January Birthdays

Happy Birthday January Birthdays!

Jonathan Lee, Sabrina Schwartz, Kelsey Griffith, Heather Pagella Gant, Andy Jacobs, Eve Agush, Archibald Edwards, Sarah Style, Taye Diggs, Frank Sinatra, Etta James, Maria Tallchief, Gwen Verdon, Alvin Ailey , Anna Pavlovna Pavlova, Clayton Raithel, Debbie Allen, George Balanchine, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, José Limón, Kristin Sudeikis, Leonard Reed, Lester Horton, Lynn Schwab, Megan Bartula, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Penelope Wendtlandt, Risher Reddick, Shannon Sullivan, Shelley Neill, and Samantha Mullen.

Getting to Know Kayla Feist

This fall we presented Project 7.19 under the direction of Nikki Sao Pedro-Welch. She partnered with costume designer Kayla Feist. Here are Kayla's thoughts on why she wanted to work on this project and how she developed her designs. - Nicole

by Kayla Feist

I am working with Nikki on this project because of my personal interest in the witch trails, spirituality, and feminism. I consider myself a pagan; therefore the stereotypical assumptions associated with witches directly affect me. I practice the Wiccan tradition, blended with some shamanic traditions to form my own spiritual practice that feels scared and whole. While teaching myself about the traditions of pagan spiritualities and developing my own practice, part of my research during my first semester at Goddard College was looking into the witch trials. The sheer number of women accused, and the torture they were put through is a prime example of sexism and white male domination in the country. Though we do not currently hang and burn witches today, this domination still exists and the sensitivity remains.

During our first meeting I measured the dancers wrists and necks, not their waists. It was important for me to create costumes that not only conveyed the symbolism of restraint within the piece, but to name that female body image had and still has a direct reflect on de-humanizing and victimizing of abuse against women. I hope that when the dancers put on the costume pieces and perform with them that they will convey the message of struggle that women went through during the times of the witch trails, as well as the struggle that women still face today being dominated by men, the government, and pressures of the media.


Meet Isabella Carmenate!

by Emma Foley

You met Isabella during the Fleur d'Orange Residency as our Photographic Intern.  Now here is an interview she did with fellow Monkeyhouse Intern Emma Foley!

Isabella Carmenate is a 15-year-old sophomore in high school and a new Monkeyhouse intern! I also attend school with her--and any one of our peers could tell you just how much Isabella's creativity shines through on a daily basis. I recently had the opportunity to ask her some questions about her experiences in art, theater, and dance. 

EF: I understand that out of your variety of creative endeavors, theater might be the most recent; you just picked it up a few years ago (although everyone at Natick High Drama is very glad you did!) Why did you decide to start doing drama, and have you learned anything unexpected from it?
IC: I started doing drama because in eighth grade my chorus teacher heard me playing piano and singing after school. He pretty much got all my friends to force me into it and I did my first show that year. I expected to be under impressed with the whole thing to be honest. But I learned that it’s not really just about the acting and singing it’s more about the people you meet and the experiences you take from it.

EF: Out of the shows you’ve done, which has been your favorite? 
IC: The first show I did was Once on This Island and it was probably my favorite. I played the old mother and was extremely awkward on stage. I said my lines with probably no expression and sang super quietly. I laugh at this now because I don’t understand why I got a part. But I met some of my friends that I’ve gotten really close with there and it really got me into drama.

EF: I know you’ve been taking art classes outside of school for a long time, and subsequently become very good at it! When did you first know you loved art? 
IC: The question more is when didn’t I know that I liked art? Seriously, I’ve been drawing since I was super little. I started by when I first moved here by taking these weird classes where we would basically copy what the teacher had done a demo of at the front of the classroom. This was super boring to me so I looked for something else and found the current classes that I go to when I was in the third grade. I still remember the first real drawing I did of a bird with a really awful sun colored in the background. I’ve always loved art and taking art classes but it wasn’t until I wasn’t until I started trying other styles and really getting into experimenting with mediums and styles that I realized how much I really love art.

EF: Do you have a favorite type of art, and why is it your favorite? 
IC: I’ve been practicing realism since I was in the third grade. I like that the best because I think personally it was a really good foundation for other kinds of art. I’m always trying different kinds of art to try out but I always find that I need the basic skills of shape and form and value to keep me going. Even when I’m making simple, goofy cartoons I need an understanding of proportions and line.

EF: Why do you like dance?
IC: I like dance because I’m a big believer in the importance of creative outlets. For me, dance is a really good not only creative but emotional and physical outlet. I like that I can ‘get out’ whatever I need to during dance.


National Choreography Month - Day #1

by Nicole Harris

Welcome to National Choreography Month!  To celebrate off this exciting month we will be posting choreography exercise prompts and videos from Aisha (and some other surprise guests!) throughout the month.  We hope you'll be able to see where some of the ideas come from and how different people interpret the same exercise.  

To get us started we turned to a book that we visit OFTEN in rehearsals, when teaching or just when we're feeling stuck.  Karen was lucky enough to study with Lynne Anne Blom during her time at Northwestern.  Lynn's book "The Intimate Act of Choreography" has become a staple for choreography classes and choreographers around the world.  If you don't already have a copy, what are you waiting for?!  It's available through Amazon.  Today's exercise comes from chapter three: Speaking Body

Here is a short excerpt from Lynne leading you through an improvisation she calls Body Discovery:
"Take a look at your hand.  Suppose you'd never seen one before.  Notice the slight hollow on the inside, the lines around the bumps.  I wonder what it can do.  Can it walk?  fly?  jamble?  Come on, hand, try to ripple, spurt, stiffen, quiver, clench, scratch, hang, pulsate, drum, point.  Maybe you should give each part of it a chance to move by itself and show off a bit.  It likes that.  It's getting all excited!  It's hopping all over the place.  Hey, it's running away.  Let it go; go on, get rid of it.  Throw it away.  I mean, really throw it away.  You have lots of other parts.  [Apply this same process to the face, spine, feet, hips, head, etc. One by one, throw those parts away once you've explored them.]"

Interested in participating in National Choreography Month?  GREAT!  We'd love to have you!  Just send your video of today's exercise to Nicole at MonkeyhouseLovesNicole {at} gmail {dot} com or post them straight to Monkeyhouse's Facebook.  (Please note that we will not be able to post videos with content we don't have rights to.  That includes music!  So while you can use Beyonce as your inspiration, you can't actually have her playing in the background.  Thanks!)  Keep an eye out for new exercises and videos on Facebook all month!


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