by karen Krolak
During the school year, I usually sneak in a few minutes to chat with Shannon Sullivan each Monday at Impulse Dance Center. Shannon is the Artistic Director of TAProject, an outstanding teen tap ensemble at Impulse, and she teaches the majority of tap classes at the studio. I love listening to her shuffle warm ups upstairs as I begin my modern classes. When Monkeyhouse moved our office into Springstep, I was delighted to discover that we would occasionally bump into each other before her Thursday night classes there. Her infectious attitude gave me the courage to try tap in 2008. In fact, if it didn't conflict with Your Just Desserts, I would sampling her adult class at Springstep this week.
When Connect 2 Choreography began the Save the Stage series, I remembered that Shannon had performed at Jacob's Pillow's Inside/Out stage in 2009. Knowing that the Pillow had their first tap intensive this year, I thought it would be relevant to get a tapper's perspective on the significance of this stage.
karen Krolak: When you danced at Inside/Out you were working with a relatively new company called the Commonwealth Tap Collective. What prompted you to form Commonwealth Tap Collective and how has the group evolved?
Shannon Sullivan: The Commonwealth Tap Collective is comprised of Suzanne Bouffard, Jill Braverman, Stefanie Weber and myself. We initially came together in the summer of 2008 as a group of artists who each had their own voice and vision for choreography. The group provided a medium for each of us to put work on each other and then have that work performed. Although we are currently not meeting on a regular basis, the members of the Commonwealth Tap Collective continue to create and perform outside of the group.
kK: Last summer there was so much rain and I know that it poured on the day of your performance. Did they cancel or postpone your appearance?
SS: Nope, we danced in a tent on the Great Lawn.
kK: Were there many people who were willing to watch an outdoor show on such a soggy day?
SS: Yes, and they responded favorably to our performance. From a performer’s standpoint, they were supportive, interested and engaged.
kK: That's great. So, do you think it is important to preserve Inside/Out? If so, why?
SS: I do think it’s important to preserve this stage because it’s wonderful and quite special to have a “less formal” space where both new or emerging artists as well as well-established artists can perform. The stage also provides a cost efficient place for people and families who may otherwise not be able to afford live music and dance to be able to experience these wonderful art forms.Finally, the Inside/Out Stage provides audiences with a beautiful venue that fosters education and audience involvement through their question and answer sessions following each performance.
kK: Thanks Shannon! I am excited to see you at the TAProject auditions at Impulse Dance Center on September 11th. Best of luck with Sampler Week at Springstep.
by karen Krolak
One of my first teaching gigs was at Northwestern University for the National High School Institute, whose students are often referred to as the Cherubs. Melissa Thodos was one of the other faculty members there and I remember envying her athletic power and her gymnastic vocabulary. I moved out to Boston at the end of that summer. While I manage to bounce into town for a few performances by friends each year, I have yet to catch one by Melissa's company. When I discovered that she would be closing out the Inside/Out season, I thought it would be great to catch up with her and to include her interview in our Save the Stage series. As of the last report I had heard, Jacob's Pillow only needs to raise $7000 to match their Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund Grant.
kK: Chicago is still feels like my artistic home and it will always be one of my favorite cities for dance. What are your thoughts on being an artist there?
MT: The dance community in Chicago is an immensely rich one. Chicago sports 90 dance companies of all sizes and genres. It is a wonderful city for an organization to be based and a great city for dancers to live and to grow with so many options for training and professional opportunities.
kK: The Joffery Ballet relocated to Chicago right around the time that I headed out to Boston. I heard that many smaller companies were concerned about how that might influence the funding landscape. How do you feel about their presence there?
MT: I love the fact that the Joffrey Ballet made its home in Chicago over a decade ago. I had the opportunity to become friends with the late co-Founder and Artistic Director, Gerald Arpino, and the company truly captures the innovative essence of the American voice in ballet. We just performed with Hubbard Street and the Joffrey Ballet at the Harris Theater in Chicago last Saturday.
kK: Oh, I am glad that you mentioned Hubbard Street. Can you describe them for our readers?
MT: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, a company founded in Chicago, brings many beautiful and innovative creations by international choreographic voices to our city under the wonderful artistic direction of Glenn Edgerton. They are performing later in the same evening that we are at Jacob's Pillow. We really enjoy working with our colleagues in our community.
kK: Which other companies or choreographers would you recommend to people visiting Chicago?
MT: Julia Rhoads has an immensely innovative company titled Lucky Plush as does Margi Cole of the Dance COLEctive. And, there are many many others from Billy Siegenfeld’s captivating Jump Rhythm Jazz Project to Libby Komaiko’s fantastic Ensemble Espanol.
kK: Yes, I truly miss Julia Rhoads and Billy Siegenfeld and I wish that I was able to attend their performances more often. I did hear a rumor though, that someone from Jump Rhythm Jazz Project will be teaching in the Boston area soon. Just talking to you makes me a little homesick for Chicago. It is unfortunate that Monkeyhouse will be presenting a new quartet at the Massachusetts Dance Festival tomorrow night as I would love to see your company. Is this your first appearance at the Pillow?
MT: This is our second time performing at Jacob’s Pillow. Our first time was last year and we are delighted to be closing the festival this year.
kK: I assume that you have heard about the efforts to preserve and improve the Inside/Out stage. Since you were there last year, what do you think makes the stage so special?
MT: Inside/Out is valuable because it is free to the public. Besides providing artists and companies the important opportunity to have their work presented, growing new audiences is critical to the art form.
kK: I totally agree. So since I won't be able to be there, can you tell me about the pieces you will present?
MT: Our program will open with a work that I created titled Cascade. It was commissioned by the Ravinia Festival in Chicago and I was given the theme of water by the presenter to be the inspiration of the work. I had the flexibility of choosing the composer and selected music by Ravel. Opening our concert at Jacob’s Pillow with this work based on the natural properties of the flow of water, seemed like a great fit given the organic beauty of the environment in the Berkshires.
kK: That does sound like a wonderful choice for Inside/Out's bucolic backdrop. What else is on the program?
MT: Two other works are created by Thodos Dance Chicago Ensemble members. In order to be a part of Thodos Dance Chicago (TDC), an artist needs to posses a talent and passion for choreography and teaching in addition to performance. TDC ensemble member, Jessica Miller Tomlinson, was the grand prize winner of the Chicago A.W.A.R.D show sponsored by the Joyce Theater Foundation. We are presenting an innovative work of hers titled Architecture: Splintered and Cracked. This work premiered in Thodos Dance Chicago’s annual choreography performance series, New Dances, and is inspired by the idea of architecture and building walls. Ensemble members, Mollie Mock and Jeremy Blair, collaborated with our resident sound designer, John Nevin, to create the rhythmic and sensual work, Reflect. Reflect also premiered in the New Dances series. In it a solo character views parts of her past and present to come to terms with her future. Closing our program is Quieting The Clock, a brand new work by Chicago collaborators Francisco Avina and Stephanie Martinez . It addresses the passage of time and it’s ominous inevitability and continuum and TDC will premiere it here at Jacob’s Pillow.
kK: Well, I hope you enjoy your appearance at Inside/Out. Thanks for taking the time to answer all these questions for me.
MT: Great to hear from you.
Thodos Dance Chicago
Swirling about in my office chair in Monkeyhouse's corner of Springstep, I am constantly reminded of how much more I want to learn about the dance world. In the studios around me, they teach everything from Argentine Tango to Zumba and just browsing through their course catalogue makes me drool.
If you are as curious as I am, you won't want to miss Sampler Week from August 28 - September 2. For just $10 you can try a wide variety of classes including Royal Scottish Country Dancing, Tap, Flamenco, and Belly dance. Salsa on Tuesday night from 7 - 7:55 is only $5.
Oh, and if you haven't popped in to see Monkeyhouse's new space, send me an email and I will show you around...unless of course, I am busy trying out a new style myself.
by karen Krolak
I love when little coincidences pop up. For example, when I entered the dressing room at the Massachusetts Dance Festival after Monkeyhouse's tech rehearsal this morning, I was amused to see three women pulling on striped tights and black tutus. If they had thrown a neon orange wig on, they would have been identical to Monkeyhouse's most enduring character.
The odd part was, I didn't know any of them. My quizzical expression opened up a conversation and I discovered that they were members of Bosoma who were getting ready to present a piece by Katherine Hooper.
Just then Katherine poked her head in. I took the chance to introduce myself and ask if she would be willing to be interviewed for Connect 2 Choreography. I was startled when she responded, "I would love to. I have been wanting to meet you for a long time. Didn't you grow up in Sherborn?" "No, I lived in Dover, though. Why?" I replied. Apparently, we went to Dover Sherborn together. She was a freshman when I was a senior. Our entire high school had less than 600 kids when I graduated. Who would have guessed that a such a small school without an dance program would produce two choreographers?
Does anyone else have "It's a Small World" playing endlessly in their head?
So, if you haven't done so already, get your ticket for tonight's performance. You never know who you might bump into there. Did you see June Wulff festival preview in the G section of the Globe this morning?
Oh, and lastly, be on the lookout for a more in depth post about Bosoma and Katherine's choreographic process later this week.
(Aug. 28 and 29 at UMass-Amherst).
$25, $20 students and seniors.
Boston Ballet, 19 Clarendon St., Boston.
For information: 508-429-7577.
Endicott College Performing Arts Department Presents
Saturday, October 16, 2010, 12:00pm–2:00pm
Urbanity Dance Workshop!
Saturday, October 23, 2010, 12:00pm–2:00pm
Monkeyhouse Dance Workshop!
Saturday, October 30, 2010, 12:00pm–2:00pm
Workshops open to ages 15–adult.
Performance open to all ages.
This program is supported in part by a grant from the Beverly Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
by Ashley Chandler
(Part 2 in our Save the Stage series exploring people's experiences at Inside/Out at Jacob's Pillow.)
Amy Marshall Dance Company (AMDC) from New York will be hitting the Inside/Out stage this Thursday August 19. I have had the opportunity of studying with the company at both the Winter and Summer 2010 intensives and have become enthralled by their commitment and passion for Amy’s work. Amy Marshall, the artistic director and choreographer, was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions about the work and upcoming performance. Here is what she had to say:
Ashley Chandler: Have you ever presented at the Pillow on Inisde/Out before?
Amy Marshall: No, my company has never performed at Inside/Out. However, I did perform on it with Taylor2 back in 1996, I believe. I also attended Jacob's Pillow as a student of the modern program with Milton Myers and David Parsons back in 1988 which was my first introduction to modern dance.
AC: Which pieces will the company present there?
AM: AMDC will be showing two works: Vortex: A story of transcending limitations to open the self to inner power. Set to music by Rejendra Pressana, this work takes shows a ritualistic process of becoming part of a powerful group. And English Suite: a classically-based dance full of sweet nuances, set to music by H.H. Parry. In five sections, the piece presents a joyous summer season blooming with the vibrancy of life.
AC: Finally, what do you think about the efforts to preserve the Inside/Out stage?
AM: I think it is extremely important to save this stage and every stage. The Pillow has been such a huge force in promoting modern dance as well as all styles of dance. The more places there are to perform the more chances dancers have to dance as well as audiences to see dance. In this day and age where so much of our attention has turned to media, I feel it is integral that we keep as many stages thriving, especially ones which already have a dance audience such as the Inside/Out stage.
Amy Marshall Dance Company will be presented
August 19, 2010
They still need $20,000 more to match
their Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Grant.
Monkeyhouse is a huge fan of Eva Dean Dance and we encourage everyone in New York to skedaddle on over to bask in the glory of their latest creation, UBA Bounce. Having heard so much about this production while we we USD Lab artists in May, we are frantically scheming to find a way to get down to the big apple in between our performances at the Massachusetts Dance Festival. Please hurry down to Dixon Place and don't forget to fill us in afterwards.
UBA BOUNCE Begins August 15 @4pm for FringeNYC 2010!
UBA BOUNCE features courageous dancers and a large rambunctious circus globe named UBA. UBA acts as 'Ring Master' in a world where brightly colored balls and athletic dancers are equal partners. By balancing, spinning, and gliding they create rollicking dances filled with imagination, beauty and humor. 60 min.
Choreography: Eva Dean
Performers: Cristal Albornoz, Eva Dean, George Hirsch, Zoë Schieber and Sarah Sadie Newett
Dates & Times
*SUN 15 @ 4:00 pm
THUR 19 @ 7:30 pm
THUR 26 @ 2:00 pm
FRI 27 @ 5:30 pm
SAT 28 @ NOON
Online Tickets: http://www.fringenyc.org/
For more information: http://www.fringenyc.org/
Venue #1: Dixon Place
161A Chrystie Street (bet. Rivington & Delancey)
New York, NY 10002
F to 2nd Avenue
B, D to Grand Street
J, Z to Bowery
*SUN 15 @ 4:00 pm is a FringeHIGH Talk-Back. For limited reduced priced tickets and more information go to: http://www.fringenyc.org/
Today I needed a little mindless entertainment and headed over to Hulu. Having seen a segment about tap on FORA.tv yesterday which asserted that "tap dance is the most cutting edge dance form on the American stage today," I was very amused to stumble onto an episode of Psych where tap dance was used as a crime solving technique. Seeing Detective Lassiter in the end recital, really reminded me of my brief stint studying with Shannon Sullivan's Tap II class at Impulse Dance Center in Natick. Oddly enough, Shannon called at the very end of the episode because we bumped into each other after Thursday's Musing at Springstep, where she also teaches. Did I mention that she performed at Inside/Out last summer?
by karen Krolak
As you know, I adore dialogues about dance and I love when people respond to a post. For example, after yesterday's piece on kerPlunk, Lisa Niedermeyer, the Virtual Project Manager for Jacob's Pillow sent me a lovely thank you note. In it she also mentioned a new site, FORA.tv, where she has been broadcasting some clips from recent Pillow Talks.
Since I haven't made it out to Becket yet this summer, I was delighted to browse through her well-edited videos. This one on the connection between modern and South Indian dance touched on some themes that have reverberated through quite a few of my conversations at Springstep. Oh, and there is a section in the middle where they talk about Pina Bausch that reminded me of my research for AWAKE: Moving Dance Forward. Isn't it delightful when things tie together so easily at the end of a week?
by karen Krolak
I have raved about Jacob's Pillow in several of Connect 2 Choreography's posts. When Monkeyhouse heard about their efforts to save the Inside/Out stage, we decided to interview people about the importance of this historic dance landmark. Our series begins with Katherine Richardson, Artistic Director of kerPlunk. Although kerPlunk was busy preparing for their debut at the Pillow on the Inside/Out stage tonight, Katherine managed to find enough time to answer all my email questions.
Having missed kerPlunk's appearance at the Cool New York Dance Festival this winter, I wish that I could get out to see this show but Monkeyhouse is knee deep in preparations for the Massachusetts Dance Festival. If you are in the Berkshires and able to attend today, please send us feedback on how it goes.
karen Krolak: So, how long have you been choreographing?
Katherine Richardson: I have been choreographing for the past five years and formed kerPlunk dance in January 2010. I had already been creating my own work for several years in Philadelphia before I moved to New York City. As a dancer I have worked with several companies and freelance choreographers.
kK: Wow, that was right before the 2010 Cool New York Dance Festival. Will you be presenting the same piece at Jacob's Pillow this week?
KR: Yes, and then some. At White Wave’s Cool New York Festival, kerPlunk dance presented “Scapes”, which is the second section of a two-part piece entitled Fixed Observations. Festivals such as Cool New York are wonderful for getting your work seen, but their time constraints limit how much repertory can be shown. We are very fortunate that Jacob’s Pillow gives us the opportunity to present the full 21 minutes of the work, which premiered at the Painted Bride Theater in Philadelphia, PA for the Philadelphia Fringe Festival in 2009.
kK: Will you be featuring other works tonight as well?
KR: Aside from Fixed Observations, which will be closing the show, we will also be presenting two premieres: Redirected Entropy, originally commissioned by the Hartford Ballet Company in Maryland for their 2010 season, and the in betweens, an excerpt of a work-in-progress to Stravinsky’s Pulcinella. the in betweens is in collaboration with the Atlantic Brass Quintet to go on tour in 2012.
kK: I was very pleased when I read that a number of kerPlunk's company members also dance for Amanda Selwyn who was in my choreography classes at Northwestern University. Oddly enough, the last time I saw her was at the Choreographers' Lab at Jacob's Pillow in 2008. Did you meet all of your company members at her rehearsals?
KR: It just so happened that at some point some of us had danced or do dance with Amanda Selwyn Dance Theater. For the majority of the company members, mostly everyone had known each other from various walks of life such as workshops, other performance projects, auditions, and college. I’ve personally known one of my dancers since middle school. It’s interesting that a good portion of us did end up working together just as I was starting to lay the groundwork for the company.
kK: That is rather serendipitious. How do you feel that her work has influenced yours?
KR: Although her aesthetics differ from my own as a director and choreographer, the collaborative atmosphere she uses during the rehearsal process helped re-awaken my passion for choreography.
kK: I know that Amanda Selwyn Dance Theater performed at Inside/Out stage last summer. What was that experience like for you? Did it encourage you to apply to be included in the 2010 season or was that something that you were already planning?
KR: The performance on the Inside/ Out stage was one that I will never forget. The open air was invigorating, the audience so appreciative, and the staff a pleasure to work with. There is something really special about the space, the energy that it gives, and the calmness of its surroundings. After performing at the Pillow I immediately knew that I wanted to return and experience it again. I had always wanted to apply and be one of the many fortunate companies/
choreographers to present work on the Inside/Out stage, and my experience made the Pillow feel more tangible.
kK: In order to save the Inside/Out stage, the Pillow must match a $100,000 Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Grant by September. Can you tell me what the opportunity to perform at this landmark means to emerging choreographers like yourself?
KR: The Pillow’s history and legacy has always been tied to the support and development of emerging choreographers and companies. It’s a place that has been a turning point for many who have stepped forth as a new voice in the dance world. Having the opportunity to perform on the Inside/Out stage with kerPlunk dance, where so many other companies set foot, is very much anticipated and an honor. What the Inside/Out stage offers is the chance to share our work with a wide variety of audience members and colleagues. Being part of the tradition of sharing work and the introduction of new voices in the dance community is something that I hope Inside/ Out will be able to continue for many seasons to come. Jacob’s Pillow and its Inside/ Out stage understand the evolution of art and the creative care and attention that is needed to keep it thriving. The stage is not just a performance venue, but also a testament to the Pillow’s iconic history. Its preservation is invaluable for all of us.
kK: I couldn't agree more. Be on the lookout for more thoughts on this stage.
kerPlunk will be presented
August 12, 2010
I am so fortunate to have some amazing people as friends. For example, in the summer of 2003, Nicole Harris and Amelia O'Dowd floored me with an incredibly thoughtful gift. They scrimped and saved to send me to a magnificent dance improvisation workshop in Bennington, Vermont. I am not sure that I ever thanked them enough now that I think back on it.
One of the first people that I met that week was Katherine Ferrier, who writes, teaches, quilts, and choreographs. I was delighted when we crossed paths again at Simone Forti's Logomotion workshop in Orvieto, Italy in 2008. She is such a gentle magnet who always attracts a fascinating collection of artists. For instance, even though she has only lived in New Hampshire for a year, she has already stitched together a mini-festival of dance. If you are in the area or within a few hours' drive, I highly recommend that you join her.
Dancers, educators, dance students and dance lovers of all ages are invited to
a day of learning, sharing and showcasing
Saturday, August 14, 2010
White Mountain School
Cultivate is a partnership of the Arts Alliance's Extending the Dance Map initiative,
funded in part by Dana Foundation and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.
Visit the Arts Alliance website for additional details, to preregister for the workshops and to reserve tickets for the evening performance. Evening tickets are $10 per person, $20 per family. The day begins with a series of workshops (for everyone from young dance students to school-based teachers to professional dancers) and culminates with an evening performance of works by participating artists. After the performance audience members are encouraged to linger and mingle over conversation and food at Social 2055, a new restaurant on Bethlehem's Main Street.
Participating artists include:
- Tiffany Rhynard (Middlebury, VT), Guest Artist at
- Pamela Vail (Lancaster, PA), Assistant Professor at Franklin and Marshall College
- Lisa Gonzales (Chicago, IL), Assistant Professor at Columbia College, Chicago
- Katherine Ferrier (Littleton, NH), Independent artist/educator
- Suzy Grant (Chicago, IL), Dance graduate of and independent artist/producer
- Sally Bomer (Peterborough, NH), Lecturer at Franklin Pierce College
- Emily Anderson (North Conway, NH), Bennington College Dance student and
- Vicki Brown (Tuscon, AZ), Composer, performer, musician with Movement Salon, AZ
- Emily Beattie and Eric Gunther (Boston, MA)
On my way over to the office the other day, I stopped by Kickass Cupcakes to snag a treat for all the lovely people who make the Springstep Building such a glorious place to work. While attempting to choose from their wide and wonderful array, I was rather intrigued by the photo of a mailman adorning a tray of chocolate cupcakes. Apparently, they have dedicated their new Hot Stuff cupcake spiked with a little red pepper to their postman. I simply couldn't resist sticking one of those in along with a Caramel Mochiatto, a , a Mojito, and a few others. As I drove through , I overcame the urge to steal one for myself.
Fortunately for my new office mates, I was distracted by the shipment of David Wechsler's show stopping chocolate cookies that I received in the mail that morning. (Yes! The same David Wechsler who makes all that fabulous music we use! He's such a talented guy!) With so much sugary goodness at my fingertips, today seems like a perfect time to announce that Monkeyhouse will be kicking off our 10th anniversary season with a scrumptious party entitled Your Just Desserts and you are invited!