Taps Into Timely Themes of Survival and Resilience
Somerville, MA - September, 2015 -
As the Presidential debates ponder immigration reform and Europe grapples with unprecedented levels of refugees, it seems that the whole world it wrestling with the questions about being misplaced and displaced. Monkeyhouse, an award winning local nonprofit that connects communities with choreography, had no idea how timely these topics would be when they decided to dedicate their 15 anniversary season to this theme. Their eclectic band of choreographers have roamed the edges of the dance landscape seeking out uncharted connections to other art forms in preparation for Monkeyhouse's concerts on October 23 &24 @ 8PM at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center, 41 Second St, Cambridge, MA. Tickets are $25/ $20 for students, seniors and Boston Dance Alliance members. More information can be found at MulticulturalArtsCenter.org.
What do you learn when you lose your home? Where do you belong? How do you survive and how do you muster the strength to keep going?
"When I first proposed these topics for Monkeyhouse's 15th season, they arose from a very personal set of challenges. I had just lost my mother, father, and older brother in a car accident. My husband and I were living on friends' couches and in hotel rooms for months as we grieved and as we waited for our mortgage on a new home to be finalized. And then, Monkeyhouse learned that our artistic home, Springstep in Medford, was being sold." explains Artistic Director, Karen Krolak. "Honestly, these were the questions I was asking myself every morning and I had no sense of how relevant they would become." Krolak continued.
Although the theme, Misplaced/Displaced evolved out of personal tragedy, Monkeyhouse knew that it was meaningful to many within the local dance community. Even without so many extraordinary challenges, surviving as a dance organization in Boston is not easy. In fact the majority of the companies that began in the early 2000's with Monkeyhouse have now shuttered their doors, including Snappy Dance, whose yearly budget was more than five times larger than Monkeyhouse's. As the company examines how to survive setbacks this season through pieces that play with pottery, palindromes and history, they hope to help audience members, dance organizations and emerging artists to navigate through life's inevitable hurdles.
For example, Merli Guerra, Co-Founder of Luminarium Dance, describes how Monkeyhouse supports the greater Boston's dance ecosystem:
"The relationship between Luminarium and Monkeyhouse technically began through our company's debut of 24-Hour ChoreoFest back in 2012, but I would counter that it really kicked off when Kim Holman, Karen Krolak, Jason Ries, and myself sat down at Thelonious Monkfish after the fact to debrief. The exchange was extraordinary. Here was a company a full decade more established than our own, taking the time to sit with us, and not only offer to help us as we forged our path as a company, but spoke to us right from the beginning as peers. This meeting will forever be alive in my memory bank-the lunch hour came and went and there we stayed, swapping hilarious adventures in pursuit of the arts, and tackling big ideas for the seasons to come.
Fast forward one year later, a young new dancer sat eagerly across the table from us having just graduated from college and participated in our second ChoreoFest. As he asked us questions for how to get his spunky new group (yes, this would be Tyler Catanella of Paradise Lost) off the ground and running, I couldn't help but make a comparison to the year before. Here we were, doing for Tyler what Monkeyhouse had done for us.
That is the impact of Monkeyhouse on the community. All of its members find a way to help new and aspiring artists with guidance, honesty, support, and a little humor. And before we knew it, we'd become the ones paying it forward for the next generation coming through. Thank you, Monkeyhouse, for treating us as your peers from day one, and for forever inspiring the young artists around you to jump up and get moving."
Monkeyhouse began with a promise to build a laboratory where choreographers could create, experiment and present new work. Our mission has developed to include motivating people to move with meaning and improving communication by connecting communities with choreography. Over the years we have mentored, nurtured and supported dozens of choreographers ranging from students first experimenting to established favorites. We've had hundreds of conversations about different choreographic processes that stimulate or inspire new directions for our work and helped foster long term relationships with presenters, audience members and other choreographers.