a rather lovely thing

Across the morning sky, all the birds are leaving
How can they know that it’s time to go
Before the winter fire, I will still be dreaming
I do not count the time. 

Nina Simone’s voice glides amidst the palpable silence in the Doris Duke Theatre, as Bryan Arias gestures a series of intentional sentences of movement. We are left, after an hour of open-ended phrases and fragments of movement memory, in an intimate moment with only the choreographer, these lyrics ringing amidst each movement. Dimly-lit, we see a small kite in the upstage left corner, fluttering in subtle fan-induced breeze, dancing through the five minute ballad as its own entity. As if it were a representation of this man’s life, a fleeting sense of youth, of hope, of joy, color among the stark black and white we’d seen. Simple enough to satisfy the most immature of viewers, and complex enough to bring me to tears.

Who knows where time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?

National Dance Day

Created by Nigel Lithgoe of the Dizzy Feet Foundation/So You Think You Can Dance, the day is meant to get people of all ages up and moving. A small selection of interns took this opportunity to create a video message using the “National Dance Day Routine,” which resulted in our dancing on the Inside/Out stage for the very first time. It’s just as incredible as it looks, even if you’re just cheesy dancing.

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Some of a Thousand Words

Wendy Whelan and Brian Brooks, accompanied by Brooklyn Rider, a string quartet of seasoned music professionals. I was struck by the Philip Glass scores that filled the space with soothing melody. While complicated composition seemed to be lacking, the ease with which the couple moved in and out of the floor, lowering themselves like boards onto the marley, made me think about how simplicity could perhaps be the best jumping off point as a choreographer, as a mover.

A Rather Lovely Thing

Easily one of the most striking pieces of art I have ever had the privilege to witness. ARIAS Company is one to watch. A simple clothes line, a window, a clean and angular chair-turned-step stool accented the sections of this full length piece, often putting us in a familiar, inexplicable place with the dancers as guides. Three men and one women each explored and discovered what felt like a disjointed narrative, tastes and fragments of memory investigated in their purest state. Breathtaking movers and performers, each person was able to pluck some sort of piece of themselves just enough that in return, I could relate. I inherently understood on a subconscious level, as if they were walking me through my own, personal thoughts and experiences. Images of the dancers wearing masks, embodying the physicality of a stern older man, and a happy, gleeful fellow. Time, race, age, and relationships were all evident pieces of the puzzle, but were never explicitly investigated. It was the subtle care with which Bryan covered the topics that made this piece so…lovely.

Sad, deserted shore, your fickle friends are leaving
Oh, but then you know that it’s time for them to go
But I will still be here, I have no thought of leaving
I do not count the time

Who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?

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New York Theater Ballet

My experience with this performance on Wednesday was particularly compelling, as I was able to view the first half of the performance alongside a videography intern. In filming and archiving performances each week, one person is responsible for live mixing the feeds, creating a recording of both wide and close-up shots to have in the archives for years to come. I noticed that within this practice, creativity takes shape in the form of composition of film. Mixing between feeds would often occur during a music change, or as dancers spun, giving that video feed a more fluid transition. Captivated with this practice, viewing the performance took a backseat.

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Compagnie Herve Koubi

Seventeen men from Algeria, France, and Burkina Faso come together build an impressive, acrobatic world on the Ted Shawn Theatre stage this week. Blown away by their apparent strength and agility through highly skilled gymnastic movement, I was even more taken aback by their grace, poise, and ability to execute minute and soft movement amidst the charged choreography. What’s more is the significance of an all-male company appearing here in this place, the birthplace of Ted Shawn’s Men Dancers. Spiritual, almost angelic images were created, as well as impressive street dance style. Can it get any better than this? Without much hesitation, I can say this is easily one of the most unique movement styles I have ever seen presented.

Inside/Out

  1. Dances for Two – A mixed bill evening with work by Donnell Oakley, Schoen Movement, and Manuel Vignoulle – M/Motions. Holy freaking cow. Each piece was a unique outlet into contemporary forms in NYC – from downtown style to contemporary technical to straight up from-the-soul virtuousic dancing, I was empowered by the way these poeple moved, and approached movement with a thoughtful curiousity.
  2. Dark Circles Contemporary Dance – my second emcee experience! This company from Dallas, TX has roots in Seoul, South Korea, now presenting work uniquely theatrical in nature.
  3. Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble – thirty or so dancers from Philly came together for a traditional folkloric experience. We were able to understand the uniqueness of this particular country’s traditional style, and appreciate its role and importance in our contemporary world.
  4. Francine E. Ott/The Walk – Also from NYC, Francine was a faculty member of the Cultural Traditions program at The School here last summer. She is close friends with Camille A. Brown, and I could see the influence of that gestural, full bodied tradition in her company.
  5. Kate Wallich + The YC – from Seattle, WA, this company was so West Coast, so gaga-meets-street-meets-hiphop under the umbrella of contemporary. I appreciated their distinct voice and language as movement artists, and their cerebral approach to content. Definitely a choreographer and company to watch…
  6. Preeti Vasudevan & Thresh Performing Arts Collaborative – a traditional Indian company with live singers and musician. What struck me most about this group was their costume – an airy, gorgeous mixture of natural colors, all fluttering in the breeze of the cool evening in the Berkshires.

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& More

  • Pillow Prom – planned by myself and my fellow interns in the company management realm, we created a dance party in the theme of “speakeasy,” at which all Pillow People were encouraged to vote for their king and queen.
  • Pillow Talk: What Rehearsal Directors Do – Rise Steinberg, rehearsal director for Brian Brooks, spoke about life as a faculty member at Juilliard, and as Brian Brooks’ mentor.
  • Pillow Talk: From Stage to Screen – with Patricia Birch, choreographer for many beloved on-sceeen movies, tv shows, and scenes (Grease, Tom Hanks’ piano playing scene from “Big,” SNL Frank Sinatra skit with Steve Martin, and more). after starting her career as a dancer for Martha Graham, she moved on to become an incredible name in Broadway choreography (You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Grease, A Little Night Music)… is also a freakin’ hoot.

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Tanglewood for the annual Gala! John Williams conducted (*cue Star Wars Theme*)
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Most epic picnic people
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Birthday girl and some pizza!
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The Pillow pup making a bed among dirty clothes…
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Finished in less than 24 hours..
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A weekly cast party well underway
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Intern Bi-Weekly Meetings on the Sommerspace porch
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Scenes from Ted Shawn Theatre Wardrobe Room

So, there you have it. Seven weeks down, three to go.

But I am not alone as long as my love is near me
And I know it will be so until it’s time to go
After the winter until the birds again return in spring
And I do not fear time

Who knows where time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?

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