Movement at the Mills (part 2)
by karen Krolak
We are continuing on with the interview we began yesterday with Andrea Blesso, curator for Movement at the Mills, at Boston Center for the Arts (BCA). This is part of an ongoing theme of delving into sit-specific choreography that we began on our first episode of C2C: Connect to Choreography on SCATV. Movement at the Mills' final installment for this season will feature Weber Dance, Sun Ho Kim & Dancers, and Kendra Heithoff on April 30th.
karen Krolak: Wow, how wonderful that Movement at the Mills has attracted hundreds of people each night. That is pretty rare for new experimental dance projects. Andrea Blesso: Well, Movement at the Mills connects the BCA and the participating dance companies with a new audience by providing free entertainment in an atypical dance performance setting. The audience may come and go as they wish and get their own size “sample” of dance. It also allows the audience to see new forms of dance without fully committing to a large ticket price or a full evening of work. A true crudités of dance. engages local dance companies in an informal, community performance at the Mills Gallery, specifically aimed at reconnecting the BCA with the Massachusetts dance scene.
kK: When is the next deadline for choreographers to apply?
AB: The Movement at the Mills program occurs three times a year with an ongoing application submission process. This program offers performance opportunities and free rehearsal space for local dance companies without significant financial burden.
kK: How does the process work? Do you select the the artists for each program?
AB: We have a panel that determines the selected participants for each Movement at the Mills performance. Once the companies are selected, via panel vote, I then build the performance from their repertory and proposed ideas.
kK: As a curator, what are some of the challenges that you face?
AB: One of the main challenges is finding the right mix of dances that represent each choreographer’s vision but compliment the other companies’ work. Movement at the Mills is a very intricate program with many logistics to balance – the technical limitations of the space, numerous stages with overlapping performances, and the encouragement of proper audience and dancer flow.
The hardest part of this program, I must admit, is building the performance layout. The layout must invite the audience into the Mills Gallery space and share the concept of the program itself while also presenting a clear and enjoyable performance flow across multiple stages. Other factors to juggle in the performance layout are the normal technical prop cues and creating a moment for the dancers to breathe. Since the performance rotates through two times, dancer energy level is a big consideration.
kK: It is amazing how seamless and organic everything felt when I attended the January performance.
AB: Much like dance movement itself, the more smooth performances appear, the more intricate they were to coordinate.
kK: Yes, that is so true. I am really surprised that the BCA devotes so much time to a program that doesn't generate ticket revenue.
AB: Since it is a free event, it will help build a new dance audience for future BCA dance programs, at which we may charge a ticket price. It also helps ease the BCA into the path of possibly producing future dance concerts. Since Movement at the Mills supports three dance companies per round, and is a series throughout the year, it has the ability to cover a wide variety of dance styles and appeal to a broad audience – as well as cover an expansive audience group by tapping into the participating companies’ fan base.
kK: Well, I am looking forward to seeing future installments of Movement at the Mills. Thanks for adding such a dynamic bridge to Boston's dance landscape.