(Part of an ongoing series that demonstrates how some of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Direct Grantees have influenced Monkeyhouse's growth.)
By Karen Krolak
Dance Theater Workshop/New York, NY/$50,000 - Dance Theater Workshop (DTW) invited me to participate in two amazing workshops in the Spring of 2004. Each week, I would truck down to New York on Thursday afternoon just in time for a Writing on Dance class with Wendy Perron, Editor of Dance Magazine. Having studied with her at Jacob's Pillow's International Improvisation Workshop in 1992, I was delighted to recognize parallels between her creative processes in writing and dancing. Her exercises and critiques pushed me to develop a more active approach to describing dance.
This course vastly improved Monkeyhouse's outreach materials and press releases. Whenever Monkeyhouse's supporters compliment us on the quality of our blog posts or enews articles, DTW and Wendy deserve a huge chunk of that praise.
Friday mornings, I would return to DTW for the Bessie Schönberg Laboratory in Composition led by Patricia Hoffbauer. I have lost touch with most of the other choreographers from this group but I still keep tabs on Kiyoko Kashiwagi. Kiyoko was building a whip smart, anime inspired version of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Using her jazz sneakers as pointe slippers and manipulating her cleverly designed costume, she would seamlessly transform from a ninja to mad scientist to token love interest. Her splashes of silent film slapstick accented her effortlessly elegant ballet technique. It was deliriously fun to witness this piece's evolution.
Since I was grappling with my first case of choreographer's block, I loved getting regular feedback on my work as it was struggling to take shape. Patricia's advice shook me out of this period of stagnation. There aren't many instructors who would be so willing to continue chatting about choreography after a three hour class but Patricia was always willing to go out for coffee with me. Though my choreographic sketches from this Lab did not develop into a full piece, I have stolen phrases and images from it for Doattee and Pelargic.
I won't lie; some of those 8 hour round trip jaunts to the Big Apple were beastly. Boston, however, does not have resources like this for emerging artists. So if I have not said it enough, thanks DTW for creating these opportunities and for sharing them with an out-of-state member.