Surreptitious Preparations for an Impossible Total Act (2016-17)
Eight 'elder-inclusive' long-time improvisers navigate oxymoronic scores.
Commissioned by Roulette & supported by a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant & 105 crowd-funded donors via Hatchfund.
Selected by Lincoln Center Library & Museum of Performing Arts Dance Division as video production for documentation & archiving.
Shown in process at Sundays on Broadway, Manhattan, Oct 30, 2016. Will be performed at Roulette, Brooklyn, April 18 & 19, 2017.
This project began in 2014 when I was unable to raise funds for a complex movement-theater work. After feeling stuck for awhile, I invited a few beloved colleagues to do what we love & would do anyway, without having to raise a pile of money. In a manner befitting our nomadic, frugal choreographer lifestyles, we met in studios around the world wherever we intersected. I was adamant about one thing: working with artists I love with whom I share deep connections.
What's evolved is a performance project, directed by me, with a group of eight dream-collaborators – stellar improvisers all, representing a diversity of ages & nationalities:
Debra Wanner, Wendy Perron, Eva Karczag (Netherlands/NYC), Sally Dean (based in London), Paige Barnes (based in Seattle), Stephanie Skura, Juliette Mapp & Shelley Hirsch (vocalist/composer). Five women in their 60’s, three in their forties. Immersed, empowered, individualistic performing is our priority. There is splendor in older performers who continue to be at it and able -- their dancing infused with nuance & inner life.
Why surreptitious? We began with no funding or institutional support, worked privately in small studios around the world, & sometimes via skype in our homes. During 2016 the entire group met in New York City & evolved durable structures.
Our improvisations are informed by specific scores & structures. Frequently oxymoronic, the scores elicit a multi-faceted movement & vocal language, fluid in narrative & emotional content. “Energetic/perfunctory”, “both wild & deliberate”, “both tentative & clear”, “flung versus placed”, “1000 curves/1000 lines”, “instability of levels”, “quiet observance”, "shattered mirror", “re-situate/deconstruct”: such are the terrains through which we navigate.
A process rather than project, each performance is different. Though structures and personnel may change, underlying values remain: diversity, individual autonomy, respectful collaboration, valuing the subconscious, deep connections amidst differences. Though our process began in what now feels like a former era, it evolved as an early response to what I’ve long perceived as a fascistic element in traditional dance methodology, so I call what we’re doing ‘anti-fascistic dance’.
"Wonderful -- focused, deeply embodied, beautiful structures, compelling to watch the whole way through." Audience member at process showing
"Lattice-work of individual to collective interface." Performer comment about the showing, afterwards