Happy Birthday Mom and Dad

by karen Krolak
Mom and Dad in the Your Just Desserts Photobooth

My parents, Pat and Rita Krolak, were born two years and two days apart and would have celebrated their birthdays this weekend (June 1 and June 3). Since they passed away, I have spent a lot of time thinking about the people, places, and events that enriched their lives. I enjoy leaving little notes at restaurants they frequented thanking them for the many memories we shared while dining there or reaching out to artists who created things they treasured. This process has prompted me to realize how many small businesses, arts organizations, and nonprofits they supported.

Monkeyhouse is but one example of how they poured themselves into projects they loved. While you never saw them on stage, they tirelessly volunteered with administrative duties, hand wrote envelopes for hundreds of fundraising campaigns, sat on the Board of Directors, and cleaned up after performances. They brought friends to shows and introduced themselves to other audience members as ambassadors of the organization. One of the last things they did before they left town on that tragic car trip was to make a donation to Monkeyhouse for the Against the Odds festival. When I returned from the services in Chicago, I found yet another small check that they had sent in memory of my Grandmother before they died. And, although I have not had the heart to empty it yet, there is a Monkey Money can from Monkeyhouse's first fundraiser sitting in their kitchen filled with change.

It is easy to assume that they were devoted to Monkeyhouse and the greater dance community because of me but that would be incorrect. In fact, quite the opposite is true. During my interview with Byran Marquard for his magnificent tribute in the Boston Globe, I startled him by explaining that my father took my mother to her first live ballet concert. Although my Dad was a veritable pioneer of the information age, he was an avid arts patron before he ever met my mom. Back when he had a 23 inch waist and was so poor that he survived on a package of hot dogs a week, my father regularly attended Shakespeare in the Park and free performances by Rudolph Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn.

While my family has an appreciation for classical forms, they also sought out contemporary or folk artists too. They were Jay O'Callahan groupies, Julie Ince Thompson devotees, Flatt and Scruggs lovers, Dance Umbrella enthusiasts, Edward Gorey play aficionados, and longtime New Rep subscribers.

Since they are not here to receive presents anymore, I have been trying to give little gifts in their honor to keep their spirits active in the arts ecosystem but it would be almost impossible to fill the void they left. My dad, though, would argue that almost anything is possible. My mom's credo was "How hard can it be?"So it has occurred to me to ask everyone I know to embrace a Krolakian concept: what would happen if all of us did something to encourage an artist this week? Go attend a play by someone you have never heard of, write on your favorite potter's facebook page about how much you love her pieces, or stop to listen to a street musician. It does not have to cost anything...just give a little of your time, your curiosity, your attention. Enjoy the vibrancy and feel free to share any adventures that result.

Thanks Mom and Dad. I love you more than I could ever express and I am so thankful for your endless encouragement.

Spare Change

by Nicole Harris

Pennies.  We all have them.  Whether we keep them in jars, give them away or (god forbid) throw them out, there's no hiding from them.  While you might look at the tiny copper covered coins as nothing but another item to weigh down your purse, I'd like to remind you that if you put enough of them together they become a dollar.  And those dollars can be put to good use.  Just in case you don't believe me, here a few ways you can get your pennies up and moving.

Procrastination that Pays
It's Friday afternoon and you have long since checked out of your work week, but you've still got to kill time until the boss lets you leave.  So what do you do?  You break out the online solitaire or mahjongg.  (Don't lie, we've all done it.)   Why not let your card playing prowess be used to help create new dance pieces or connect communities to choreography?  All you have to do is head over to GoodGames instead of Facebook and for every three games you play a penny gets donated to the charity of your choice.  Ahem.  Monkeyhouse.

I know, pennies.  But think of how many games of solitaire you can rack up in an hour!?

Put Your Two Cents In
While watching videos online isn't the most exciting or stimulating way to spend your day, you can earn TWO cents for every video you watch through GoodTVAds!  While you're at it, raise an average of $1 for each GoodSurvey you fill out!  Spring is finally here, so we don't want you to waste away in front of your computer, but you can give your two cents once a day and you'll make a huge difference!

Forget 1%, Try 6% Instead!
We all eat out, probably far more than we should.  Instead of feeling guilty about that extra night on the town, make it work for you!  Choose one of thousands of restaurants across the country participating in the GoodDining program and you can have up to 6% of your bill donated to Monkeyhouse!  The best part is, once you register the donations come automatically so you don't have to remember to tell your wait staff!

Treat Yourself AND Do Good Deeds Simultaneously!
Online shopping is the the fastest and easiest way to get rid of that to-do list.  Head over to GoodShop to find hundreds of thousands of coupons for stores you already shop at such as Apple, Target, 1-800-Flowers and more!  A percentage of your purchase will be donated to your cause!  Not good at remembering to start with GoodShop?  Download the toolbar and it will remind you every time you go to a participating website!  While you're shopping, don't forget to check out GoodOffers to find more great deals!

Summer Vacation with Monkeyhouse!
While you're planning your summer getaway, start with GoodTravel!  It's filled with coupons and discounts for your big trip, not to mention that amazing donation to your favorite cause!  Where are you going this summer?

Making Change
Those are five ways you can make a difference without making a dent in your wallet.  It hasn't addressed those pesky pennies that seem to be multiplying in your car, on your dresser and it the bottom of your bag.  Why not put them to use too?  Grab yourself a jar, a bowl or an empty coffee can and put it wherever you empty your pockets at the end of the night.  Instead of dumping all that change into the pile of receipts and life saver wrappers toss it in the can.  Then bring the can to any Monkeyhouse event to make a donation you wont even miss!

How much Good are you doing?


My Favorite Things

Photo Credit: JK Photo
by Caitlin Meehan  

 asked some Monkeyhouse folks to share their favorite Against the Odds moments.  Caitlin's favorite things seemed especially appropriate this month right on the heels of Jason Ries (our production manager and lighting designer) winning an IRNE for his work with Company One since his designs feature so strongly in her moments.   -Nicole 
My favorite moment at Against the Odds this year would have to be a tie: seeing my piece, DisArmed, performed by Nicole with fantastic lighting by Jason, and getting to perform the blindfold duet with Courtney (incidentally also with fantastic lighting by Jason!)
When DisArmed was performed the first time, at the festival in NH, there was basic stage lighting with no changes. This time was 180 degrees from there- tiny pinpoints of light all over the space suddenly appeared, and began to move and morph around as the piece progressed, contributing to the motif of confusion and unsteadiness. The lighting changed and strengthened as the choreography went on, and generally created a layer of atmosphere that was not there for the initial performance.
Then, after much musing and rehearsal, Courtney and I got to perform our duet in which she is blindfolded and I am not. It really came together for this performance, and the red/green lighting enhanced the experience for us as performers, as I'm sure it did for the audience as well. We were able to include a section of improvisation within the set choreography, which is always exciting and kept the piece fresh each time. Courtney and I work really well together in this blindfolded/not setup, so it was a pleasure to perform this duet.


Monkeyhouse Loves Endicott!

by Nikki Sao Pedro Welch 

Being a member ofMonkeyhouse for the past six years has taught me a lot about the creative process, risk taking, and building dance work with physicallimitations. Having had thethese experiences, I felt it was crucial to have students of Endicott College experience this during their college years. Dancers of Endicott have had the pleasure of working with Karen Krolak, artistic director of Monkeyhouse, Nicole Harris,co-founding member of Monkeyhosue, and Caitlin Meehan, six year member of Monkeyhouse. They have all set works on the Repertory Dance Ensemble and have taughtnumerous workshops. Students learned intricate tap work, a piece that involved a uni-sleeve, and a piece based on the Book and movie of "Alice and Wonderland." Monkeyhouse's approach to choreography is based on thepeople involved and what THEIR capabilities are and asaspiring dancers, it is important to know there are professional companies that do just this! 
As the teacher of the Repertory Dance Ensemble, and the Coordinator of Dance at Endicott, I know the students have learned so much from these experiences and are now more versitile dancers and artists. We look forward to future collaborations and building an even stronger relationship. 


Good Things!

It's amazing how many good things we can find if you just stop for a moment and look for them.  We are always excited to share your good things too, so please let us know what sort of stuff is going on in your life!

* Our Production Manager Jason Ries won an IRNE and a NORTON Award for set design for his work on Company One's 
The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity!  Congratulations, Jason and everyone at Company One!

* Three of our interns, Katelyn, David & Marie knocked 'em dead in Natick High School's production of The Drowsy Chaperone at the beginning of the month!

* Speaking of interns, Laila & Elyssa performed the pieces the created with us at Natick High School last week!  Congrats, ladies!

* Caitlin premiered her piece at Endicot College's Dance Ensemble show last weekend! 
*  Courtney has finished her first grad school semester.  She has been such a busy woman!  We're proud of you, Courtney!
*  Blogger in Residence, Ryan Casey, in addition to performing all over the place this month (including two Boston performances!) is graduating from NYU!  Congratulations, Ryan!

* David Parker was awarded the 2013 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. The John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship award winners are given the opportunity to use creative freedom to their full advantage. Each year, the winner of this award is given to a person who has moved their profession forward. David's comical but beautiful choreography got him one of the 200 fellowship awards.  

To learn more about David Parker and the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, click here!  
* This year, Michelle Dorrance was awarded the annual Jacob's Pillow Award. Every year, one lucky choreographer is given $25,000 to use towards improving their, already amazing, dance company. Michelle is the founder of a tap company called Dorrance Dance, where she was recognized for her classic-modern fusion. To learn more about Michelle Dorrance and the Jacob's Pillow award, click here! 
What are your good things this month?  Share with us HERE! 


We're All Mad Here

by Caitlin Meehan

This winter and spring I have had the excellent opportunity to choreograph and set a piece on the Dance Ensemble at Endicott College. Nikki (the Endicott Coordinator of Dance!) invited me to be a guest choreographer for the spring concert, and there is a cast of 17 dancers, the largest yet! I was determined to use as many dancers as possible for as much of the piece as I could- in fact, it allowed for a lot of exploration of the subject matter.
My inspiration for this piece comes from the story of Alice in Wonderland. Having read the original Lewis Carroll and seen several film adaptations, I had been mulling over some ideas for almost a year before beginning to set the piece. In addition to several images that kept returning to mind, I focused on the idea of suddenly finding oneself in a strange place, and having to find one's way back home or back to "normal." I also drew on the parallel with some of the characters that Alice meets to types of people we might encounter in the real world: the bossy Dodo, ordering everyone run in circles, the Queen of Hearts, threatening people if she doesn't get her way, the cryptic Caterpillar, or the excitable Mad Hatter. Unlike Alice's adventure, no part of this journey is a dream- in the real world, it is all too easy to find oneself in the most bizarre of places or situations and have to find a way back.
In this piece, everyone is "Alice" at some point in time. Likewise, everyone is also a part of the landscape, a creature in Wonderland, and one of the colorful characters that Alice meets on her adventures. Morphing from one role to the next, the dancers have the opportunity to explore different characters and points of view. They were also collaborators in some of the movement that appears in the finished work. We played "Catching," where I danced and improvised and they "caught" movements that appealed to them, and made new phrases from them. They also chose pictures of different characters from the story and created movement studies from them, some of which are featured in the piece. In this way, I hoped to bring out each person's own personality and movement style, which would contribute to the "Wonderland" of creatures and characters we were creating.
The number of dancers allowed me to create images and effects that would not have been possible with a small group, and the theatre space allows for use of the wings and crossover space. Such a choreographic bonus! It was also great to get to work with so many wonderful students. Some of them hadn't had much experience with improvisation or movement generation, but they rose to the challenge every week and gave it their best shot. By the final rehearsal, there were many exclamations of "it's a piece!" as everything came together.

Happy Memorial Day!


Being An Intern

by Rosie Steinberg

I recently had a conversation with Karen Krolak about dance, specifically partnering in modern, and its symbolism for human relationships in general. Weight sharing, effective communication, and trust are all crucial factors in both a productive partnering improvisation and in healthy relationships. With family, friends, co-workers, coaches, and teachers, I constantly see these factors come into play. Every day, I attempt to understand more of how to be a better person and communicator, and dance has become a reliable way to do so. Whether it be American Repertory Theater's production of "Marie Antoinette", F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby", or Luminarium's Andromeda, I can take everything for what it is and simply enjoy it for its beauty. Then, afterward, I can scribble in a notebook about how it made me feel, what every movement represented for my personal journey through the piece, and how I can use these observations to learn something new about
myself. These experiences constantly humble my perception of myself and the world, reminding me that I know a lot less than I think I do. A humbling experience, yes, but a worthwhile one. Every opportunity I get to work with Monkeyhouse strengthens my love and appreciation for art. Thank you Monkeyhouse!


Happy Birthday Derick Grant!

by Sarah Friswell
photo by Matthew Murphy

It brings me great pleasure to introduce our featured birthday of this month, Boston native, Derick Grant.  Derick has been tapping for almost 30 years and was one of the original company members of Savion Glover's 'Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk'. Derick learned his rhythmic hoofin style of tap from one of the greats, Boston's own Diane Walker, or Lady Di as we like to call her.  Since then, Derick has tapped all across the country and all around the world!  He has even created two of his own shows, 'A Night Out: Tap!' and 'Imagine Tap!'.

I was lucky enough to get to learn from Derick when I was in the TAProject at Impulse Dance Center in Natick. We had bake sales and tapped on wooden boards on the street to be able to have him come teach a master class and set a piece on our company. I remember feeling very at ease with his teaching style and was incredibly impressed with the way he was able to move and create sound so effortlessly. So it's my pleasure to wish Derick a wonderfully happy birthday from Monkeyhouse!

Happy Birthday to our other May birthdays...

Rich Miner, Joan Panek, Bari RosenbergAmanda MastroianniChikako IwahoriSusan Nase, Jim Pagella, Isabel Fine, Jon Schaffrath, Derick GrantHillary-Marie MichaelJon Keith, Andrew Fine, Leah Sakala, Janine Harrington, Olivia Buntane, Elizabeth TerschuurKendra Heithoff HenselerBill "Bojangles" Robinson, and Buster Brown.

p.s.  Thank you Matthew Murphy for letting us use this great photo!


Getting to Know the Interns

by Elyssa Berg

Have you met the new interns? Elyssa Berg and Laila Fatimi chose to work with Monkeyhouse for their senior internship. They have been dancing at Impulse Dance Center in Natick, MA since a very young age where they are both members of the Connecting Point Dance Company and the TAProject; two performing groups in the studio. Elyssa and Laila sat down to work on their interview skills by first conducting interviews on each other. Here are some of the questions asked during the interviews.

LF: What do you feel was the most important thing you learned from growing up at Impulse Dance Center?
Well, growing up 
at Impulse has definitely shaped who I am completely. I've spent most of high school held to a high standard of discipline that has taught me a lot. Being on time, never slacking off, always having to be on task and focused... I could basically keep going on for a while. Not only have I learned how important being a role model for the people around me is, but I have also learned how to work with a group. Being able to help others grow and have them help me grow and improve is an amazing process that never ceases to feel rewarding. Being part of the two performing companies,The Connecting Point Dance Company and TAProject, I was able to learn how to act professionally not only at venues that we are performing at but also in rehearsal and in class.

EB: What would you say has been your favorite experience while performing in the Connecting Point Dance Company?
LF: My favorite performance experience was at 12 Dancers Dancing in December 2011, at the Dance Complex in Cambridge, MA. I performed a piece called 'Mad World', created by Arie Hockman, with the rest of the Connecting Point Dance Company. I loved performing with a such a small group (three). It gave us a chance to connect as dancers, in a beautiful dance that is still my favorite piece that I have ever learned! It was the first time that I felt so much passion and connection towards a piece. I also had a great time getting ready for the piece. The Connecting Point Dance Company and Arie Hockman, the company's director, drove into Boston for about a week straight. We would grab some coffee from the cafe down the street, put our pale white makeup on, and perform. I think this gave us more time to bond and get to know each other as more than just dancers.
Check out the full interviews to learn more about the two interns!  


Don't Forget! Internship Presentation (Program Included)

By Elyssa Berg

Don't forget to check out the presentation of the work Laila and I created during our internship with Monkeyhouse! It's a free event that will be presented in the Natick High School Auditorium. There will be two performances; one at 6:30 and one at 7:00. Come show your support for Monkeyhouse, Laila, and I and enjoy some dance! Here is the electronic program for tonight.

Internship Presentation
Presented by Monkeyhouse
at Natick High School
May 21, 2013

Photo by Paradise Photo and Video

Logic or Passion (premiere)
Choreographed and performed by Laila Fatimi
Music by Owen Walker
Developed during Monkeyhouse internship
A special thanks to Karen Krolak and Nicole Harris

Right Of Passage (premiere)
Choreographed and performed by Elyssa Berg
Music by Marcus "Ides" Jackson
Developed during Monkeyhouse internship
A Special thanks to Karen Krolak and Nicole Harris

Upcoming Events

by Aisha Cruise

Spring has Sprung! Flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and dancers are dancing all over town!  There are TONS of events this month, so I've cherry picked a few. I suggest checking out theBoston Dance Alliance for a complete list of awesome dance events in May!  And to kick things off....

Thursday May 2- Sunday May12
Chroma presented by Boston Ballet
Boston Opera House
Book ended by two Balanchine pieces, Serenade and Symphony in C, the Chroma program promises to be a memorable mix of contemporary pieces.
(Also this month at Boston Ballet, Coppelia and the Boston Ballet School student showcase)

Thursday May 10-Sunday May 19
Method and Madness
Jose Mateo Dance theater
Sanctuary Theater
The final show of the 2013 season, make sure to catch a show before Dance for World Community in June!

Tuesday, May 21st @ 6:30
Interns in Performance!
Natick High School
Don't miss our newest interns Laila & Elyssa as they show off their choreography as part of their internship showcase!  

Tuesday, May 21st
Endicott College
Nikki & Cynthia will be performing a version of Back Going No Going Back at Endicott College.

Friday May 24 & Sat May 25
by Danza Organica
Julie Ince Theater at the Dance Complex
Original Modern work at Danza Organica's spring show.

Friday, May 31st
Monkeyhouse Open Rehearsal
at Endicott College
Join us as we look at old work, create new work and talk about our visions for the upcoming season!
Friday May 31 & Saturday June 1st
My Dear Muddu Palani
Navarasa Dance Theater
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Inspired by Indian classical and folk dance forms, this performance will explore sensuality through the works of Muddu Palani and challenge western and Indian ideals of women's bodies. 


Why Dance Therapy

by Kelly Long
Just like March's guest author Kelsey Griffith, Kelly Long was also a student of mine and Karen's at Impulse Dance Center as well as working with us in the Dover-Sherborn High School musicals.  Kelly also went on to be a regular member of Monkeyhouse company class for a number of years.  Here is her take on how she uses dance in her every day life.  -Nicole.
Writing about dance/movement therapy and educating others about our growing field is something I've always enjoyed. Although I was asked to write about my use of dance training in a "non-performance field," I want to be clear that in some circumstances, I feel there are many performance opportunities within dance/movement therapy. Although much dance/movement therapy focuses on expression of the here and now rather than expression of something rehearsed, I argue that there are many opportunities for the contrary. For the purposes of this newsletter, however, I will focus on illuminating dance/movement therapy, and discuss ways in which dance training and my therapeutic practice intersect.

The definition of Dance/Movement Therapy has evolved since the 1960s. Currently, the American Dance Therapy Association website (www.adta.org) explains, "Based on the empirically supported premise that the body, mind, and spirit are interconnected, the ADTA defines dance/movement therapy as the psychotherapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical, and social integration of the individual." Dance/movement therapists (DMTs) generally work with the healthy aspects of an individual, utilizing a client's strengths and unique abilities to promote growth and healing. Dance/movement therapy is practiced internationally, in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, nursing homes, forensic facilities, rehabilitation programs, private practices and more. DMTs treat groups, families, couples, and individuals seeking treatment for psychiatric diagnoses, substance abuse, eating disorders, developmental delays and disabilities, medical conditions, histories of trauma, physical disabilities, learning disabilities, and so forth. Although dance/movement therapy credentials can differ from state to state, most practicing DMTs have a Masters degree from an ADTA approved program, are registered with the ADTA (R-DMT), and later accrue supervised hours to earn their board-certification (BC-DMT). In New York, many DMTs have admirably fought to create the LCAT, which stands for Licensed Creative Arts Therapist. This credential allows DMTs to be recognized as licensed mental health practitioners, and has greatly contributed to the acceptance of the Creative Arts Therapies as an essential element in the multidisciplinary treatment approach. Furthermore, the BC-DMT and LCAT ensure that only trained professionals are able to practice dance/movement therapy. This allows consumers to ensure they are entering therapy with professionals who maintain ADTA standards as well as the code of ethics.

Having explained a bit about dance/movement therapy in general, let me now explain more about the integration of dance into my clinical work. Like many young girls, I started my dance training as a toddler, strutting my stuff in taffeta and tights. For years I studied ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop and the like. I always knew dance was a definitive part of me, but it wasn't until high school that I developed a greater understanding of my passion. Impulse Dance Center in Natick, MA provided me with an entirely new appreciation for the communicative properties of dance. Among my many amazing teachers, Karen and Nicole taught me about improvisation, rhythm, creativity and artistry. In addition to classes in modern, jazz, and tap, their Monkeyhouse company class enabled me to discover infinite possibilities. I learned my own movement preferences, learned how to observe and talk about movement, and explored the sense of touch, contact, and sharing weight. I learned to dance with spontaneity, dynamics, trust, and reflection- four key components of my work as a DMT today. Most importantly, I think, I learned to use dance as a way to relate to others.

As a dance/movement therapist, I try to help my clients experience the intrinsic healing powers of dance and movement. For some, the mere act of dancing freely with others can provide feelings of joy, acceptance, and safety. Currently, however, I use many other aspects of dance to help me facilitate as much health and growth as I can. I work in a state psychiatric hospital, primarily with patients suffering from severe mental illness. In addition to psychosis and mood disorders, many of these individuals have histories of substance abuse and trauma. For my work with these clients, I often have many objectives.

First, I try to help my clients feel alive in their bodies. Through dance, I help them expand their range of motion, recognize muscular tension, feel bodily connections, and find ways to use breath as a way to regulate their energy and emotions. By helping clients experience various qualities of movement, they are often able to experience correlated emotional experiences. By helping a client expand her capacity to experience a range of emotions, it is my hope I can help her develop a more complete sense of self. Furthermore, I believe by understanding one's own movement, a person can better understand her emotions. This can potentially help a client recognize patterns, increase her insight, and may assist in developing appropriate ways to self-soothe and cope. Of course, there is also a biological element at play here, as movement can promote the secretion of healthy hormones that physiologically help a person feel better.

Second, I use dance to encourage self-expression. Many clients are unable to express themselves verbally, but are able to do so through dance and movement. This helps those clients who are isolated feel seen and heard, even if they are unable to use words. Although DMTs often use words to clarify a movement or provide an image to support the dance, in some cases no verbalization is necessary. As Martha Graham once said, movement never lies. I find that especially in my work with trauma victims, the dance itself is much more honest and expressive than a conversation in words. Third, I use rhythmic dance to help my clients relate to one another. Rhythm usually helps my groups feel a sense of cohesion, and helps my clients emerge from the isolation of their illness. By moving in a shared rhythm, I find that my clients are able to quiet their hallucinations and suppress their pain. In general I feel rhythm assists in helping clients feel oriented, organized, and present. Fourth, I use dance to empower my clients. There are many ways to do this. For some individuals, learning a specific dance step and mastering it can provide a sense of accomplishment and pride. For someone else, being able to relish in one's own movement and perform either an improvised or rehearsed solo in the center of a group can boost self-confidence. When a client has an opportunity to teach his peers a phrase he choreographed, or can teach me about a dance genre I'm unfamiliar with, a sense of empowerment almost always ensues. This can help a client's negative symptoms dissipate, while also increase personal drive toward recovery.

Lastly, I want to explain how my dance training and knowledge of my own body help me serve my clients. My high school dance training, bachelors program, and masters program have all helped me gain a thorough understanding of what it feels like to move in my body. As a result, I'm able to adapt my posture, tension, rhythm, and movement quality with relative ease. In doing so, I'm able to use movement to help my clients feel I can relate to them. For example, very often I will mirror a client's movement, adjusting my body to reflect the essence of her movement. If I'm able to do this authentically and genuinely without mocking or copying, most clients will begin to feel me relating to them. It is my hope that this can help us develop trust, and can promote the development of our therapeutic relationship. Furthermore, my dance training and knowledge of my own body serve me when I notice an unusual physical sensation, or when I find myself moving in a way that feels foreign. Quite often, these kinds of feelings are actually informing me about my client's experience. When I think about this phenomenon, one particular story always comes to mind.

A dance/movement therapist was working with a client struggling with substance abuse, when repeatedly she found herself feeling a strong, painful burning sensation in her chest and abdomen. After trying to ignore this feeling, it finally grew unbearable. The DMT was honest with her client, and shared that she wanted to work with him but couldn't shake this intense fire in her stomach. The client then expressed to the DMT that he felt a similar fire in his stomach each and every day. The two were able to have dialogue, and ultimately developed a stronger sense of trust because of their mutually shared experience. In other words, the DMT's ability to differentiate her own sensations from her client's enabled her to recognize the valuable information. She gained a better understanding of her client, and empathized with him authentically. As a result, their therapeutic bond was strengthened. Among DMTs, this phenomenon is known as somatic countertransference. Without my training as a dancer, however, I don't believe I would have enough self-awareness to utilize somatic countertransference in my work.
Conclusively, I know I'm not alone in my belief that dance experience and training are vital in the work of a DMT. The godmother of dance/movement therapy, Marian Chace, was in fact a member of Denishawn, one of the first American modern dance companies. Although Chace strongly believed modern dance was the foundation for dance/movement therapy, today's field is full of therapists from a variety of dance backgrounds. Even in the small group of students I studied with at the Pratt Institute, our group included a ballet dancer, belly dancer, and burlesque dancer! This gives me confidence in knowing the spirit found in all dance forms truly is healing.
For more information about DMT or Creative Arts Therapies, visit www.adta.org, or feel free to contact me via e-mail.


Review: Dana Foglia Dance - "I Am... We Are..."

NB: I actually wrote this review immediately after the show, on February 3rd. For the past few months, I have tried fervently to publish it in a magazine, but to no avail. I think it's unfortunate that none of the major dance magazines publish reviews, either from their own staff writers or freelancers, and I apologize that this review is so late -- but I wanted to be sure to share it with the dance community, as I am a staunch supporter of this choreographer's work. Enjoy.
DANA FOGLIA DANCE: I am... We are...
Review by Ryan P. Casey

Last year, in an
interview with Boston-based jazz dancer Adrienne Hawkins, the award-winning master teacher and choreographer was asked what has excited her in recent years about the development of dance. She replied:
“The new movement vocabulary that the younger people are bringing to the table. I don’t think they have figured out what to do with it, or how to use it as a tool for their thoughts and ideas, but the use of the body and the use of the music is refreshing.”
            Dana Foglia is one of those rare and gifted young choreographers who has already figured it out. Her unique movement vocabulary, costuming and performance style have earned her well-deserved attention from coast to coast, and it was only expected that the New York debut of her new show, I am… We are…, on February 1st and 3rd would have standing room only. This production, a seamless evening of her choreography presented in the DiMenna Center’s Cary Hall, an open black box space traditionally utilized for classical music, was a powerful statement of the promise of her innovative movement ideas.
            The event’s black and white theme (even the audience was encouraged to dress accordingly) was a simple, yet sexy and stylish look for the company of sixteen. The women were dressed in what has become the company’s signature look: solid black and white – or, later, striped – hooded leotards, some dancers also donning blond wigs, making them almost indistinguishable from each other. Similarly, the men boasted black and white shirts and capri pants embellished with bowties and suspenders, looking strong and snazzy.
            Lighting was simple but effective, transforming the space into the feel of an intimate club and complementing the pulsing – but often too loud – soundtrack, which consisted primarily of synthesized house music, the Eurythmics’ “Here Comes the Rain Again” one of the few recognizable tracks.
            In executing Foglia’s intricate choreography, the dancers embodied the music and the music embodied them. They hit every accent with a rhythmic sensibility I have only observed previously in the most musically astute of tap dancers, attacking powerful hip hop phrases and then relaxing into slinky, sexy contemporary combinations, lulling the audience into a false moment of relaxation before surprising them again with another sequence of complicated steps.  
            It is the kind of show that begs to be seen again because it is too elaborate to be digested in a single sitting: in one second, the dancers are in full splits in a staggered formation, and in the blink of an eye, it seems, they’re standing up in a straight line. I didn’t just wonder how they did that; I wondered how they had acquired the stamina to maintain such sophisticated and athletic choreography for an hour – an hour that moved so quickly and was packed with so much dancing, I vowed never again to complain about how tired I am after my next trip to the gym.
            Of these talented performers, Mishay Petronelli stood out not solely for her incredible power and control, but her emotion. While many of the dancers maintained severe, stolid expressions throughout the show, Petronelli’s face was a reliable window into the mood of each piece and how she felt as she performed it, and her eyes never failed to flash defiantly or flutter seductively at the audience while she commanded attention in each of her appearances. The men were just as strong, Denzel Chisolm effortlessly partnering Petronelli and young Jose “BoyBoi” Tena displaying remarkable athleticism and ferocity.
            While many of the dancers were skillfully utilized in solo moments, Foglia’s choreography is a reminder of the sheer power of ensemble choreography. The strongest moments of the show featured the cast dancing in unison, nailing complicated steps at breakneck speed and expertly showcasing Foglia’s rhythmic sensibility combined with visual appeal. When I found I had been holding my breath for a large portion of the show, I wondered how the dancers were able to catch theirs. The audience, for their part, seemed never to run out of breath as they continually hooted and whistled their appreciation, screaming wildly for their favorite pieces (one of which has almost 58,000 views on YouTube) as avid fans at a concert might go wild upon hearing the opening notes of a beloved tune. Foglia’s work has already attracted a loyal following, and it’s easy to see why.
            Part of the appeal is her imagination, which was on full display as the cast experimented boldly with props, juxtaposing strength and agility with risky playfulness. In one routine, dancers shared playful duets while rolling across the floor on swivel chairs, showing off their strength and control by stopping at the split second before a collision. In another, they tossed, bounced and rolled a soccer ball at each other without missing a beat of the choreography. A trio of female dancers on mini trampolines showed off their core strength and balance in a daring trio. It was all exciting and suspenseful, if not a little showy: some more context and justification for the incorporation of the props, or further development of the concept behind their appearance, would have made these experiments more cohesive and satisfying.
            Other concepts, particularly involving the company’s men, were particularly effective. One routine had them dancing along a grid of black and white lines taped to the floor (a chore some of the other dancers performed – literally – almost as a separate routine. Who knew marking a stage could be so sexy?), changing formations and delivering hard-hitting hip-hop sequences. They added an extra touch of class in a memorable routine to Missy Elliott’s “The Rain,” accentuating their outfits with top hats and canes, echoing a previous era of dance while infusing that elegant, sophisticated style with Foglia’s futuristic one.
            Her choreography has a commercial vibe, to be sure, but while it is at once sexy and flashy and edgy, it is sure of itself; it has substance. Everything is deliberate and, sans some of the prop explorations, developed to a sophisticated, satisfying degree. The audience leaves with an immediate and lasting impression of the look and feel of Dana Foglia Dance. Once you have seen her work, her name immediately conjures images of her powerful, mesmerizing choreography; her mysterious leotard-clad dancers; her space-age vibe. There are not enough flattering adjectives to complete the title of the incredible journey that is I am… We are… Foglia and her dancers are in control of an appearance, style and performance quality that are uniquely their own.
            I am excited for the continued development of this talented troupe…. We are lucky to have Foglia sharing her creations with the dance community. 



by Nicole Harris

Looking for something to do this weekend?  Why not head over to the Mills Gallery and check out the recent installment of Movement at the Mills?!  It's FREE and better yet, it features some REALLY amazing choreographers and performers.

David Parker and the Bang Group will be heading up from New York and performing alongside Lorraine Chapman and Contrapose with special guest, Ryan Casey.  The Bang Group will be presenting two entirely new pieces.  According to David, "One is a tap dance translation of Steve Reich's Clapping Music and the other a duet for Jeff and me singing and dancing Rossini's famous Cats duet, Duetto Buffo di Due Gatti."  They will also be doing excerpts from ShowDown and pieces choreographed by David for Contrapose and Lorraine Chapman.  Our own Ryan Casey will be performing choreography of his own as part of the concert.  (If you missed Ryan's performance at Against the Odds here is your chance to see a section of it!)

The Mills Gallery is a wonderfully personal way to see dance.  Karen, Courtney and I had a great time performing as part of Movement at the Mills a few years ago.  Ryan describes tomorrow's show as a "unique performance, where audience members can meander through the Mills Gallery and watch dances unfold before their eyes."  There will definitely be members of Monkeyhouse in the audience, so join us for an exciting (AND FREE!) evening of dance!

Friday, May 10th @ 8pm
Boston Center for the Arts - Mills Gallery
539 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116


Residency Opportunity for Choreographers

by karen Krolak
Quicksilver Dance during BCA residency

Hey choreographers, here is yet another fabulous opportunity to create work! The Boston Center for the Arts is accepting applications for the 2013-2014 Dance Residencies. While the residency does not cover transportation or local housing costs, it is open to dance artists from outside of the Boston area. I have heard both Mariah Steele and Contrapose Dance rave about how much they enjoyed being selected for these residencies. Resident artists receive:

  • Four to five weeks of free rehearsal/performance space for an intensive creative  process. Companies will have unlimited rehearsal time within Calderwood Pavilion operating hours: weekdays 9 am - 11 pm, Saturdays 10 am - 11 pm, Sundays 12 pm - 8pm.
  •  The opportunity to perform new and existing work in an alternative theatre space.
  • A stipend of $1000 to be used at the resident company’s discretion.
  • Assistance from Technical Director with lighting design and production  labor.
  • Access to lighting and sound equipment for showcase performance including risers, pipe & drape, approx. 18 lighting instruments, PA system for sound.
  • Support for public program development and execution.
  • Inclusion in BCA program listings and website.
One company will be choose for each Residency Session: 
Monday, October 21 – November 24, 2013 (5 weeks)
Monday, January 6 – Sunday, February 2, 2014 (4 weeks)
Monday, May 19 – Sunday, June 22, 2014 (5 weeks)

Applications must be received by Monday, May 20, 2013 by 5:00pm. For more information go to http://bcaonline.org/performance/dance/dance-residency-call.html

Luminarium's 24 Hour Choreofest

By: Elyssa Berg

Luminarium Dance will be hosting their second annual 24 Hour Choreofest! The festival will take place on Friday, August 16, 2013 through Saturday, August 17, 2013 at the Dance Complex in Cambridge, MA. Choreographers/Companies are strongly encouraged to apply for the chance to create work in a completely different environment and under unusual circumstances.

Dancers will spend a full 24 hours in the Dance Complex with a chance to create an original piece of work. All work must be created during this time period, no preconceived work is allowed! After the overnight creating process there will be a short production period in the morning followed by two performances on Saturday. Embrace the opportunity to push your creative limits and create something one of a kind! All proceeds of the Saturday matinee performance will be donated to a charity that focuses on providing arts-based experiences to underserved populations.

All applicants should apply by the May 17th deadline through the online application process. There is a $15 application fee and you will also need to include samples of your work. There will only be five companies chosen to participate in the festival and no solo work is being accepted at this time. Applications and a full description of expectations for the festival can be found at http://www.luminariumdance.org/choreofest-apply#!__choreofest-apply.

2012 Inaugural Participants included:
1,000 Virtues Dance
Sarah Mae Gibbons & Renee Amirault
Luminarium Dance Company
The People Movers
Synthesis Aesthetics Project

You could be next! Apply today for Luminarium's 24-Hour Choreofest of 2013 today!


Get To Know Laila!

By: Elyssa Berg

Laila Fatimi is 17 years old and a Senior at Natick High School. She will be graduating this spring and attending the University of Maine in the Fall. She has been dancing at Impulse Dance Center in Natick, MA for the past 15 years where she is a part of the Connecting Point Dance Company and the TAProject; two performing companies from the studio. Laila has also started her own business, Designs By Laila, that incorporates Henna designs into everything from tattoos to skateboards and sneakers. Here are some of the highlights from the conversation that we had together.

So I understand that you have been dancing at Impulse Dance Center for the past 15 years. Why don’t you tell me about the experience you’ve had from learning from the same teachers for such an extended amount of time.

Learning from the same teachers for so long, at Impulse Dance Center in Natick, MA I have learned so much. I have learned everything from different styles of dance, to intricate technique, and life lessons.  One of the most important things I’ve learned, that is the most relevant to me at the moment (being a graduating senior), was said last year by Karen Krolak. She said, the more amazing memories made with a person, the more painful it is to say goodbye. Impulse is like my second family and I’m honored to be a part of such a great community!

I see that you’ve had a number of jobs over the past few years, have any of them impacted or tied into your dancing?

Yes, I actually think that my dancing has impacted my jobs. For a couple years, I worked at Corrado’s Subs in Natick Center. It’s obvious that making subs and dancing are very different, but I quickly learned that remembering sandwich orders is similar to remembering choreography. Now that I have been working on my own business, Designs by Laila, I have to be very organized, outgoing with customers, and on top of my work. Being at Impulse Dance Center almost every day, having school, and having homework have all helped me in learning the balancing act.

So over the years you have been to many different conventions. What would you say has been your favorite convention that you’ve been to and how did they differ from each other?

My favorite convention that I have been to has been the PULSE on tour convention in Boston. Learning from many world famous choreographers has shown me what being successful takes. It also was an awesome feeling to be in a room with hundreds of dancers who have had a totally different dance education than I have, meaning I had different strengths and weaknesses from the person next to me, which you can learn a lot from.

How do you think performing so much at such a young age has influenced you professionally?

I have learned how to present myself professionally, how to be respectful and how to be punctual. There is a lot that goes into a performance and if you are not on point something in the performance process could go wrong, or you could not be asked back to perform.

What would you say has been your favorite experience while performing in the Connecting Point Dance Company?

My favorite performance experience was at 12 Dancers Dancing in December 2011, at the Dance Complex in Cambridge, MA. I performed a piece called ‘Mad World’, created by Arie Hockman, with the rest of the Connecting Point Dance Company. I loved performing with a such a small group (three). It gave us a chance to connect as dancers, in a beautiful dance that is still my favorite piece that I have ever learned! It was also the first time that I felt so much passion and connection towards a piece. I also had a great time getting ready for the piece. The Connecting
Point Dance Company and Arie Hockman, the company’s director, drove into Boston for about a week straight. We would grab some coffee from the cafe down the street, put our pail white makeup on, and perform. I think this gave us more time to bond and get to know each other as more than just dancers.


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