Performance as Transformation: Amanda Hamp makes space for possibilities to emerge

In the first decades of the 20th century, the pioneers of modern dance rejected the long-standing convention of dance-making, in which a male ballet master choreographed onto a female ballerina.  Isadora Duncan,  Mary Wigman, and Martha Graham are three notable detractors who blazed the trail, and in each of these pioneer’s oeuvres are solos that the artist herself choreographed and performed.  Their sources were varied, but the artists pursued a common goal: to express personal experiences and perspectives in order to communicate with an audience something larger than themselves.

About a century later,  Iowa-based Amanda Hamp humbly sets out to do this five times, in her evening length work Loss, the Great Escape and Other Memories.  Comprised of five separate solos,  Hamp originally choreographed the work to be performed by five different dancers. Now she challenges herself to perform them all.  She writes:

“I’ve been feeling and thinking of performance differently this past year.  More and more, it’s about the exchange between the performer/performance and the audience.  Or, between the people in the room and the universe.  It’s less about the choreography or the dancing, and more about what flows back and forth through those mediums.  It’s about what experiences, meanings, associations, inspirations, reminders and possibilities flow between audience and performer through the vehicle of performance.  

I work to soften myself so that something larger than myself can happen.

Hamp will perform 2 of the solos, “The Rest of Alice” and “Dwelling” at Cultivate, and will also facilitate a session of work that serves as the foundation of her physical and creative practice: Open Source Forms, or OSF.

OSF is an expansion of its predecessor, Skinner Releasing Technique, and has been developed by Stephanie Skura based on her years as a teacher, improviser, choreographer, performer and SRT core faculty member. In this session, Hamp will guide movement studies, imagery-based experiences, and brief partner exchanges for conveying kinesthetic information. Wherever the participant is in their own process, OSF facilitates softening and letting go of tensions, holdings and habitual patterns so that other possibilities can emerge.

class:    Open Source Forms
time:     Friday, 2-4pm
place:    Great Hall, WMS
cost:      $25 (or, included in any Fest Pass)
for:        Anyone, regardless of prior experience, wanting to let go of unnecessary     movement tensions, habits and patterns.
more:   visit Cultivate on Eventbrite to reserve your spot!

Katherine Keifer Stark explores expectations

Ten years ago, Philadelphia-based choreographer Katherine Kiefer Stark found herself sitting on an airplane sandwiched between two bulky men.  Elbows tucked tightly into her sides, knees pressed together to maintain some personal space from the men on either side who comfortably occupied the shared armrests, legs wide, loudly talking to each other and occasionally questioning her as she read.

Today, Katherine continues to be fascinated with the real and imagined boundaries of gender, which led to the creation of her ever-evolving solo Rounds.  A structured improvisation exploring how gender boundaries and expectations are constructed and the role Katherine plays in that construction, Rounds will be presented as part of Cultivate 2011

Katherine will also be teaching as part of the festival.  Her class, Initiation and Follow Through blends Kline Technique, Safety Release Technique, and release technique, and is an energetic exploration of movement from the inside out.  Emphasis is placed on the initiation of the movement and the path the various body parts take in space to discover how one’s own body moves within the movement.  Space is embraced through phrases that move in and out of the floor and carry the movers in and out of balance. Class begins quietly and gradually builds in complexity, culminating in a dynamic phrase.  Sleeves and kneepads or long pants are recommended.

class:    Initiation and Follow Through
time:    Friday, 8/19, 2-4 pm
place:   Great Hall, White Mountain School
cost:     $25 (or, included in Fest Pass)
for:       intermediate to advanced dancers
more:  visit Cultivate on Eventbrite to reserve your spot!

If Buildings Could Speak

Philadelphia based choreographer Tori Lawrence finds inspiration in the architectural and environmental treasures hiding within her city, most recently in Founder’s Hall at Girard College, a Greek revival masterpiece built in the mid 19th century.  The time-worn building is the source of inspiration for her newest site-specific dance installation, Awakened Ruins which she will perform with her company at the Philly Fringe Festival in September.

Lawrence speaks poetically of her fascination with decay:

“Paint chipping from the walls, age-weathered windows, rusted flourishes, lumber fastenings, fallen pillars and painted domes that once were.  Historic relics of the past mystify and inspire me with their raw beauty—providing rich arenas for exploration.  Enthralled by the process of how architecture and sculpted spaces mature/age over time, I attempt to create a world that embodies such a process. If the aged crack in the cold marble floor could come alive, how would it move?  How can I embody the beauty of this decaying landmark? I envision the dancers being the floors, columns, arches and walls themselves.

Each place is like a human being.
Innards exposed,
dignity stripped.
Traces of life remain within these “fallen” buildings.
They once stood in glory,
but are now faded, overlooked, withdrawn.
If buildings could speak…

Lawrence is joined by Emily Herchenroether, Ashley Lippolis, and Pamela Vail  (members of the Lawrence-Herchenroether Dance Company,)  to perform excerpts from the new work on Friday, August 19 as part of Cultivate.

Seeing Dance Like a Photographer

A photography class without cameras?  That’s right.  Arthur Fink is more concerned with teaching  us how to see than how to take a picture. Active looking and seeing, photographing from within; these are at the heart of  his two hour workshop “Seeing Dance Like a Photographer” which he’ll be offering at Cultivate. Participants will contemplate photographs, as well as excerpts from a live performance, and discuss them, practicing seeing in still images, without actually taking any photographs.

The photographer in residence at the Bates Dance Festival for the past seven years, Fink will be photographing much of what happens this year at Cultivate.

“He doesn’t look like a dancer” was how the arts reporter of the Portland Press Herald began a profile article on dance photographer Arthur Fink.  But Fink’s interactions with dancers might truly be considered dances of their own.

Below is a description of the workshop Arthur will facilitate as part of this year’s Cultivate programming. You can see more of Arthur’s work throughout the Cultivate website, and here, on his own site:  ArthurFinkPhoto.Com

Seeing Dance Like a Photographer (Friday, August 19, time and location TBA)
This is about seeing dance  and understanding how it translates into still two dimensional images.  We won’t need or use a camera.  Instead, we’ll look together at several short dance pieces ­ deciding exactly which images might tell the story of that dance, seeing if there is one “iconic” image, etc.  The program would be useful not just for those who want to photograph dance, but also for dancers and choreographers to better understand how their pieces might best be photographed, or for anybody seriously interested in photography.  Its lesson is:  “Look before you photograph”.

Sara Smith and Sarah Baumert explore the unfamiliar

what she saw and how it felt

In her 1940 essay-memoir “Paris, France,” Gertrude Stein wrote “Familiarity does not breed contempt, anything one does every day is important and imposing and anywhere one lives is interesting and beautiful. And that is all as it should be.”

In January 2011, Sarah Baumert went to live and dance in Paris for a period of five months. Sara Smith, who had been for some time obsessed with ideas about perception and automatic response interruption, sent Sarah a series of reading, writing, depicting and movement exercises and experiment instructions aimed at forming a familiar relationship to unfamiliar surroundings. “What she saw and how it felt” is a presentation of some of the processing of Sarah Baumert’s experiences of seeing and doing and of Sara Smith’s understandings and imaginings of those experiences.

Smith and Baumert will present what she saw and how it felt  as part of Cultivate 2011, at the White Mountain School on August 20, 2011.  For more information, and a complete schedule festival, please bookmark this site and check back for a full schedule coming soon!
You can help make Cultivate happen, by supporting our Kickstarter Campaign, and helping us spread the word!

Arthur Fink cultivates deep listening and looking…

photos by Arthur Fink

Exciting news!  Arthur Fink, well known for wearing many hats, among them that of highly intuitive dance photographer, is joining the crew of Cultivate, and will be working with us throughout the weekend.

he says, of his work:

I document the work and energy that goes into dance — not just the final performance. Being in the studio as dances are created, or even as dancers prepare themselves, feels like being in a delivery room as children are being born. Amidst pain or anguish, tempered with rhythm and support, and bolstered with faith, new life emerges. It’s physical, sometimes sensual, often spiritual. Too often this process is ignored, as image makers look only at the final result — the dance.

more ways to connect with Arthur:

Studio / Gallery in Portland, Maine, and also on Peaks Island
www.arthurfinkphoto.com af@arthurfinkphoto.com  207.615.5722

Read his blog: www.InsightAndClarity.com

Click on this link to join his e-mail list (via Constant Contact)
for news about shows, art and spirit and creativity workshops,
creativity coaching, wedding, birth, and other event photography.

Emily Beattie and Eric Gunther expose layers of language

Emily Beattie, in "accidence"

Not to be missed! Saturday, August 14 at 7pm at the White Mountain School in Bethlehem, NH:  Emily Beattie and Eric Gunther perform accidence.  Here, a statement by the artists:

Accidence, by definition,  is the inflectional morphology; the part of grammar concerned with changes in the form of words by internal modification or by affixation, for the expression of tense, person, case, number, etc.

The narrative of the text by Timothy Ryan Olsen gave us the idea of using the text itself as a map. Beneath the story, beneath the meaning of the words and sentence fragments, is a deep grammatical structure. What would happen if we used this structure to choreograph a dance? If we let the text play us instead of trying to control it? These are the questions that we are dealing with in this solo dance experiment.

The interesting part is learning how the audio soundtrack, which is a mix of words and supportive music, plays out in the perception of the audience. The second layer is looking at how the performer is going to perceive the words and then physicalize them to the best of her ability. The projected element provides more information about the narrative of the situation. These all slam together all at once.

Reserve your ticket today by heading over to The Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire!  See you on Saturday the 14th!

Cultivate workshops announced!

Note:  All workshops will meet on Saturday, August 14, 2010
at the White Mountain School, Bethlehem, NH


10:00 – 11:30 | Kids’ Class: Push, Reach and Pull , with Jessica Howard $10

Jessica Howard

Students will build their movement vocabulary and move through space based on the concepts of push, reach and pull.  Jessica will move students in and out of and across the floor with focus on understanding the root an motivation of each motion.  The class will culminate with an in-class performance by the students of a dance phrase developed and manipulated from learned concepts.

This is a special workshop for young movers, ages 8-12.  No previous dance experience is necessary.

12:00 – 2:00 | Compositional Improvisation, with Pamela Vail and Katherine Ferrier  $15 ($25 if taken in combo with 2:30 class!)

Pamela Vail and Katherine Ferrier, photo by K. Krijijnowski

This class is for dancers interested in exploring improvisation both as spontaneous composition and for performance. We will be attending to the construction of compositional elements such as the initiation and generation of movement material, the expansion of individual movement vocabularies, the development of forms and the recognition and support of emerging structures. This class balances in-depth individual exploration with practice in spontaneous ensemble dance-making. The artistic value and integrity of one’s “voice” is sharpened in conversation with the whole and as we notice the aesthetic and poetic effect of our compositional choices. No previous formal dance experience is necessary, but a willingness to take risks is essential!

This workshop will be of particular interest to educators, offering creative strategies for integrating dance/movement into their daily teaching practice in order to help students access their inherent embodied intelligence.

2:30 – 4:30 | Smart Body Technique, with Tiffany Rhynard  $15 ($25 if taken in combo with 12:00 class!)

Tiffany Rhynard, photo by Alan Kimara Dixon

Smart Body Technique is training for the contemporary dancer utilizing weight based and release modalities, improvisation, and experiential anatomy. A series of sequenced exercises challenge dynamic range (from full throttle momentum to intricate gesture) and prepare the body for both athletic physicality and for mastering the artistry of complex phrasing. Smart Body Technique is informed by explorations in release technique, contact improvisation, yoga, and Pilates, as well as choreographic methods and film-making concepts.
This workshop is geared towards dancers with some previous experience, and will be of special interest to dance instructors who teach contemporary technique, as it addresses issues of integrating composition and improvisation into the mechanics of a technique class.