9/30/13

My Life As An Intern!


by Katelyn Alcott 

Photo by JK Photo
For me, Monkeyhouse came out of nowhere. I started my internship with Nicole and suddenly found myself in the midst of a whirlwind of blogs, luncheons, shows, dancing,  performances, palindromes, and parties. Despite being slightly overwhelmed at first. I slowly got the hang of things. As I did so, I realized the remarkable community/family dynamic the group possesses.

The feeling started when I was huddled around the dining room table at the Harris Household. I sat across from Karen and next to Nicole with several of my classmates around me. Still uncomfortable with things, I stayed quiet. But, I watched as my peers put things up for the discussion. I was amazed at how equally they were treated.

My next responsibility was the Your Just Desserts evening. I ironed table clothes and moved chairs, I sat in the hall to welcome guests and accept  their tickets. But my favorite part of the evening was watching as all the members of the community greeted,
Photo by JK Photo
welcomed and accepted each other without question.

My favorite opportunity was working the Against the Odds performances. I had the chance to witness beautiful self expression through dance and was left completely breathless. I saw all the familiar faces from parties earlier in the year and was able to greet them as a part of the community.

I would just like to extend my thanks to Monkeyhouse for this opportunity and for the wonderful work you do everyday!

9/28/13

Up for an Artistic Adventure?

by karen Krolak


At the moment,  Nicole and I are gathering our wits for today's performances at the DUMBO dance festival and gearing up for tomorrow's dress rehearsal for Dance in the Fells. It is unfortunate that we are so busy as two of our favorite visual art collaborators, Hannah Verlin and Cynthia Roberts, have exhibits that I want to see before they close. 

I'd love to hop over to the Boston Sculptors Gallery before October 6th to see Hannah Verlin's Fates & Furies: America. You may remember how Hannah's handwriting drew you in to the installation she designed under the steps at Springstep during our first Against the Odds festival. In this show she uses historical records, letters, collected data, and some original text to explore the mythic sagas of American history. 

I am also eager to view Cynthia Roberts’ new series of paintings The Inhabitants/Les Inhabitants on display up at Endicott College. She developed them during a sabbatical period in Le Havre in 2012 when she was also designing projections for Back Going No Going Back. Through our collaboration, my curiosity grew as she shared stories of how she peeled back layers of the French city through individual visual inquiries into its people and places.  Also on view will be video documentation of The Diver, a collaborative dance she created with company French La BaZooKa that premiered at the André Malraux Museum of Modern Art.

Hannah VerlinFates & Furies: AmericaSeptember 4 - October 6, 2013
SOWA First Friday ReceptionsSeptember 6, 5 - 8pmOctober 4, 5 - 8pmGallery HoursWednesday - Sunday, 12-6pm(or by appointment) 


EXPANDING THE FIELD
CYNTHIA ROBERTS | LARRY VOLK

Spencer Presentation Gallery
Walter J. Manninen Center for the Arts at Endicott College
Friday, August 30 – Friday, October 11, 2013
Reception:  Thursday, September
Gallery Hours: Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Weekend and evening hours will resume of September 14, 2013
Exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

9/26/13

Engineering Swing?


by N. Sao Pedro-Welch  

Karen came across an article recently that is quite interesting to dancers and non- dancers alike!  

Engineering students at Northwestern University aretaking a swing dance class, for credit.  It is designed to help them "think more quickly on their feet," and "to work more in a collaborative sense," according to Joe Holtgrieve, Assistant Dean.

They have to "break out of their comfort zone," to learn swing dance steps and problem solve on a social level by communicating to their partner during class. I personally think it is a great idea! The techniques they are using during class to break down actual swing dance steps can be applied to envisioning engineering solutions. I also feel it will help the students think more creatively and encourage them to listen more with their bodies by moving with their partner rather than discussing things. All of these tools are definite life skills to use for engineering purposes and for interpersonal relationships!    
 
To watch the video connected to this article, go to:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msvbW_9fxfg

9/24/13

24 Hour Choreofest!


by Shannon Sullivan 
 
Back in May, when Nicole Harris asked me to jump on board Luminarium's 24- hour ChoreoFest I was very excited.  My initial thought was that this was a fabulous opportunity to work with Nicole. I also love performance venues that provide opportunities to bring different dance forms together.  
As August 16th quickly approached, however, my enthusiasm was equally matched with trepidation.  One of the major factors that I left out when I made my decision to join this project was the fact that I do not pull all-nighters.  How in the world was I going to function well enough to choreograph into the wee hours of the morning and also tap the next day?  I would love to say that the creative process carried me into the wee hours with endless enthusiasm, but my short and more realistic response is that I accepted that I was going to be tired, I tried not to wallow in my tired state, but I was indeed exhausted by the end of our performances.
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Photo by Ryan Carollo
Aside from fatigue, the second greatest challenge that I faced was creating a dance piece while our music was simultaneously being composed.  David Wechsler, the composer for our piece, was actually working from his studio in Chicago.  This made transmitting ideas and sharing in the creative process a bit more difficult than if we were all collaborating in the same space.  I had never worked in this manner before.  Typically, I use recorded music or if I am performing with live musicians, we are "working it out" and sharing ideas in the same environment.  As someone who is truly inspired by music and the energy of live musicians, this forced me to approach the creative process from a totally different angle.  I'm not sure that I liked creating in this way, but I can say that David did a brilliant job composing and in the end, I loved the union of both the music and dance.  
 
Lastly, though I have known Nicole for years and have always applauded her work, I have never had the opportunity to choreograph with her and it was a wonderful experience.Though we have walked in many of the same dance circles, we each have a very distinctly different style and "voice" in tap dancing.  It was a pleasure to learn from Nicole and to gain a glimpse of her choreographic process.  I hope to someday do this again in a more relaxed environment.

My final thoughts and what I'll take with me after watching Luminarium's 24-hour ChoreoFest performance was that we have many very talented dancers and choreographers in Boston.  I appreciated that we were all able to share the same stage in this adventure and I hope our paths will cross again. 

9/20/13

Good Things!


  

*  Congratulations to Courtney Wagner and Jim Peerless on their recent engagement!

*  Monkeyhouse has a new intern, Danny Foner!  Keep an eye out for more information about him soon!

*  Longtime friend and supporter Leon Hovsepian just became a father, TWICE!  Congratulations, Leon!  And welcome twins, Leo & Logan, to the Monkeyhouse family!

*  Speaking of interns, four of our graduates headed off to college last month!  Best of luck to you Laila, Elyssa, David & Katelyn!  We can't wait to hear all about your adventures!

*  In addition to raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for The Jimmy Fund, the amazing Zach Galvin, sang the national anthem at Fenway Park last week!  Check out all the amazing work he's done with the Jimmy Fund Walk and maybe even get your walking shoes on!

*  Luminarium and Monkeyhouse Mused together!  In early August members of the two companies joined together share our creative processes and it was great fun for all!

*  Andrew Mudge's beautiful film The Forgotten Kingdom had its Boston showing last week.  Please go check it out if you can!  Congratulations on a job well done!
 
* Mara Blumenfeld, who gave Karen the original Princess Pamplemousse hat, is costume designing The Jungle Book at the Huntington Theater in Boston.
 
* South African actor, Nick Boraine is also in Boston this month for a five week residency with Global Arts Corps at ArtsEmerson. Monkeyhouse first met Nick when we both were performing at the NYC Fringe Festival in 2001. You can see him in free showings of the documentary, Truth in Translation ,and a workshop of a new project about the peace process in Northern Ireland.
 
* Our favorite palindromist, Barry Duncan was named Artist of the Month by the Somerville Arts Council!
 
*  Monkeyhouse reached over 400 "likes" on Facebook!  Thanks to everyone who spread the word!  We'd still like to keep going, so if you haven't already, tell the social media world why you love Monkeyhouse! 
 
What are your good things this month?  Share with us HERE! 

9/18/13

What's Next for Monkeyhouse?

Dear Friends:

Where is your home? What makes it meaningful to you? How does it improve your quality of life? How does it orient you in the world? What would you do if you lost it? These questions have swarmed about my brain during the last twelve months. Jason and I were in the midst of moving when we got the news about the accident that killed the three family members who were my first definition of home. Shortly thereafter, Monkeyhouse learned that our artistic home, Springstep, was being sold. Never in my life have I felt so dizzy and disoriented or so acutely aware of the real value of having a home.

As of September 1st, Monkeyhouse is no longer in residence at Springstep. While we were packing up boxes, I reflected on how much our organization was able to grow during our time there. Our greatly subsidized rental rates, regular Musings, and rehearsal times allowed us to expand the number of dancers in the company, foster relationships with outside artists, and dramatically increase our repertoire. For the first time, we could rehearse, teach, perform, and run the organization from the same location. We were finally able to realize our dream to launch a festival about choreography and presented over a hundred of our favorite artists. Our connections to Medford's arts community introduced us to CACHE, the Mystic River CelebrationDance in the Fellsthe Medford Arts Council, and Mystic Coffee Roasters. My sadness at leaving this magnificent, monument of modern architecture created specifically for dance and music is tempered by my gratitude for all the amazing opportunities it provided.

Many people have enquired about where we are going next and the truth is we aren't sure yet. Rest assured that we are investigating several options and are open to any ideas that people may have. We have planned the 2013 - 2014 season around the ideas of being Misplaced & Displaced and will be involved in several site specific projects. Our current mailing address is PO Box 221 Somerville, MA 02143.

You have never been more vital to Monkeyhouse's survival. In the absence of a physical location, you are our home. I truly appreciate how patient you have been with me as I have navigated through the last incredibly arduous year. It has always been an honor to be a part of such an extraordinary community of people but I have been stunned by strength and compassion many of you have demonstrated. Your example emboldens me as Monkeyhouse embarks on this awkward transition. Where do you think we will be 525,600 minutes from now?


Love - 
Karen and All Your Friends at Monkeyhouse

9/16/13

You Can Still Do Your Back to School Good-Shopping!

by Rosie Steinberg

Dear Friends of Monkeys,

For those of us heading back to school this month, a fresh new outfit is a way of telling ourselves "You are ready for this year, and you are going to feel, look, and do great!" My annual gap.com and Staples purchases were made cheaper and better from coupons on goodshop.com (http://www.goodsearch.com/goodshop.aspx). It features other clothing and shoe retailers, pharmacies, tech stores, travel sites, grocery stores, and pretty much anything you will need this year. Plus, each coupon used means a donation to a nonprofit: make yours Monkeyhouse!

Also, a reminder that on those long days at the office or in the classroom, check out goodgames.com, especially my personal favorite, "Trizzle"! For every 3 games played, goodsearch.com will donate a penny.

Happy Back-to-school shopping!
Rosie Steinberg

  

9/13/13

Boston Dance Alliance Open Call Audition

Although Monkeyhouse will not be part of this year's Boston Dance Alliance Open Call Audition, there are several outstanding companies looking for performers. In addition, this audition is a fabulous way for new dancers to get a sense of the local dance community. Given how many people show up each year, it is wise to register early. Merde everyone.

Sunday, September 15, 2013
11am – 5pm
Doors open at 10 am for registration and warm up
Where:Brookline High School Performing Arts Building
115 Greenough St
[Entrance on Tappan Street]
T accessible – Green D Line Brookline Hills Stop
[high school on left]
Parking available
For map, please CLICK HERE
*Choreographers must be Boston Dance Alliance members to attend.
Dancers must be 18 or older to attend.

For more information e-mail BDA: info@bostondancealliance.org
List of Attending
Choreographers/Companies
as of September 5th 2013:
Anara FrankMetaMovements
Anna MyerAnna Myer and Dancers
Aparna Das & Loreto AnsaldoIn Divine Company
Audrey MacLeanGreen Street Studios
Callie ChapmanZoe Dance Company
Carl AlleyneBeanTown Lockers
Clyde Nantais & Jimmy ReardonBoston Dance Company
Courtney PeixContrapose Dance
David SundSundanceX  
DeAnna PellecchiaKAIROS Dance Theater
Heather BrownIndependent Choreographer
Jean AppolonJean Appolon Expressions
Jeannette NeillJeannette Neill Dance Studio
Jessica GoepfertCambridge Dance Company
Jessica MuiseIntimations Dance
Joanie Blockselmadance
Jody WeberWeber Dance
Joe Gonzalez & May-lisa ChandlerJo-Mé Dance
Kate CookUrbanity Dance
Kristy KuhnIndependent Choreographer
Mariah SteeleQuicksilver Dance
Marsha ParrillaDanza Organica
Natalie VanLandinghamBoston Urban Ballet
Nicole PierceEgoArt, Inc.
Pamela NewtonThe Dreamscape Project
Ricardo FosterUnyted Stylz Productions
Sallee SlagleIndependent Choreographer
Sarah Mae GibbonsIndependent Choreographer
Tony TuckerStreetHYpE
Vanessa White  Sugar Coated Productions (The Slutcracker)

SPACE IS LIMITED - Pre-registration strongly encouraged!

9/12/13

Happy Birthday Michelle Dorrance!


by Nicole Harris 
Photo from Jacob's Pillow by Christopher Duggan
This summer I traveled to the extreme ends of Massachusetts in search of brilliant tap dancing, and brilliant tap dancing is exactly what I found.  (Along with a whole lot of adventure, but that's a story for another time.)  I want to tell you about my first stop:  the gorgeous Jacob's Pillow to see Michelle Dorrance's The Blues Project.  A recipient of the 2013 Jacob's Pillow Dance Award, Michelle created this new work using members of her company, co-choreographers Derick K. Grant and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, and a brand new score byToshi Regan

Anybody who has had a conversation about tap dancing with me in the past five years or so knows that I am a big fan of Michelle and her work.  This show did not disappoint.  It was beautifully danced, creatively envisioned and intelligently constructed.  I have been talking to and interviewing people from the show this summer and will hopefully have some interviews for you soon!

I would like to wish Michelle a most wonderfully happy birthday this month.  Take a minute to learn more about her and her work here.  And don't miss an opportunity to see the woman in action if you find one!

Happy Birthday to the rest of our September birthdays...

Valerie PerrineBeyonce KnowlesMitzi GaynorMariah SteeleTony WaagLola FalanaMichelle DorranceSarah FriswellSabrina BryantFrederick AshtonWade Robson, Olivia Scharff, Ashley ChandlerJuliet ProwseLawrence LeritzDeborah Kerr, Anne HowarthTanya Rivard, Lewis Glass, Allie Fiske, Monica Clary, Jesse Chase, Cathy Jo Linn, and Dita Von Teese.

9/11/13

Upcoming Events!

by Aisha Cruise

That crisp bite in the morning air leaves no doubt that autumn is almost upon us, and as Boston gears up for the 2013/2014 dance season, September offers up some unique performances and occasions:

Mondays 09/09 - 10/21 @ 9:30-11am
Monday Morning Modern w/Mariah
Green Street Studios
Come invigorate your week with Monday Morning Modern with Mariah!  Each class will include a thorough warm-up (floor & standing) designed to foster expanded range of motion and efficiency of movement, followed by center movement phrases in Mariah's distinctive style. Phrase work is technical, but organic and easy on the body, with a focus on theatricality, subtlety, detail and creative expression.  All levels welcome!

Some other great Boston studios starting fall dance classes:
The Dance Complex (for any dance you can think of)
Jose Mateo Adult Drop-in series (for classical ballet)
Cambridge Center for Adult Education(for ballroom, ballet, jazz and tap)
Brookline Ballet School (mostly ballet, but some fun exceptions)

September 13 & 14 @ 8pm
September 15 @ 2pm
Secrets & Motion
Arts at the Armory, Somerville MA
Last year, Luminarium brought you into the fanciful world of Mythos:Pathos. This September, be among the first to see the company's new feature production, SECRETS & MOTION, combining dance, light, and text to create a performance riddled with contemplative thought, and a little humor. Collaborating with photographer Larry Pratt and installation artist Hannah Verlin (Fun fact: Luminarium met Hannah at this year's Against the Odds festival!), Luminarium presents an evening deeply rooted in the secrets we keep, share, and dismantle, while transforming the space into a breathing work of art. There will be a reception after the Friday performance, so stick around for drinks and discussion about the performance!

September 12-14 @ 8pm
Sunday, September 15 @ 6pm
Lilith
Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown
A solo by Wendy Jehlen, "Lilith" explores the story of the first woman, who rebelled against Adam, and fled Eden. We view facets of her from the many perspectives that history, art and religion have viewed her - as the serpent who offers the apple to Eve, as a winged creature, a temptress, as an aggrieved mother a thousand times over. The creation of "Lilith" was originally inspired by the sculpture of the same title by Kiki Smith. The development of the narrative has been inspired and accompanied by the poetry of Keith Tornheim. 

Saturday, September 21 @ 7pm
Boston Ballet's Night of Stars
Boston Common
To kick off the 50th anniversary season, the Boston Ballet is offering this free performance on the Common, featuring the Boston Ballet dancers and the Boston Ballet orchestra.  I strongly recommend showing up early to get a good seat, because this event promises to have an enormous turn out.
September 28th @ 2pm & 9pm
Monkeyhouse 
25 Jay St, Brooklyn
Join Karen and Nicole as they perform two duets from Against the Odds alongside many other wonderful artists in the DUMBO Dance Festival!
Saturday, September 28 @ 8pm 
Sunday, September 29 @ 2pm 
Return
Aerplaye Dance
RISD Auditorium, Providence RI
"Return" features the work and dance of Aerplaye founder Heather Ahern. Appearing in concert with Ahern are Aerplaye's founding dancers: Jamie Arnold, Shura Baryshnikov, Sarah Hopkins, Kathy Gordon Smith, and Brittany Lombardi, with a cameo appearance by special guest Michael Bolger. The performance includes six dances from Ahern's diverse body of work; moving, and at times playful, dipping into performance art and referencing many genres of dance.

9/10/13

Advice About Undergrad & Grad Arts Programs

Knowing how challenging it can be for young dancers and choreographers to navigate through the college admissions process, we were delighted to get an email about an upcoming fair. If you don't live in the Boston area, don't fret. NACAC offers free events all over the country. Find more info here.

Boston Performing & Visual Arts College Fair

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
7:00 - 9:00 pm
Boston University, Fuller Building
808 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

Free and open to the public

 On Tuesday, September 24th, the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) will present its annual Performing & Visual Arts College Fair in Boston. More than 130 of the nation’s premier arts institutions will be represented at the fair, which offers prospective students a first-hand opportunity to ask questions and learn about the nuances of each college program. This is the only college fair of its size in New England that is specifically geared toward arts students, and it only takes place once per year.

Anyone who is considering undergraduate or graduate studies in the arts is welcome and teachers, guidance counselors, family and friends are also encouraged to attend. Schools from across the country offering programs in music, dance, theater, graphic and visual arts will be represented.

In addition to the college fair, they will host a pre-fair workshop from 6:10 - 6:50 pm on the topic of "Navigating the Audition/Portfolio Process at Performing and Visual Arts Schools." This workshop will take place in the BU College of Fine Arts, Room 500, 855 Commonwealth Avenue.

Students should pre-register to attend this fair at http://www.gotomypvafair.com/Registration. Complete information, including a list of attending schools, is available online.

9/9/13

Andy Jacobs' Pillow Debut

Everyone on the faculty at Impulse Dance Center in Natick, MA is extremely proud of Andy Jacobs. He was an incredibly enthusiastic student with tremendous potential who performed in both the Connecting Point Dance Company as well as TAProject.  None of us were surprised that he was scooped up by two professional companies within days of earning his BA in Dance this year. We invited him to write about the his debut at Jacob's Pillow in August and to give us a glimpse into the start of what is sure to be a very promising career.

by Andy Jacobs
Photo Credit: Christopher Duggan
Courtesy of Jacob’s Pillow Dance

It’s weird, I didn’t think I’d be where I am today after my college graduation. First off, when I started my freshman year at Adelphi, my initial goal of being a dance major was to improve my technique more and audition to be one of Lady GaGa’s back-up dancers. It wasn’t until sophomore year that I had a sudden change in direction, when I had the privilege of being cast in Paul Taylor’s Esplanade and got to work with his second company, Taylor 2, and its artistic director and former Taylor Company member, Ruth Andrien. Since working with them, my eyes and mind were opened to what’s really out there in the dance world. Since then I’ve gathered more interest in the artistic side of the dance world and not just the commercial side. Being a back-up dancer for Lady GaGa would be great and I still have it on my audition list, but right now I’m on a different path in my career.


Today I’m a dancer for two NYC based dance companies, the Mazzini Dance Collective (who’s artistic director and choreographer, Annmaria Mazzini, is a retired Paul Taylor dancer.) and the Amy Marshall Dance Company (who’s artistic director and choreographer, Amy Marshall, is a former Taylor 2 company member.) This summer was my premiere with both companies. I traveled to Allentown, Pennsylvania to perform in the Allentown Freakout Fringe Festival with MDC. I also traveled to Becket, Massachusetts to perform at the Jacob’s Pillow Festival on the Inside/Out stage with AMDC.


This was first time ever being at Jacob’s Pillow and I have to say it was one of the richest experiences I’ve ever had so far in my dancing career. Knowing that we performing on the new stage was such a plus, it was sprung, had bars on the sides and back of the stage, and had one of the best back drops I’ve ever seen. We were told that half the stage was slippery and the other half was a bit sticky cause of the tree sap, but it honestly didn’t phase me or any of the other company members. All we could do was get our warm up gear on and make our way to the stage for a run through.


That afternoon we performed two of Amy Marshall’s original pieces, Riding the Purple Twilight and Dvija. We were told that 700 people were in the audience and that only pumped us more to go above and beyond. One thing that I specifically remember is that during the final section of Dvija the sun was beginning to set and the rays were shining through the trees. That literally completed the picture of what we were performing on that stage that evening. Having that element of nature and surprise was so fulfilling and perfect for the dancers' spirit and the audience's eye. At the end of the performances there was a Q&A session with the choreographer and company. One person asked “Because of the setting of the stage and being outdoors, does that change the interpretation of the movement?” I wanted to answer that question, so Amy handed me the mic and I responded with, “It definitely frees the movement more with being outside. You don’t have the three walls surrounding you, like you would in a theater. By having all this open space you’re able to broaden and expand the movement to a much higher level!”

9/6/13

Where to begin

by karen Krolak

When Monkeyhouse presents Skorts (short showings of works in progress) or Sporks (discussions designed to stir up questions and fork out ideas), I often get asked about
where my ideas for pieces come from. As I was pacing around our site for Dance in the Fells: Wright’s Pond yesterday, I was observing small changes in the space and realized that generally I start by getting to know my materials. Frequently, I have absolutely no idea how the piece will evolve, I just have an intense interest in one of the ingredients. When I am working with new dancers, I will begin with improvisations designed to draw out their strengths. People always surprise me with skills that I would not have assumed they possess and those talents will trigger a direction for the creation.


In the case of a site specific work, I explore the place at different times of day and look for evidence of how other people and animals interact with the space. Over the course of the summer, I have noticed the changes in the view as trees and brush fill out and how that influences the way sounds travel. 

Some of the first things that struck me about our site for Dance in the Fells were that there were fishing hooks, lures, and floats embedded in the ground and that there is a magnificent, broken tree branch begging to be climbed on.  Arriving yesterday I was amused to discover a folding chair had been left facing the water. What had happened to its owner? Was he planning to return and just unwilling to cart the chair down the path again? Had she jumped in for a swim and was out too far for me to see? Could someone just be so absentminded that he neglected to remember he had brought the chair? 

At the base of my tree branch, someone, perhaps the mysterious chair owner, had also gathered a collection of stones that resembled the fungus blooming on the decaying wood. The stones didn't look as though they had come from the nearby shore and they were too clean to have been freshly dug up. Again, I wondered if they were intentionally left as a marker of some kind.

Laying down on the log, I listened to the sounds of overhead planes, dogs barking in the distance (they aren't allowed on the property), geese descending on the opposite shore, the even rhythm of a swimmer crossing the pond, wind rustling leaves, and water dancing up to the rocks. 

I must scurry off to meet Nicole and try out a few ideas before our showing tonight for the festival producers but this is hopefully the start of a series that will demonstrate a bit more how my choreographic ideas take shape. Keep tuning in to see how these threads get woven into the final product.

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