walsh is directing a gritty, adrenaline infused version of Coriolanus set to a driving percussive environment designed by Stephen Serwacki who has performed in STOMP.
Coriolanus opens on March 14 and runs through April 5. It is the first production at Somerville's new Arts at the Armory performance space, a gorgeous old gymnasium nestled into the back of this recently renovated, castle shaped building.
After our first week of rehearsal, I can assure you that the actors in this ensemble are fearless performers who know how to electrify this gigantic space with their powerful movements. If you are in the Boston area, I would suggest getting tickets now.
Monkeyhouse is thrilled to announce that Artistic Director, Karen Krolak was selected to receive a 2009 Artist Fellowship through the Somerville Arts Council. This grant will be used in conjunction with Monkeyhouse's Bernie Wightman Dance Building Fund.
Drawing from her experiences at Simone Forti's Logomotion workshop in Orvieto, Italy and the Jacob's Pillow Choreographers' Lab with Celeste Miller, Karen will take walks through Somerville to spark ideas for new pieces. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you would like to know more about the project or to join Karen on one of her walks.
Congratulations to Callie Chapman Korn, Nicole Pierce, and Jody Weber who were also awarded Artist Fellowships in Dance and Theater. The Somerville Arts Council is supported in part through the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Needless to say, all of us at Monkeyhouse are incredibly grateful to both Piñataland and David Wechsler! If you or anyone you know are in Brooklyn this weekend, you should join me at Barbes (376 9th St. at 6th Ave) at 10pm on Friday the 13th so you can fall in love with them for yourself! In celebration of this weekend's performance, Nicole took some time to interview David:
NH: What is your earliest memory of making music?
NH: Did you think when you started that you'd be making music for dance pieces?
NH: Is your music being used for companies or choreographers other than Monkeyhouse?
NH: When and how did Piñataland start?
NH: Piñataland uses so many interesting and sometimes little known historical events as part of your songs. What made you choose history?
NH: I use Devil's Airship as part of Sublaxation, a piece I built in 2006. People often ask me about the music in Q&As because they want to know where the clip that is the introduction to the song comes from.
NH: Besides Piñataland are you working on any other projects?
NH: Part three is coming out before part two? Why?
DW: I have a better idea of what part three will sound like and be about conceptually. As a three part series of the Decline of America, part one is causes, part two is the actual falling apart and part three is the result. I have a vision of the place that America will be after we're not on top anymore which I'm interested in exploring but don't have a good feel for the actual falling apart section so I'm going to hold back on that one.
NH: Did you go to school for music?
DW: I studied ethnomusicology, mostly Afro-Cuban and drumming. Most of that influence gets squashed in Pinataland but you can hear it every once in a while. For a while I was a pretty good conga player and percussionist but I dumped it all for some reason and started playing accordion with Pinataland.
NH: Do you feel like there were advantages/disadvantages because you did/didn't go to school for music?
DW: Not really. Except for when I was studying drumming I've never been that interested in being a good player and while I think I could probably play a lot more music if I was better trained, I'm mostly interested in playing my own music. The few times I've sat in with other folks it's been nice to do a show and actually get paid, but I get bored quick. Studying the Cuban and Brazilian drumming has probably taught me more about composition and music than the college courses I took that actually talked about those things. Come to think of it, I used to drum for dance classes back in college.
NH: Do you see a lot of dance?
NH: Where can people find copies of the Piñataland albums and your solo album? Is there somewhere people should be looking out for more information about the release of your new album?
NH: Are there other musicians/bands/albums that you think people should check out?
by Karen Krolak
Hey, we had a weekend of full and enthusiastic houses at the Cool New York Dance Festival. I was really impressed by how many people skipped the Super Bowl to attend on Sunday. There will be 9 more performances this weekend so scoot on over if you are in New York.
White Wave's stage is a funky little space with glorious, wide beam floors. You have to climb down a ladder to get to the dressing rooms which made it feel like you were going into a curious little tree fort.
After our tech rehearsal on Thursday, David Parker took Jason and I out for drinks and snacks at Cowgirl. He confided some of his ideas for his 10th Anniversary performance at Summer Stages in July, with us and now I am even more curious to see how it evolves.
While I did not get to see most of the pieces that were on the programs with Monkeyhouse, I did catch Program A before our show on Saturday night. What a fantastic way to get psychologically warmed up! Belinda Mc Guire's solo, Hex, blended balletic grace with sharp gestures that seemed to repel and attract the audience at the same time. Her gossamer silk dress added an unusually buoyant quality to her tense muscularity.
Donlin Foreman's duet, Not our Only Life, sparked with a magnetic humanity that somehow remained soft and inviting. It was a balanced counterpoint to Idan Sharabi's ready to boil duet, ADAR. Each time John Bessant III flung Belinda McGuire through the air by her neck, I gasped. Even though I could guess the mechanics behind this illusion, the powerful image still shocked me with each repetition.
Both of Young Soon Kim's pieces, SSOOT II: On the Wall (an excerpt) and What IS ???, profited from regular rehearsal in the space. They seamlessly integrated the scenic landscape and animated the architectural quirks. The excerpt from SSOOT II was exquisite and may lure me down to New York MAY 13 - 17 to see the full length production.