My Favorite Things

by Katelyn Alcott

Photo Credit: JK Photo

Not only did we get favorite moments from company members but we got some from our interns too!  Here's Katelyn's take on the festival.   -Nicole 

As a spectator at the Festival I had the unique prospective of watching as an outsider while still holding knowledge about parts of the rehearsal process. The evening opened with a dance performed by some of my classmates whom I had seen earlier in the rehearsal process. The group was representing a monotonous society changed by just a few people into something more creative and beautiful. For the rest of the evening this though was in my mind as I watched the extraordinary dancing that occurred. The evening seemed to embody that piece. A small group of dancers set on making the way we see the world anything but ordinary. I witnessed the obvious trust in company members as they balanced on yoga balls and felt my heartstrings plucked by spoken word poetry. Dances that represented the struggle for acceptance of body and mind took my breath away. I was watching as a small group of people turned aSunday evening into something creative and beautiful, and it was a lovely experience.


Guest Choreography Showcase III: Repertory Dance Ensemble, Endicott College

by Caitlin Meehan

As this whirlwind spring draws to a close, I'm looking back on a fantastic experience as a guest choreographer for Endicott's Guest Choreographers Showcase. If you think your spring has been busy, ask the dancers in the Repertory Dance Ensemble about packing 7 different pieces into one semester- and into one concert! 
In addition to myself and Nikki, (the Coordinator of Dance at Endicott,) the dancers learned pieces by Katie Naame-Rosche and Sarah-Katrina. They both made 2 shorter pieces for the concert, whereas I choreographed one longer one. Adjunct professor and Monkeyhouse collaborator Mariah Steele and her husband Hans Rinderknecht also performed a duet from Quicksilver Dance's repertory. With the exception of Quicksilver's duet, the dancers were in every piece, which made Nikki's introductions of each one doubly necessary; for the audience to understand the work and for the dancers to quick-change!

Katie Naame-Rosche is a Point Park graduate and has performed with such fabulous companies as Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago and Koresh Dance Company in Philadelphia. As an admirer of both companies, I wish I could have met her in person! Her choreography spoke for itself in her 2 pieces however; The Arrival and Marching On. The former was about the death of her father, and was poignant and beautiful at the same time. Marching On seemed especially appropriate for both the graduating seniors and the underclassmen, with its message of continuing to put one foot in front of the other, no matter what life dishes out. I found Katie's choreography to be both organic and innovative.

Sarah-Katrina's first piece, titled Conformity, seemed to be about just the opposite. She used input and collaboration with the dancers to create a very quirky and sound-oriented piece, which was interesting to watch- I kept wondering what would happen next! "Skooj"'s work tends to be contemporary, as she is the artistic director of Static Noyze Dance Company and teaches contemporary technique at Jeannette Neill and the Dance Complex. Her second piece, Escape from Malevolence, demonstrated contemporary vocabulary and her emotion-oriented style.

Nikki's choreography for the seniors, Finish Line, highlighted the strengths of the 6 dancers in her fresh, contemporary style. She truly managed to bring out the best in them. (I can't believe that they are all graduating, I remember helping judge dance team auditions when some of them were incoming freshmen!) 

I was honored to be a part of this concert and work with Nikki's students. I'm excited to see what next year's Guest Choreography Showcase will bring!


//The Drowsy Chaperone// and The Sleepy High-Schooler (that's me!)

by Katelyn Alcott

I have never been a naturally graceful person. So, when I was given the roll of Janet in The Drowsy Chaperone at Natick High School, I felt a mixture of intense excitement and terror. The roll was originally played by Broadway Icon (and my idol) Sutton Foster. During the musical number "Show Off" Foster demonstrates her incredible talents with a series of splits, cartwheels and high kicks. Ow.

Katelyn and Sutton Foster
And I was no going to attempt to do the part justice. It began by watching Nicole (our choreographer) doing a cartwheel in someone's arms. I almost burst into tears. I was scared. Partly of falling, but mostly of failing. I  was not confident in my ability to perform the role. 

As a point of reference I should mention that at the beginning of the run I could not do a somersault. 

I spent the next few weeks upside-down. I practiced handstands everyday. I stretched farther than ever before. And I was sore in places I didn't know existed.  I fell more times than I care to admit. I was covered in bruises and yet I, to my own surprise, didn't give up. I felt the support of every member of the cast (literally and figuratively). I was held suspended in the air for the majority of the number by various members of the cast. But, in their holding me I realized that I also had there mental support.

At the beginning of the rehearsal process Nicole told me that "your body can handle so much more than you think it can". This became my mantra. I used every fall as a reason to stand back up, to try again. 

And suddenly it was show time. And somehow I managed to walk out on stage. And I did cartwheels and handstands and splits. And I did not fall. No, I was not Sutton Foster and no, I would not win the Tony. But I was Katelyn and Janet and in that moment, everything was right. And I was proud. And I am not easily proud of myself. I had accomplished that which I felt was impossible. 

And if course, as the future teacher that I am, I looked at what I had learned.
1. Falling hurts
2. Standing back up can be the most rewarding thing 
3. With the right people holding you up, you can do anything

And yes, all of those are meant to be taken literally AND figuratively.

I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to learn through this role and to work with the amazing cast, crew and directing staff to make this crazy dream a reality.


Happy 25th Anniversary to Impulse Dance Center!

by Rosie Steinberg 

Impulse Dance Center is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year with its "XXV" spring concert on June 14th and 15th. Home of Connecting Point Dance Company and TAProject, Impulse is devoted to offering a proper technical education to young dancers. It also serves as an indispensable creative outlet for all. Monkeyhouse would like to thank you for raising dancers such as Nicole Harris, Sarah Friswell, and Sarah Feinberg. We are so appreciative of the environment and opportunity you offer our next generation of dancers.


Monkeyhouse Loves Impulse Dance Center!

by David Makransky
Impulse Dance Center is just about a household name in Natick, thanks to the enormous percent of students who study there. Boasting the Readers' Choice Best Dance Studio of 2012 Award in Natick, Impulse has been helping aspiring dancers from across Massachusetts build their technique. The studio offers instruction to all levels of dancers, and its enthusiastic learning environment, dedicated teachers, and celebrated public performances have made it an integral part of the Massachusetts dance world and greater community. Students have performed on television, in national competitions, and at our very own Monkeyhouse concerts! 

Monkeyhouse and Impulse Dance Center have been working together since the dawn of time - or at least since the dawn of Monkeyhouse. At first only sharing choreographers Karen Krolak and Nicole Harris, the two organizations have built an impressive partnership. TAProject and other Impulse students now dance at Monkeyhouse events and intern with us, continuing to grow the strong ties between Monkeyhouse and Impulse.  Several Impulse alumni are even members of the Monkeyhouse company: Sarahs Feinberg and Friswell! Be sure to check out Impulse's end-of-year concert, with performances on June 14th and 15th! For more information visit http://www.impulsedancecenter.com.


Good Things!


Well, it seems that summer has hit, at least this weekend! 

*  Congratulations to four of our interns (Katelyn, David, Elyssa and Laila) who are graduating from Natick High School next week.  We have loved working with you and look forward to seeing all the amazing things you do in the coming years!

*  Monkeyhouse will be performing at Luminarium's 24 Hour Choreofest in August and in Dance in the Fells in October!

*  Ryan Casey was also accepted to 24 Hour Choreofest!  Lots of adventure to be had for an overnight at the Dance Complex!  Congrats, Ryan!

*  Nikki and Mariah Steele are spending the week in dance workshops in Canada this week.  Have fun, ladies!

*  Emily Moffat was just accepted as a trainee for the Springfield Ballet Company!  We're all so excited for you!

*  DanceN' Feet will be performing at Dance for World Community!  They're such lovely ladies!  Go check them out!
What are your good things this month?  Share with us HERE! 


Endings That Lead to New Beginnings

Dear Friends:

We are very excited to announce that Monkeyhouse will be participating in 24-Hour Choreofest in August and Dance in the Fells in October.  We will not only be working with some of your favorite folks from Monkeyhouse but there will be some wonderful guest artists and even choreography from one of our interns!  It's going to be an adventure filled couple of months as we get ready!

However, this is also a sad month around Monkeyhouse because when it comes to a close, so does our time at Springstep.  We are eternally grateful for all that Springstep has done for us over the past few years.  By giving us a single artistic home we were able to hold regular rehearsals and musings, grow our company both artistically and administratively and produce two incredibly successful Against the Odds festivals.  We will miss our brightly colored home!

Moving forward as we find a new home and continue recovering from the events of the past two years we will be looking at the topics of being misplaced and displaced.  While we each have many tales of our own to draw from we would love to hear what those words mean to you.  Please share your thoughts on our Facebook page or email us at MonkeyhouseLovesNicole@gmail.com.  I can't wait to hear what you've all got to share!

Love - 
Nicole and All Your Friends at Monkeyhouse


Happy June Birthdays!

What a wonderful month to be born!  Happy day to:

Pat Krolak, Rita Krolak, Hjordis Blanford, Laila Fatimi, Arie Steiner Hockman, Fred Kelly, Lucie Baker, Melissa Dollman, Xander Weinman, Jim Peerless, Henry LeTang, Terri Beaton, Harold Cromer, Sean Cummings, Rosie Steinberg, Nikki Felix, Shari Kaplan, Tom Christian, Bob Fosse, Elizabeth Krolak


Transitions - An Evening of Tap Dance

Blogger in Residence Ryan Casey has been busy in his post-NYU-graduation life refining his original show, "Transitions," which will be making several appearances in the Boston area in June!

The show is an original production of rhythm tap dance integrated with poetry, hip hop, humor, and more, boasting a soundtrack ranging from Dinah Washington and Blossom Dearie to Harry Connick, Jr. and Shel Silverstein.

At turns thoughtful, satirical and humorous, it features routines inspired by periods of change and personal development in Ryan's life. While "The Tall and Short of It" portrays the struggles and successes of his towering, 6'8" talent, "My Manhattan" lampoons his culture shock as a pilgrim to New York City, and his former teacher, MA native Kelly Kaleta, becomes his partner in a series of playful duets, "Just the Two of Us."

So -- where can you watch these fabulous feet?!

The full show will be presented at The Regent Theatre on Friday, June 14th at 8:00 p.m. in Arlington! Tickets are available both online and at the door, with a discount for groups of 10 or more.

You can also see excerpts at the Dance for World Community Festival on Saturday & Sunday, June 8th & 9th (where you'll also run into Monkeyhouse, of course!) -- with a Saturday performance at 3:00 p.m. on Stage 3, and an open beginner class on Sunday at 3:40 p.m. in Studio 1 -- as well as on The Steve Katsos Show Fourth Anniversary Spectacular, which broadcasts live from The Regent Theatre on Sunday, June 23rd, at 7:30 p.m. (Watch it in person or on TV!)

Ryan presented some of his work in progress at our "Against the Odds" Festival earlier this year, and an audience member responded: "Ryan outdid himself in ... designing thoroughly humorous and captivating dances and physical feats."

We hope you'll agree!


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