Whos, Whats and Hows -- Art Beat

Art Beat Online Program
At the end of many previous performances there have been hundreds of programs left littering the theater. So, as part of our ongoing efforts to improve our environmental impact and to focus our financial resources on programming, we are posting out program online.


- Inspired by research from the 2009 Somerville Arts Council Fellowship & the Somerville Tiznit exchange

Presented by Monkeyhouse
at Art Beat
at the Somerville Theatre
July 17, 2010

Lighting Design by Jason Ries
Costume Design by Karen Krolak

Drouken (1999)
Choreographed by Karen Krolak
Performed by Nicole Harris
Music by Tricolor
Special Thanks to Yvonne York

Dream of the Rhinoceros (premiered at Bent Wit Cabaret, 2010)
Created by Rhino PreservesMusic Composed by Trygve Madsen

Zizz (premiered at First Night Boston, 2008)
Choreographed by Karen Krolak in collaboration with Nikki Sao Pedro and Caitlin Meehan
Performed by Caitlin Meehan and Nikki Sao Pedro
Music by Uncle Monsterface
Blanket by Amelia O'Dowd

Anti-Ossification (premiered at Cool New York Dance Festival, 2010)
Choreographed and Performed by Karen Krolak and Nicole Harris
Music by Combustible Edison
Developed in part during a residency at The Groton School
Special Thanks to Laurie Sales

A., B., C., D. All of the Above (premiere)
Choreographed and Performed by Caitlin Meehan
Music by Nigel Kennedy and the Kroke Band, Lost In The Trees
Special Thanks to Caitlin's family and Monkeyhouse

Fidelius (premiere)
Choreographed by Nicole Harris
Performed by Nikki Sao Pedro and Nicole Harris
Music by David Wechsler
Costumes by Nicole Harris
Special Thanks to Caitlin Meehan, Ashley Chandler, Shane Rutkowski and David Wechsler (check out his new album here for FREE!)

Odds (A Work in Progress)
Choreographed by Karen Krolak in collaboration with Caitlin Meehan, Nikki Sao Pedro and Nicole Harris
Sound by Rudy Trubitt, Aaron Ximm
Special Thanks to Sarah Feinberg, Julia Marx, Rowan Salem and Sarah Friswell

Thank Yous

Art Beat
College Planners LLC
Impulse Dance Center
Arlington Center for the Arts
Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston
Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center
Exit Theater
Marquette Associates
Uncle Monsterface
David Wechsler
Jacob's Pillow Choreographers' Lab
Actors' Shakespeare Project
Rachel Strutt
Gregory Jenkins
Brent Sullivan
Nile Foley
Pat and Rita Krolak
Danalynne Wheeler
Freya Bernstein
Cathy & Joe Lynn

John Aceto & Natalie Pino

Austin & Sarah de Besche
Gillian Brecker
Robyn Keske & Fay Robinson
Steve Wightman and Peggy Wacks
Freya Bernstein and Dr. Martin Broff
Joan and Robert Parker
Richard Miner and Corinne Nagy
Tim Losch and Brandi Brooks
Susan and Gib Hammond
Tom and Viz Ries
Nicky Felix
Dot and Tom Christian
Joan and Roger Panek
LuAnn and Jim Pagella
Kathryn Stieber
Dr. and Mrs. Owen Bernstein
Jon Schaffrath
Drs. Carlos Estrada and Bita Tabesh
Paul Feiss and Margaret McKenna
Pat and Lizzie Krolak
Michael and Carly Krolak
Dr. Michael Shannon
Dave Pavkovic and Becca Rossen
Stephen, Meera and Cody Werther
Christina Augello
Pam and Steve Harris
Marjorie Freeman
Gillian Brecker and Seth Mason
Donna and James Rosenberg
Mike and Judy Panaro
Penny Penniston and Jeremy Wechsler
Tom and Dot Christian
Karen and Mark Slutsky
Amelia O'Dowd and Brian Eastman
Beth McGuire and Nathaniel Panek
Gail and Rick Fine
Adele Traub
Marty Allen
Eric Phelps
Margaret Hagemeister
Anne Howarth and Rick Frank
Martha Christensen and Neal Smyth
Michael Wissner
Julia Blatt
Suzanne Jenkins
Joanne Dougan
Mark Zuroff
Zach Galvin
Shelley Neill
John Aceto and Natalie Pino
Mara Blumenfeld
Irene Gaetani
Gaby Mervis
Sarah Friswell
Sarah Feinberg
Ashley Chandler
Janine Harrington
Leah Sakala
Michael Maggio
Lynn Schwab
Gail & Rick Fine
Niles Welch
Denise & Carlos Sao Pedro
Endicott College
Kristin Bezio
Tori Woodhouse
Bari Rosenberg
Sarah Friswell
...and of course,
Lynne Anne Blom
Timothy O’Slynne

Please feel free to email us at MonkeyhouseLovesME@gmail.com with any questions or comments, if you don't want to post them here.


Sneak Peek at Art Beat

by Nicole Harris

Just in case you weren't already planning on joining us at the Somerville Theatre tomorrow afternoon, here are a few reasons that this is a show you wont want to miss:

1.  A Guest Performer!

Anne Howarth has been a friend and supporter of Monkeyhouse for many years now (you might remember her from the series of photos on Moving Day!) and plays the french horn with the likes of the Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra, Hartford Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Portland Symphony, and Boston Symphony Orchestra.  This Spring she and Karen got together and created a very sweet new piece that involves dancing, the french horn and a rhinoceros!

2.  A Premier (or two!)

I am premiering a new duet, Fidelius, which will be performed by the ever wonderful Nikki SaoPedro and Caitlin Meehan.  I have loved working with them both and they have done amazing things with this piece.  I am so excited!  Speaking of Caitlin, she will be premiering a solo of her own!!

3.  A Preview!

Monkeyhouse will be performing at the Massachusetts Dance Festival (both in Boston and Amherst) the last two weekends in August.  We will be premiering a new quartet there that we've been building for the past year.  However, you wont have to wait until August because tomorrow we will be showing an excerpt from that quartet!

That is just a small selection of what we have in store for you tomorrow.  So, just in case you've forgotten, here's the info on Art Beat:

Saturday, July 17th
Somerville Theatre

Don't forget to check out all the other wonderful artists and performers that will be lining the streets of Davis Square tonight and tomorrow too!!


My Favorite Things -- TAP CITY 2010

by Nicole Harris

As I mentioned yesterday, last night I was lucky enough to perform in Tony Waag's TAP CITY Show.  What I could only begin to hint at was how AMAZING some of the things that took place on that stage were.  I performed in the concert last year, so I had some sense of what to expect, but I was completely blown away by the dynamic, inventive, engaging work that was presented this year.  The show opened with Cartier Williams, a young powerhouse of a tap dancer who set the bar for the evening, and he set it high.   I wish I could tell you about every piece in the show, but for time's sake I will just give you the highlights (aka My Favorite Things).  

Xander Weinman's new tap company Sophisticated Sounds performed TwentySomething, and his company of twenty somethings is something to watch.  A strong performer, Xander danced in practically every piece in the first act and I am excited to see him putting his own work on stage too. 

I was fortunate enough to dance with Chikako Iwahori at last year's TAP CITY and I was thrilled to finally see some of her work.  Baiao Destemperado is a beautiful piece that made me secretly wish that I was on stage with them!  Danced by six of the hardest working tap dancers I know, I loved every swirling and flowing moment of it.

Another piece I actually told the choreographer I wanted to dance in was Danny Wallace's Inception.  ("Your piece was wonderful, I would love to dance in it", is apparently not how most people introduce themselves to stranger.  Who knew?)  His work was quirky and sweet and rhythmically intoxicating.

Barbara Duffy's Speedball is a high energy barrel of fun that had everyone dancing in their seats.  What more do you need?

(Since I'm telling you about all my favorite things, those last three pieces I mentioned had Carson Murphy and Claudia Rahardjanoto dancing in them, and they are both an absolute JOY to watch on stage and lovely women to boot!)

In a tribute to the ever wonderful Dormeshia Sumbry Edwards, who received a 2010 Hoofer Award, Jason Samuels Smith, Chloe Arnold and Derick K. Grant turned, slid and jitterbugged themselves and the audience into a frenzy with their high tempo, crystal clear tapping.  I have known Derick for a number of years now and I still marvel at his ability to enrapture an audience every time I have the chance to see him perform.  (Jason and Chloe are pretty amazing too!)

Last, but certainly not least, Lynn Schwab.  Since I danced in it myself, I can safely say that Lynn's Waters of March was BRILLIANT.  Of course, the brilliance came from Lynn's ability to wrangle fifteen dancers of all different levels into what can only be described as a simply beautiful piece.  It took you on an emotional ride, was visually stunning and filled your ears with delicate counterpoint.  Lynn is an amazing asset to the New York tap community and to my life. 

There you have it.  And that doesn't even begin to cover the range of pieces Tony presented this year.  There was Nicholas Young and his ukulele, a whole segment called Tap Internationals, Tony himself singing Just in Time and so much more!  I hope next year you can all make it down to take in this amazing evening of tap dancing.



by Nicole Harris

Tonight is a big night here in the New York tap community.  It's Tony Waag's TAP CITY Main Event!  Tap dancers and tap dance fans come from far and wide to see this amazing collection of performers.  The show has work from crowd favorites (like Derick K. Grant and Jason Samuels Smith), young choreographers (like Xander Weinman and Cartier Williams) and some of my personal favorites (like Michelle Dorrance and Chikako Iwahori) and it ranges from improvisation based solos to large group choreography.  This is a night of tap dancing you aren't going to want to miss!

Once again, I am lucky enough to be dancing for the ever wonderful Lynn Schwab in her new piece, Waters of March.  For many of my fellow Waters of March dancers it is their first time on the TAP CITY stage and I am so honored to be able to dance with them. 

If you're in New York tonight, you are going to want to be at Symphony Space at 8pm to be a part of this amazing event.  Also, if you're in New York this morning, I am teaching Beginning Tap from 11:30-1:00 at Steps on Broadway!


Nicole Harris' Newest Duet

by karen Krolak

As most of you know, Nicole Harris and I have been hammering out work together for the last decade. When she relocated to New York City in 2007, I was quite curious to see how that would influence her creativity. She will debuting a duet, Fidelius, at ArtBeat in Somerville, MA. While it is currently set on Caitlin Meehan and Nikki Sao Pedro, it has been shaped by outside dancers and steeped in the Big Apple. This seemed like an ideal moment to turn our interviewing process inward and explore the evolution of this fabulous piece.

karen Krolak: It is difficult for me to pinpoint when exactly you launched into developing Fidelius?
Nicole Harris: I started playing with the ideas about two years ago. I knew the basic concepts I wanted to work with. Thanks to many Sunday morning rehearsals with Shane Rutkowski (who I paid mostly in baked goods), I got to put together decent sized chunks of movement and a basic framework for the characters and their relationship.

kK: I know that it has been through many permutations but what was the original idea?
NH: I set a goal for myself to create a duet for a man and a woman which is something I had never done before. Beyond that, all I knew was that I wanted to deal with the idea of trust. What is trust? Who do you trust? What does it take to trust someone? How do you go about regaining trust once it is lost? What is the difference between the trust you have in another person and the trust you have in yourself?

kK: When did you add the music in?
NH: From the very beginning I had been using a series of songs off David Wechsler's then relatively new album "Vacations" during rehearsals. The piece has gone through many pairings of dancers and the music changed as the dancers changed. At some point the piece was about a romantic relationship and I commissioned David to record Cole Porter's "Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love" to use in conjunction with his "Salt of the Earth". When I began setting the piece on Nikki and Caitlin for the version being shown at Art Beat on July 17th, I changed my mind again. Luckily, David is more than generous and gave me permission to use both "Salt of the Earth" and "Roman Road" for the final version. (Don't worry, I'll be using his "Fall in Love" for a new piece in the future! Also, check out his new album The Decline of America Part I: The Bush Years for FREE! Tell your friends!)

kK: So, what caused you to switch the duet to being about two women?
NH: Originally I began teaching Ashley Chandler the part I had been dancing because I felt that she and Shane had very complimentary movement styles. Due to scheduling conflicts Shane was no longer able to rehearse, so I stepped back in and began dancing in Shane's part.

kK: How did it change when you started working with Ashley Chandler?
NH: Well, first off, my goal of creating a duet for a man and a woman was no longer being met. I have started others since then. Also, despite the almost identical movement phrases, things are read differently when they take place between two women than they do between a man and a woman, no matter what the relationship is.

kK: Can you give an example?
NH: The first image in the piece is of the two characters counter-balancing and almost immediately one lets go and leaves which causes the other to fall to the floor. While it was never my intention, having a man drop a woman can very easily be seen as excessively violent or abusive. Somehow when done by two women it isn't seen with the same aggression. People have different associations with each gender and their relationship to each other.

kK: When you and I were performing in the Cool New York Festival in 2009, you asked me to atttend and informal showing with Lynn Schwab. How did people's feedback assist you with the piece?
NH: Ashley and I had been focusing primarily on getting comfortable with the movement vocabulary by the time we showed the piece to you, Lynn Schwab and Kay Wilson. While I had a good idea of how the characters developed, the comments helped clarify what we could be doing as performers to further the story and pointed out places that the movement counteracted what we were trying to say.

kK: I am so excited that it is finally being realized in front of an audience.


Boomtown is Back - Be on the lookout for Monkeyhouse

by Karen Krolak

Yikes, in all the excitement about our 10th anniversary season, we forgot to mention that Monkeyhouse will be returning to the Boomtown festival in Cambridge, MA. Thank goodness, the Boston Globe remembered to get the word out for us. They featured a charming picture of Julia Marx and Gaby Mervis in Centanni Courtyard during the first Boomtown Festival in 2008. The photo of Princess Pamplemousse to the right is from the same year.

This time, Monkeyhouse will be presenting a dance intervention that explores the choreographic concept of accumulation starting at 5:30 on Thrusday, July 8th and Thursday, July 15th. We are sandwiched in between a Blues Jam Session for Kids with the Jeff Robinson Trio and the DCR Organ Trio. The event is kid-friendly and FREE so slather on some sunscreen, pack up some water bottles, and join us.

I am thrilled to announce that we will have a new dancer, Courtney Wagner, cavorting with us in heart shaped goggles (Don't tell Nicole that I "borrowed" them from her anti-ossification costume. Hmmm...I wonder if she will notice when she subs in for Nikki next week?). Courtney has been a regular at our recent spate of Musings and I am quite certain that you will be thoroughly charmed by her.


Getting to Know Tony Waag-- Part II

by Nicole Harris

As Tony Waag's TAP CITY Festival kicks off today, I wanted to take a moment to share with you another part of my interview with Tony from this winter.  Keep an eye out this week for more information about Tony, TAP CITY and Friday's performance (which I'll be dancing in!)

NH:  Who are some of your favorite choreographers?
TW:  Brenda Bufalino, Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse, I love Fred Astaire's stuff with Hermes Pan.  I have a really hard time with the word favorite because I really do like variety.  I could say anything from Busby Berkeley to Balanchine.

NH:  Are you doing any performing right now?
No, not really.  Every once in a while.  I felt bad about that for a while but then I realized that I'm just taking a break.  I didn't feel like performing for a while, so now when I do I totally love it.  I don't NEED to perform, although I might feel the need to perform again.  Eventually there's a conflict.  There just isn't time.  You can't do everything.

NH:  What about choreography?
TW:  No, I would say I'm kind of revisiting choreography.  I have concepts that are going around it my head but I don't get into the studio much.  I have a piece in Thank You, Gregory.  I had never put a solo of my own on anyone else before.  We made it into a duet and I got a kick out of it, seeing my choreography on these two guys.  I changed it a little bit, but it was really just dipping back into it.  You know, you're never really done with a piece.  I'm never satisfied.

NH:  I hear you've been teaching an Absolute Beginner class?
TW:  I just started teaching again and I'm having a ball because it's just so...  I'm fascinated with it, really.  I feel like I'm looking at it completely different than I have before.  You look at these people and think, why can't they figure this out?  And then you think, well maybe if I try this...  After just three or four classes someone that you thought was hopeless has improved by 50%.


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