Inspiration - Part 2 and a quick contest for you!

Photo Credit: Michael Hoy

On Sunday Monkeyhouse had our dress rehearsal for Dance in the Fells and photographer Michael Hoy snapped a bunch of fabulous photos of our newest creation, Æ. So, we have decided to whet your appetite and lure you into the autumnal splendor of the Middlesex Fells with a series entitled, Dance in the Fells Photo of the Day.

We are hoping that these images will encourage audience members to bring their own cameras, charcoal pencils, writing utensils, or watercolors to capture their impressions. Wouldn't it be invigorating to spark an artistic dialogue this way? Please feel free to send us your impressions of the performance in words or images and we will include them in a follow up series, Echoes of Dance in the Fells. 

Oh, and to get your mental muscles moving, we are offering a Monkeyhouse Loves Me t-shirt to the first person who can identify the Monkeyhouse performer in this photo. If you have a guess, you can either leave a message on our Facebook page, send an email to monkeyhouseblog [at] gmail, or comment here. One hint...it is not Jason.

October 9, 2010
Performances by Joan Green, EgoArt, John Kramer, Sara Smith, Monkeyhouse, and Lorraine Chapman
Monkeyhouse performances start at 2PM, 4PM, and 5PM


Ashley Chandler @ Long Island Fringe Festival tonight

by karen Krolak

Some of you may remember Ashley Chandler's recent interview with Amy Marshall. Others might recall that she assisted Nicole on the development of Fidelius. You may have witnessed her professional debut when she sprung out from the evergreens around the Cambridgeside Galleria sporting a futuristic hoop skirt during the first Boom Town Festival with Monkeyhouse in 2008. A few of you could have met her during her internship with Monkeyhouse in 2006. Is it obvious yet, why we adore her?

My first memory of Ashley is from a Jazz class at Impulse Dance Center in Natick, MA when she was a feisty 10 year old student. Much to her chagrin, a dozen years later I continue to associate her with the da dum da dum da dum rhythm of the Pink Panther. Even then, one could sense that she possessed the audacious spirit required to pursue a career in dance.

Although she only graduated from Adelphi a few months ago, she is already performing in New York. You have no idea how much I wish I could swoop down to the Long Island Fringe Festival tonight to soak up her performance with Circle of Dance. So if you are in the area, please go in my stead and make sure to applaud extra loud. And, Ashley I am so proud of you.

Circle of Dance
9 - 9:30 PM 
September 24 2010
At the Long Island Fringe Festival
Tilles Center for the Performing Arts | 720 Northern Boulevard, Greenvale, NY 11548-1300 
 Box Office: 516.299.3100

Inspiration-- Part 1

By Nicole Harris

I have very fond memories of driving from Boston to Winnipeg in a white rental van in the middle of the night with Karen teaching me how to knit in the back seat.  I was told to pick a color before we left and once we collected a huge pile of purple yarns, I spent many hours of our travels (being too young to drive a rental car at the time) stitching away.  Before long my cries of "Karen! I think I broke it again! Can you fix it for me?" died down and I started my first official tour blanket.

Each of us in the van that year had our own mountain of yarn and a blanket we were working on.  (Some of us more than one!  The van was very full!)  Over the three months we traveled around the country performing our blankets grew (as did our piles of yarn. There are a LOT of great yarn stores in this country and we did our best to visit as many of them as we could!) and transformed from patches of fuzzy warmth into a physical representation of our trials, tales and travels.

I was given a silver frizzy yarn at the start of the trip that Karen used as shoe laces that summer so every time I added a silver row I thought of Karen and her many pairs of "practical" shoes.

After we sat furiously knitting while watching the news with friends in San Francisco on September 11th each blanket had a darker, more somber patch of color.

Some rows remember where the yarn itself came from, like the Jumper, a little ball who jumped into Karen's coffee at a restaurant we frequented in Winnipeg.  Some remember where they were knit, like the patch of blues added while hanging out with the Meehan Brothers in the sweltering heat on the front porch in Minneapolis.  Some rows reflect the landscape, like the beautiful coppers and rusts that began appearing as we ventured through the Southwestern US.  Each color change was inspired by some aspect of our travels and the adventures of the person who knit it.

My first tour blanket is currently hanging as part of the JP Licks Emloyee Art Show in Jamaica Plain!  While the blanket will be up for a few weeks, you should head over to JP this weekend for Jamaica Plain Open Studios!!  Email me at MonkeyhouseBlog [at] gmail [dot] com to see the whole collection and learn how you can own one of these gorgeous pieces of Monkeyhouse history!

We've been talking a lot about inspiration here at Monkeyhouse, especially with Dance at the Fells right around the corner which was so strongly inspired by the beauty of the Middlesex Fells, and how much art and environment can inspire creation.  Tell me what inspires you and you'll be entered to win your very own Monkeyhouse Loves Me t-shirt!


Urbanity's Betsi Graves Akerstein on BDA's Open Call and Cambridge Connections

by karen Krolak

This is a little peek at one of the guests for the October episode of C2C. Unfortunately,  I am about to run out the door to see Frualein Maria at the brand spanking new Paramount Center in Boston and must cut this introduction short. Be on the lookout for a follow up post on tonight's adventure.

karen Krolak: I am really excited about the burgeoning dance program at Endicott College. What are you planning to present at the Cambridge Connections concert at there in November? 
Betsi Graves Akerstein: Urbanity will be performing excerpts from our upcoming "alternative" holiday revue, The Story of Stuff, opening on Black Friday and running two weekends Nov 26-Dec 4, 2010.

kK: That is certainly a bold jete away from the Nutcracker. What is the story of Urbanity? How did you decide to launch your company?
BG: In 2007 I choreographed my wedding at Jacob's Pillow (my husband is also an artist and an acrobat)... the process rekindled my passion for making dances. The choreography featured dancers, musicians and poets. I believe that was actually the "seed" for Urbanity; in fact, two of the “wedding dancers” are still dancing for the company. At that point I realized how much I missed creating on adults... I was teaching at several dance schools at the time but felt stifled as a choreographer. I applied for the Emerging Artists Program at Green Street, gathered a few friends... and serendipitously, a producer that saw the Emerging Artists performance asked us to perform at a summer festival. The producer asked me for a company name and website (eek!)- Two days later, Urbanity was born!

kK: Wow, I am quite jealous. How fantastic to have your wedding at Jacob's Pillow! Am I remembering correctly that you also participated in one of the Choreographers' Labs there?
BG: I attended Jacob's Pillow Choreographers Lab in the Summer of 2006. At the time, I felt quite insecure... It was a selective program, and I was the youngest and least-experienced choreographer.  After I was able to get over my own insecurities, I began to open up to the experience of learning and growing as an artist. It was an amazing experience - led by Celeste Miller, we focused on choreographing for untrained dancers and community members, several of which were young boys from a juvenile prison, though the choreographers didn't know this at the time.

kK: Celeste is such an inspiring mentor, isn't she? I attended the 2008 session with her and still feel her ideas reverberate in me on a daily basis. How did your experience at the Choreographers' Lab influence your subsequent work?
BG: After teaching at Boston Ballet, I had to untrain my eye for the perfect pirouette or tendu, and instead train my voice to help lead a choreographic experience for the community. It culminated in a moving performance which the community members themselves helped create. It was then that I first witnessed the empowering and healing magic in guiding others to find their own choreographic voice, and this spirit still guides Urbanity.  I encourage all Urbanity dancers to create, I believe that it would be selfish to hoard this joy for only myself... and our upcoming Spring Revue is going to feature a dance choreographed by an "untrained" community member.

kK: Please keep me posted on your spring concert as I am quite curious about how you are going to develop that piece. How would you describe Urbanity to people who have never seen you before?
BG: Right now we are a large company with 25 dancers, 6 are paid.  The style is a Contemporary Fusion- Building on a rich foundation of classical ballet and modern dance, the Aesthetic seeks to combine lyrical fluidity with a jazzy economy of expression. Urbanity dancers are known for their adaptability: the ability to lyrically release through the torso yet also execute quirky, minimalist styles.

kK: I heard that you attended the Boston Dance Alliance Open Call Audition on Sunday? Have you participated in that before?
BG: I actually taught the ballet segment at the first audition back in 2006 -- the last three years I have attended as a choreographer, and always look forward to it! I've chosen a number of dancers in the past and found some true gems... I'm so thankful for this opportunity.

kK: Do you have any advice for the dancers who were there? 
BG: I know auditions can be pretty intimidating for the dancers, but I think similar fears abound for the choreographers, ie: "Will the dancers like my work?"  My advice for auditionees: Instead of focusing on one company you really want to get into, think about the beauty of being in a supportive space (thank you BDA!) where choreographers and dancers just want to find good "fits" for one another.  It's like a big jigsaw puzzle, and we're all trying to find the right fits. The truth is, we all want to improve dance in Boston, we all want each other to succeed and we all want to find good matches.  Also, every choreographer is looking for something different. Some like the "wow factor," some like "zen fluidity," others... "odd intrigue." You just never know.... so my best advice is to be yourself and dance from your soul! It's kind of like speed-dating, only better... Think: Which choreographer is going to be attracted to me? Which choreographer am I going to be attracted to? With BDA as a natural matchmaker, I find that those two answers frequently converge...

kK: Which sections did you watch? 
BG: Sadly I missed Ballet because I was teaching company class back at Boston Ballet. But I was there for the remaining genres - Urbanity is built on versatility, so I've chosen dancers from all five genres in the past.  I love watching dancers in their element!

kK: How many dancers are you hoping to find?
BG: I'm particularly looking for apprentices (Click here for more info.) Urbanity already had auditions for our 10-11 Season and had to be more selective than ever to keep the company from getting too large... but I'm always looking for dancers that inspire me.

kK: I know we will be filming C2C next week but is there anything else you want to add today? 
BG: Thanks, Karen, for starting this blog and getting conversations about dance and choreography rolling!

Monkeyhouse & the Media

by karen Krolak

As we settle into the start of Monkeyhouse's 10th Anniversary season, I keep focusing on how many unsung heroes have contributed to the success of our organization. Today I would like to thank all of the passionate dance writers who have covered our events and the newspapers, magazines, and websites who publish their work. Realizing how difficult it is to keep publications afloat and how freelance journalists must constantly cajole editors, I am amazed at how many articles have been written about Monkeyhouse. In the last few weeks, for example, we have appeared Boston Globe's Fall Arts Preview, Boston Phoenix's Fall Arts Preview, Dover Sherborn Hometown Weekly's Photo Gallery,
a Dover Sherborn Hometown Weekly article on Monkeyhouse and Bosoma, and Boston.com's post about Dance in the Fells.

I would like to especially thank Deb Cash, Tedd Bale, Eva Yaa Asantewaa, Karen Campbell, Carly Carioli, Thea Singer, Marcia Seigel, Steve Maas, Wendy Perron, and Phil Maddox. Your observations have sparked interest from new audience members, fortified our grant applications, encouraged relationships with new presenters, improved future iterations of pieces, and inspired this blog. Monkeyhouse is extremely fortunate that the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Boston Phoenix, Boston Herald, Natick Tab, Village Voice, Dover Sherborn Press, Dover Sherborn Hometown Weekly, Dance Magazine, Vanity Fair and dozens more publications have featured us.

Finally, I would like to ask a small favor of you, dear blog reader. When you puruse an article that prompts you to attend a performance, or demystifies a choreographer's work, please take a second to drop an email to the writer or to her editor. Your voice matters and could be a catalyst for more arts coverage.


Sara Smith on Dance in the Fells and the BDA's Open Call Audition

by karen Krolak

Moseying on to part 4 of of our series on Boston Dance Alliance's Open Call Audition, I contacted one of my fellow choreographers from Dance in the Fells: 5 Pieces, 5 Places, Sara Smith.

karen Krolak: I am so excited to see your piece for Dance in the Fells at our dress rehearsal. How do you feel about it?
Sara Smith:It's going well and the process has been a lot of fun. It's been an interesting process for me because a) I've never made a site-specific piece before and b) I usually work for a long time, sometimes years, on a dance, so making something in such a short time period has been a challenge. My piece is based on the relationship of my dancers to specific spots around Panther Cave, and on documents from the early history of the park, especially Elizur Wright's written appeals that were instrumental in garnering public support for the establishment of the Fells.

kK: Wow, I am very intrigued by the historical angle to your piece. I love that each choreographer has such a different creative path into this project. I am fascinated and look forward to experiencing your work at the dress rehearsal.
SS: I am excited to see everyone's work at the dress rehearsal too. I'm sure my piece will keep changing between dress and the final date- I tend to make a lot of changes in the final days before a show. I haven't ever seen Monkeyhouse, so I am looking forward to learning more about your work.

kK: After the Fells on October 9th, do you have any upcoming projects?
SS: I'm not really sure yet, but I think I might make a big group dance to music. This is actually something I haven't done in a long time, since my work is usually based on research into historical or cultural topics.

kK: I know that you will attending Boston Dance Alliance's Open Call Audition this weekend. Have you ever gone to it before?
SS: I attended the Open Call audition in 2009. I found an amazing dancer there, Sarah Baumert, who I have worked with now on two projects and hope to keep working with as long as possible. I watched the modern and improvisations sections. I was originally going to just watch the modern section, but Ellen at BDA suggested that I stay for improv, which was great advice. I use some improvisation structures in my rehearsal process, and watching this section ended up tipping the scales in favor of a few dancers that I was eyeing in the modern section. Also, I had just recently moved to the Boston area, and the audition provided a great opportunity to meet other choreographers.

kK: Yes, I agree. Thanks, I lead the Improv section last year and I was equally impressed by the dancers. I know that improvisation helps me understand how people apply their technique. Sarah Baumert was outstanding and I am curious to see her in your piece. So, what drew you to Boston?
SS: Immediately before moving to Boston I lived in Portland, Maine. I moved here in 2008 to finish a Masters in Library Science at Simmons College. I grew up in the Boston area, and after school moved to North Carolina and then New York, but I always knew I wanted to return to New England. Now my time is split between eastern and western Massachusetts.

kK: Which sections of the audition will you watch on Sunday?
SS: Modern and Improv again.

kK: How many dancers are you looking for?
SS: I'm not sure. Since I build all my work around specific dancers, I'm going to look for as many possible collaborators for future projects as I can.

kK: In your opinion, what makes a dancer stand out at a large audition?
SS: I look for dancers who seem to know their bodies and their presence in a room, and who make movement their own. I am always drawn to the dancers who seem like they enjoy dancing and don't seem overly stressed out about getting things "right." Also, I look for people who seem as comfortable walking, sitting and standing as they do executing movement phrases.

kK: So one last question: how long have you been choreographing?
SS: About 15 years.

kK: Thanks Sara. Once again, if people want more info on BDA's Open Call Audition, click here.


Meet Melinda Sullivan of the Boston Early Music Festival

by karen Krolak
For part three of Connect 2 Choreography's series on the Boston Dance Alliance's Open Call Audition, I emailed Melinda Sullivan, who choreographs for the Boston Early Music Festival.

karen Krolak: I have bumped into to people from the Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) at events at the Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston but I don't know much about the organization. Can you give us a little background about it?
Melinda Sullivan: BEMF is one of the world's leading interpreters of early music. They present a Concert Series and Chamber Opera in Boston each year and an international biennial festival that showcases a full-production baroque opera every other June.

kK: And, how long have you been involved with it?
MS: I have been working with Boston Early Music Festival since 1995, first as a dancer, then adding assistant choreographer and ballet mistress duties. For the November performance of Purcell's chamber opera, Dido and Aeneas, I will make 14 dances. This is BEMF's third chamber opera to be performed at New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall. The last two were only one night and sold out. This year we are adding a second performance.

kK: That is wonderful to hear that BEMF is building a bigger audience for seldom seen styles of dance. How do you develop these pieces?
MS: I am using English notations from 1700 as my basis. The dances will be English baroque and character dances from the same period. We will bring back two fabulous baroque dancers, Caroline Copeland and Carlos Fittante as our principals. We also need two females and a male to round out the company. I will offer baroque classes to the new dancers. Please visit www.bemf.org for more info and pictures.

kK: Have you attended the BDA's Open Call Audition before?
MS: Yes, I have attended the last two BDA auditions. There was mostly a pre-professional quality and not enough men. But, I am ever hopeful to find one female with excellent footwork, excellent ballet and modern abilities, musicality and theatricality for the November production, and two men for the June opera, Niobe.

kK: Well, best of luck finding people this weekend. Tomorrow I will continue this series with Sara Smith, who will be presenting a piece at Panther's Cave for Dance in the Fells.

Your Just Desserts (Part 4) The Top Chef Tie In

by karen Krolak

Wow, way to go Nicky Felix! We knew our impressive former Board Member would be a fierce contender for the Your Just Desserts' Bake Off and, sure enough, her amazing lavender lemon cookies clinched the prize from Sara Ross, owner of Kickass cupcakes. Late last night, we discovered from Sara that those cookies have inspired a new Kickass creation that will be part of the national celebration to kick-off the new Bravo! show Top Chef Just Desserts (coincidence that even basic cable wants to tie into our 10th Anniversary theme? hmmm...)

Want to be part of the Zeitgeist? Stop by Kickass today (Somerville location only.) after 1PM and you can sample this delectable confection for free!!! Be sure to mention that Monkeyhouse loves both you and Kickass cupcakes.

Around Monkeyhouse, we like to joke about how "without you we'd be Monkeyhose." It is not only a good quip but truly sums up our philosophy about how important community is to us. The people who make up this organization are talented and fascinating and this is a perfect example.


An Introductory Interview with enigmatic Contemporary Dance Company about BDA's Open Call Audition

by karen Krolak

For the second part of our series on the Boston Dance Alliance's Open Call Audition, Marissa Molinar introduced me to Michelle Kim from enigmatic Contemporary Dance Company. enigmatic will be one of more than 20 companies looking for new dancers this Sunday, September 19th from 11AM - 5PM at Brookline High School.

karen Krolak: I have never heard of enigmatic Contemporary Dance Company. Is this a new company?
Michelle Kim: Heather Emley and I started enigmatic Contemporary Dance during the summer of 2009. Our inaugural performance, called Arise and Be, will be on November 5 and 6 at 8 pm at Green Street Studios.

kK: Congratulations, that first concert is always such a great milestone. Were you at last year's Open Call Audition?
MK: We were at the 2009 Open Call Auditions and found our dancers, Ashleigh Buckley, Kara DelGrosso and Kat DelGrosso, there! We will be there this September as well to find more dancers for our spring show.

kK: Wow, that is fabulous that you found three dancers from it. Did you start working with them right away or did you hold a secondary audition of your own?
MK: We held separate auditions after the Open Call Auditions to see how our choices fit with our genre.

kK: So how many dancers are you hoping to find this year?
MK: We are hoping to find around 5 more dancers to join our company.

kK: And, if dancers are specifically interested in auditioning for enigmatic, which sections will you be watching at the Open Call?
MK: We will be attending every section except Improv and we are looking for athletic dancers that are strong in more than one genre as we incorporate many different genres within our pieces.

Check back tomorrow to meet Melinda Sullivan who is hoping to find some dancers for the Boston Early Music Festival.


Ryan Casey & A Reason to Celebrate

HOORAY! Jacob's Pillow raised $150,000 to Save the Inside/Out stage this summer. That's right, they raised $50,000 more than their goal. We will finish up our series on the efforts to preserve this landmark over the next few days with some posts about how this funding will be used. To celebrate today, however, Monkeyhouse asked the ever eloquent Ryan Casey, to talk about his experience performing at Inside/Out with the School at Jacob's Pillow's first Tap Program.

by Ryan Casey
As a new student of The School at Jacob's Pillow, I was told that I would have the privilege of performing on a stage on which decades of legendary artists had sprinkled their "dust." Tap dancers, of course, leave a literal dust of their own, but as the first group of tappers studying at the School, we had the added honor of leaving dust that would hopefully serve as the foundation for serious tap education at the Pillow in the future. The Inside/Out stage was the perfect place to perform as a culmination of our intensive studies: it is a formal stage, yet intimate; the outdoor setting brings the audience and performers together in one great creative space; the natural setting reminds us that we are all a part of something much greater than ourselves, just as we are dancers participating in a rich tradition; and it encompasses the nature - literally and figuratively - of where and how we have been studying, enjoying the great outdoors and the beauty of the dance mecca that surrounds us. I am proud and thrilled to have left some of my own dust on that stage, to have participated in a great tradition of sharing, connecting, and loving dance. To preserve the stage is not just to preserve all of that dust and the emotions and memories it disseminates when stirred up, but to allow future generations of gifted, dedicated, passionate dancers to continue this wonderful tradition - and stir up a real dust storm in the Berkshires.

Photo Credit: The School at Jacob’s Pillow Tap Program at Inside/Out; photo Kristi Pitsch

Courtney Wagner Chats about the BDA Open Call Audition

by karen Krolak

If you attended the BoomTown festival or Your Just Desserts, you probably noticed a rather adorable new dancer, Courtney Wagner, bopping about in polka dots and stripes (she's the one on the left). Courtney's bold choices at the 2009 Boston Dance Alliance (BDA) Open Call Audition immediately snagged my attention. I was thrilled when she began attending Monkeyhouse's Musings in the spring and look forward to weaving her into future projects. If you haven't met her yet, don't miss Monkeyhouse's newest site-specific creation, AE, at Dance in the Fells on October 9th from 1 - 6 at the Middlesex Fells. She and Nikki Sao Pedro will be attached at the hip as they gather glass around Wright's Tower. Admit it, you are curious... As a thank you to the BDA for introducing Monkeyhouse to this charming performer, Connect 2 Choreography will be running a quick series of posts this week to lead up to 2010 Open Call on Sunday, September 19th from 11AM til 5 PM at Brookline High School. I decided to check in with Courtney about her perspective on the process to start things off.

karen Krolak: Perhaps we should start by telling people a little bit about your dance background?
Courntey Wagner: Ok, my dance training growing up was at a small suburban dance studio near my hometown in Connecticut. My dance teacher (and the studio’s owner/founder/director) focused on making dance fun for her students and creating a familiar, comfortable, and familial atmosphere and environment. Although she offered a variety of classes and styles, her primary focus was jazz, and most of her choreography reflected this. I trained in mostly jazz throughout elementary, middle and high school, though I did take 8 years of ballet, as well as tap, character ballet, partnering, and Broadway.

kK: And, what lured you up to Boston?
CW: After 10 years at the studio I graduated high school and went on to Boston University to study exercise science with dance as my minor.

kK: Having seen a few shows at BU, they seem to have wonderful dance department even though they don't offer dance as a major. How did it expand your dance training?
CW: At BU, modern was the focus of the dance department, so I began taking modern technique classes and adapting my training and style to modern choreography. Over my 4 years at BU, I continued taking jazz classes, as well as a few tap and ballet classes. I was also an active member of the Dance Theatre Group, a student run, faculty advised performance group on campus. Through Dance Theatre Group I was exposed to the process of choreography and having work shown and critiqued. I performed in 7 student and faculty choreographed shows, including choreographing for 3 of them. The repertoire was mostly modern or ballet, with the occasional modern/jazz, or structured improvisation piece. After I graduated, I continued to take classes in Boston/Cambridge, and went to a lot of auditions trying to find a way to keep dancing and performing.

kK: Excellent segue, had you ever attended the BDA Open Call before last year?
CW: I attended my first and only BDA audition last September. I had heard about them while at BU, but never went. I googled it after graduation and registered.

kK: How did you feel that the audition went?
CW: I looked at that audition, as well as most of the auditions I went to in the fall, as a way to take class, keep moving, and hopefully meet people and teachers who could help me keep dance as a part of my life. I went to the audition expecting to be able to take classes with a bunch of new teachers and be further exposed to new styles. My expectations were met, as I went to four out of the five segments. It seemed very well organized and efficiently run, and BDA did a nice job providing water, snacks, etc to the dancers. It was a good experience to be exposed to new teachers with new teaching styles and combinations, and a challenge to learn and perform combinations in front of the choreographers present. Personally, I felt some sections went better than others, but it was a learning experience.

kK: That is a great attitude to bring to an audition. From your perspective as a dancer, was there any advantage to attending BDA's Open Call as opposed to going to auditions for individual dance companies?
CW: I think one of the biggest advantages to this audition is the chance to be exposed to so many dancers and choreographers all at once. Having never been to one, it was a little overwhelming at first, but it was nice to be able to take class from multiple teachers, learn multiple combinations, and get to meet other dancers as well as choreographers/company directors all in one day! Physically, it was a nice challenge to learn, remember, and perform the combinations, especially knowing I was being watched by so many people. Interpersonally, it was a great way for me to network a little and talk to other dancers about where to take class in the city, what teachers to try, etc since I was fairly new to the Boston (non college) dance scene. Looking back, it was great to be able to be seen by so many choreographers at once and get noticed and contacted by groups I may not have auditioned for independently (because I didn’t know where to find out about their auditions, or just wouldn’t have assumed I should try that style). The BDA audition takes that kind of pressure off of the dancer by allowing them to just dance and move, letting the choreographers decide if what they see could be adapted to what they want specifically.

kK: Finally, as you know Monkeyhouse adores you. How have you felt about working on Monkeyhouse projects?
CW: Working with Monkeyhouse has been a fantastic experience for me. It was such a welcome surprise to be contacted for a Musing and such a unique experience to be thrown into the process. It has been a nice challenge for me to not really know what to expect and be pushed a little outside my comfort zone in terms of movement and vocabulary. It has also been wonderful to meet new people and learn about different backgrounds and how they all come together to create and maintain the company. I’ve been happy to be a part of it.. Additionally, it has been so nice to receive positive feedback and to be working with people who seem so open and accepting. The Monkeyhouse ideal of wanting to make choreography accessible to everyone, and bringing dance into the community is one I find refreshing. It reminds me a little of my old teacher’s beliefs and attitudes about dance and that background has made Monkeyhouse feel that much more familiar to me.

kK: Thanks Courtney. As reminder, the BDA's Open Call Audition is free for dancers. Choreographers must be BDA members to attend. For more information, click here.


Monkeyhouse's Jason Ries and The Coveted Crown

by karen Krolak

As you may remember, Monkeyhouse's Production Manager, Jason Ries, cranked out a rather sassy set for (ASP) Taming of the Shrew last fall. Well, this October he is kicking off ASP's season by tackling Henry IV. Directed by Patrick Swanson, The Coveted Crown Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 is an action-packed, two play blitz presented in repertory at Midway Studios. According to the press release, it will examine the meaning of greatness and will climax in an historic combat pitting the hero against his alter ego. Somehow, Monkeyhouse's Man-in-Motion will also sneak an appearance at Dance in the Fells: 5 Pieces, 5 Places between the opening of Part 1 on October 2 and Part 2 on October 9. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that he doesn't end up on the PUP list.

Hmmm...one senses that Jason's pre-season cheesehead fever is contagious. Speaking of which, if you want to check out an open rehearsal this Sunday and still catch the Packers opening game against the Eagles, ASP has you covered. Things are a little tighter if you are a Patriots fan. Rehearsal starts at 11AM, downstairs at the Garage in Harvard Square.

The Coveted Crown:
Henry IV, Parts I & 2
with a prologue & epilogue from Richard II & Henry V

by William Shakespeare
directed by Patrick Swanson

September 29 - November 21
Midway Studios
15 Channel Center Street
Fort Point Channel

Open Rehearsal Sunday 9/12 11:00am
Downstairs at The Garage in Harvard Square










For Tickets:

For more information, including directions, click HERE

4 & 6 Play Subscriptions are still available - Join us!

Your Just Desserts -- Part Three!

by Nicole Harris

So many awesome people helped out to make Your Just Desserts such a success.  
There were volunteers like Anne and Rick 
(who you might remember from the Moving Day photos!)  
[p.s.  Happy Birthday Anne!]  
(Or maybe you saw Anne playing her french horn during our show at Art Beat!)...

The newly married (Congratulations!!) Jon & Lucie...

Caitlin and Courtney who looked so cute in their dots and stripes!  (You will find them both performing with us at Dance at the Fells in October!)...

My amazing sister Renee...

And my sufficiently ferocious cousin Andrew...



Your Just Desserts -- Part Two!

by Nicole Harris

Here are a few more AWESOME photo booth photos from Your Just Desserts!  The photo booth was set up by my cousin Jonathan, who won the Jon Wye belt in the silent auction!  Thanks to both Jons for being such awesome Monkeyhouse supporters!


Peggy Wacks and her husband Steve are also huge Monkeyhouse supporters.  Peggy's Heirloom Date Nut Yummies were one of the two Your Just Desserts Bake Off winners!  She and her dessert won an ice cream party for six at JP Licks!

Speaking of JP Licks, the man who picked Peggy's tasty treat was Donald Hernstrom, head ice cream maker at JP Licks.  In addition to sending Don as a judge JP Licks donated the coffee we served at the event and a variety of other prizes.  Everyone at Monkeyhouse LOVES JP Licks!

Judging along side Donald was Sara Ross, owner of Kickass Cupcakes.  Sara chose Nicky Felix's Lemon and Lavender Shortbread Cookies as her top choice and rewarded Nicky with two dozen Kickass Cupcakes!  Sara also went home with an adorable apron hand made and donated to the raffle by Donna Rosenberg.  (Thanks Donna!)  I am looking forward to more opportunities to partner with Sara.  And to the next time I get one of those glorious cupcakes!

Well, that about wraps it up for today's photos.  
Don't you worry, there are plenty more coming soon!!


Your Just Desserts -- Part One!

By Nicole Harris

Looking around at last night's amazing Your Just Desserts, 10th Anniversary Celebration I keep thinking how great it was to have such a wide variety of people there.  From new dancers (and kickass volunteers) like Caitlin & Courtney...
To having so much of my family there to volunteer and support Monkeyhouse like my cousins Jonathan and Andrew (who have been some of my biggest personal supporters for as long as I can remember) and new family like Annie who has embraced us all with open arms and that beautiful smile of hers...
 To Monkeyhouse supporters who have been around with us for a while like Freya, who is a former board member (and the mom of Gaby the Intern!) and Margaret Hagemeister and Zach Galvin who were on the Your Just Desserts committee and who make my life (and all the lives around them) a better place...
And of course old friends, fellow artists, people we admire and people we wouldn't be here without!  Thank you to everyone who made Your Just Desserts (and the past 10 YEARS of Monkeyhouse) such an amazing success!


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