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but are now faded, overlooked, withdrawn.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.

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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!

Sally Bomer offers a poetic glimpse of “Quotidian”

Each showing of Quotidian is an accumulation of gestures and imagined spaces, one from each of 30 days leading up to and including the day of performance, with additional inspiration from the particulars of venue and viewers, so the  process of creating the piece leads literally to the moment of performance.

still image from Bomer's "Quotidian"

Quotidian is presented as part of Cultivate, a day long celebration of contemporary dance, Saturday, August 14th, at the White Mountain School in Bethlehem, NH.  Performance at 7pm.

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!

Pamela Vail Surfs the Synapses!

Pamela Vail, photos by Ben Carlson

Not to be missed! Saturday, August 14 at 7pm at the White Mountain School in Bethlehem, NH: Pamela Vail will perform her solo Surfing the Synapses at Cultivate….

Surfing the Synapses reveals a creative process, which relentlessly leaps from one impulse to the next. Through quirky, idiosyncratic movement and sporadic vocalization, disparate trains of thought are channeled and embodied, accompanied by incongruent sounds and never-fully-realized melodies. With humor and sensitivity, honesty and full-force physicality, the process of creation is exposed, turns in on itself and simultaneously becomes the final product. Ultimately, a delightfully simple discovery is made; one woman’s plight for continuity communicates a universal human experience.

Pamela Vail (Lancaster, PA) is a choreographer, performer, improviser, and teacher. She is a co-founding member of the Architects, a performance improvisation ensemble, with whom Vail teaches, creates, and performs—both choreographed and improvised work—nationally and internationally. Vail is also a founding member of critically acclaimed New York City-based Yanira Castro + Company (now a canary torsi), with whom she has performed, toured and taught extensively since 1995. Vail has had the pleasure of working with choreographers Terry Creach, Heidi Henderson, and Peter Schmitz, among others. She teaches master classes and performs her own choreography nationally and internationally, and is currently Assistant Professor of Dance at Franklin & Marshall College. Vail holds a B.A. from Middlebury College and an M.F.A. in dance from Smith College, and has been dancing since she was six years old.