Everybody Loves Lynn Schwab!

by Nicole Harris

One of our goals within Monkeyhouse is to support as many choreographers as possible so when we started putting together a list of who and what we'd like to have in Against the Odds I immediately thought of Lynn Schwab.  I have been lucky enough to perform her work at the past two TAP CITY shows and I am always amazed by her creativity, story telling and overall dedication to the art of choreography. 

While I have loved spending Monkeyhouse's 10th Anniversary Year in Boston, having the chance to study, work and spend time with Lynn is one of the biggest things I miss when I'm not in New York.  I am honored to have spent this weekend learning a new solo she created for me.  The piece is an adaptation of an excerpt from a larger work she is building which I'll be sure to tell you more about as it progresses.  

Here is a short sneak peek at some rehearsal footage from yesterday's rehearsal at ATDF.

Look out for more news on Lynn Schwab (and her upcoming trip to Boston!) soon!


Tap Workshop at Endicott College Tuesday!

by Nicole Harris

This is a workshop filled week here at Monkeyhouse.  Karen is doing a workshop at Ithaca College this weekend and on Tuesday I will be teaching a tap workshop at Endicott College in Beverly, MA.  The workshop is open to all levels and will work on improving timing, coordination and improvisation.  Break out your tap shoes and join me!  Class is only $5!!!

Tuesday, March 1st
Tia's Theatre @ Endicott College


Ithaca's On The Floor Dance Company

by karen Krolak

Since On the Floor Dance Company is hosting my visit to Ithaca this weekend, I thought readers might be interested in meeting co-Artistic Director, Sarah Feinberg. She is a former student of mine at Impulse Dance Center in Natick MA, where she was also a member of the Connecting Point Dance Company. Some of you may remember Sarah from her professional debut with Monkeyhouse during the first Boomtown Festival in 2008. 
On the Floor Dance Company

karen Krolak: Thanks for inviting me up to Ithaca. What can you tell me about On the Floor Dance Company?
Sarah Feinberg: It is a student run organization at Ithaca College dedicated to providing experienced dancers with an opportunity to explore, rehearse, choreograph and perform all styles of movement and dance.

kK: You have mentioned that there are a number of other student dance organizations on Ithaca's campus. What attracted you to join On the Floor during your freshman year?
photo credit: Jen Darrell
SF: In all honesty I didn’t know anything about it. When I got to college I just kept an eye out for any and all dance company auditions. I saw a flyer posted on campus and went to the auditions. I enjoyed the audition choreography and liked the fact that the company focused on all styles of dance. On The Floor Dance Company allowed me to continue with all the styles I grew up learning while many of the other dance companies at IC focus on specific styles. Over the last four years I have learned so much from all of the company members. Everyone brings with them a unique style of moving that is all their own. We complement each other to create a dynamic company of dancers. Additionally, On The Floor Dance Company is a family, the friendships made go beyond rehearsing in the studio.

kK: Has your company ever brought a visiting artist to Ithaca before?
SF: No, this is the first time. We are very excited about it.

kK: Wow, I am even more honored that you selected me to present a partnering workshop at Ithaca now. Can you talk a bit about your goals for this program?
SF: Modern partnering is one of my favorite things to do. I want people to share it with and to practice it with. When I first came to Ithaca College and joined On The Floor Dance Company, nobody had the partnering experience and training I had received growing up. Though warned that the modern dance I grew to know and love at Impulse Dance Center was unique and not necessarily what others knew modern dance to be, I still expected more people to have had partnering experience. You are so skilled at teaching this style of movement and explaining things and demonstrating in such a way that fosters such wonderful and interesting compositions.

kK: Thanks, Sarah. I was pleasantly surprised by the photos of On the Floor, however, as it looks as though the company has developed some confidence with partnering. 
SF: I have tried to teach it in bits in pieces to anyone interested and willing to trust that I won’t drop them or let them get hurt, but it is a tough thing to teach.

kK: How so?  
SF: It is sort of tough to partner without a partner.  Contact improvisation/partnering isn’t as concrete as teaching someone to do a pirouette. Of course there are a set of skills required and strategies that can be learned through different exercises. A lot of it comes from within; the willingness to take a risk, to let go, to trust yourself, your partner(s) and your surroundings. I can demonstrate and teach exercises that I used to do in your class but I struggled to pull the improvisation, experimentation and creativity out to take those exercises to the next level, to really capture the essence of contact improvisation. I am curious to watch you now to continue to develop my own teaching skills.

photo credit: Jen Darrell

kK: Well, I am really eager to meet everyone this weekend. Does On the Floor have any upcoming performances?
SF: We were invited to perform in the Locally Grown Dance Festival over at Cornell University on March 5th. We are sharing a performance with another IC dance company. We have contributed three pieces from last semester to the show. As far as our final semester performance showcasing all of the semester’s work goes, we have not settled on an exact date yet but it looks like it will be sometime during the first week in May.


Monkeyhouse Workshop @ Ithaca College

This weekend On the Floor Dance Company at Ithaca College is sponsoring 
Improving Partnering lead by Karen Krolak

Workshop Description:

Improving Partnering: Are you a dancer, choreographer, actor, or director who would love to layer your work with lifts, leans, and drops? Leverage your movement vocabulary and learn how to build unique partnering phrases with Karen Krolak, Artistic Director of Monkeyhouse (Voted Best Dance Company in Boston 2010, 2007 & 2006). In this weekend workshop we will blend the basics of Pilobolus style partnering with contact improvisation techniques. Open to all levels of movers with or without previous dance training. Particpants will leave with the confidence and tools to continue exploring weight sharing on their own.

*Note: Sunday’s class is a continuation of the Saturday class.

Karen Krolak has been the Founder/ Artistic Director of Monkeyhouse, an award-winning nonprofit that connect communities to choreography, since 2000. She also developed the Modern Dance curriculum at Impulse Dance Center in Natick, MA. Over the last 15 years, the program has blossomed from one class of 7 girls into 6 levels ranging from children to adults. Many of her former students weave dance into their lives beyond high school or continue on to perform professionally. Her engaging teaching style encourages students of any level. Around Boston, she has collaborated with Springstep, the Dancing Arts Center, Endicott College, the Arlington Center for the Arts, Germaine Lawrence School, Dance Umbrella, and the Boston Arts Academy to create a variety of classes and workshops. In 2005, she and Jason Ries were invited to present two workshops in Malpils, Latvia. In addition, her choreography has been presented in theater, film, and concert dance productions in Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Winnipeg and Jackson Hole.

Please sign up ahead of time!
To reserve your space for this event, 
email Onthefloor.dance@gmail.com with “Dance Workshop” in the subject. 
Please provide your name and whether you will participate both days, or ONLY Saturday.
Saturday, Feb. 26
Fitness Center Aerobics Room
Sunday, Feb. 27
Beeler Hall, Whalen School of Music

Participation Cost: $5


Awesome Opportunity to Choreograph for Urbanity!

by karen Krolak

Have you ever had an idea for a dance piece but lacked the resources to create it?  Well then, dash over to Urbanity Dance's website and check out their Wildcard Choreographer position. There is no previous dance or choreography experience required and the resulting piece will debut at MIXTAPE at Boston University's Dance Theater on April 29-30, 2011.

The only qualifications that they outline for this gig are:
Creative mind
Interest in seeing your vision come to life!
The ability to demonstrate/explain your ideas to the dancers
Recommended that applicants can think spatially
*excellent candidates may have interest or experience in design, art or movement.

This is a rare chance to stretch your brain in a whole new direction. So take a chance, apply by February 28 (kwaq7aj', Monkeyhouse's resident canine choreographer's first birthday). Since the Packers were  able to swoop in and win the Super Bowl last Sunday, this could be the year for wildcards to shine. 

Ok, I am getting ready to leave for the opening night of Between Two Things at Green Street Studios. I am so excited to witness how the pieces evolve with an audience. There are still a few tickets available but reservations are filling up quickly.

After the Q and A, I will dart over to Davis Square to join Jason Ries at the opening night party for Actors Shakespeare Project's Cymbeline. Jason has been doing double duty as Production Manager and Lighting Designer on this show. Whew, what a week it has been around here.


Moving for Meaning (part 1)

 by karen Krolak

Within Somerville's Sister City delegation to Tiznit, Morocco, there were several people who possessed the same first name. We had oodles of Ellens, a couple Cynthias and and a pair of Karens. These overlaps frequently confused people from both cities and they prompted a few farcical miscommunications.

The other Karen, Karen Comeau, teaches third and fourth grade at the Healey School. Her passion for her class was palpable every time groups gathered around a tagine and discussed future collaborations. She's the type of teacher who would forgo the one short time slot of souvenir shopping on our trip to assist one one of her pupils who was originally from Morocco. While almost everyone else was wandering the bazaar, she reached out to this kid's relatives. She even overcame the language barrier by bringing drawings from their nephew and his Somerville classmates.

One day last spring Karen bumped into me in line for a latte at Bloc 11. As we chatted, she mentioned how eager she was harness the momentum from our trip to Morocco and transform it into a dynamic learning experience for her students. I was itching to immerse Monkeyhouse in an international, educational project. Before our coffee appeared, we began hatching a plan.


Last Week To Nominate!

I know you've all been busy little bees nominating your favorite ice cream, comic book store and dance company (ahem) among other things for the Boston Phoenix Readers' Poll.  

Did you know that you can actually nominate EVERY DAY?!  

Did you also know that the polls close on Valentines Day, Monday, February 14th?  
(That's seven more chances to nominate, folks!)

So show your Valentine's Day love and get nominating!  

Don't forget, Monkeyhouse Loves You!


2 Chances to Develop Dances with David Parker

by karen Krolak

If you are a choreographer in the Boston area, now is the time to polish up your resume. Get cracking because you have two upcoming opportunities to create work under the auspices of David Parker, one of my favorite dance artists roaming the planet. David is the Co-director of The Bang Group (TBG) out of New York and he is currently on the faculty of Julliard, Barnard, and the Ailey School. TBG has toured to 13 countries and 21 states. Their repertory exudes wit and grace even after repeated viewings. Do not be intimidated by David's credentials, though, he is refreshingly gregarious and amazingly supportive of young artists.

Applications are due on March 4th for the next Emerging Artist Concert at Green Street Studios mentored by David and Lorraine Chapman. Selected choreographers receive 40 hours of rehearsal space, mentoring sessions, and a fully produced concert of their new group piece on June 10 and 11.

Then on April 1st, you can submit your materials for the Choreographers' Project at Summer Stages. Richard Colton and Amy Spencer developed this fabulous program where three choreographers set new works on Summer Stages students. This year, the resulting pieces will be presented at the  ICA's magnificent stage. The Bang Group has been in residence at Summer Stages for over a decade and they work closely with the Choreographic Fellows. Oh, and choreographers also get to attend daily technique classes with Dan Wagoner and other Summer Stages teachers.


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