Monday, September 28, 2009

Bates Dance Festival: A Student Perspective

Emory dance student Kaitlyn Pados attended the Bates Dance Festival this summer. This is Kaitlyn's reflection on her experience there.

This summer I attended Bates Dance Festival at Bates College in Maine with the help of the Sally A. Radell Friends of Dance Scholarship. The three week experience involved four daily classes for me: Modern V with Michael Foley, Jazz IV with Cathy Young, Modern Repertory with Bebe Miller, and Yoga with Ashley Crawford. It was an amazing experience by itself, but in was even better sharing the hard work and exhaustion with fellow Emory dancers Alyssa Bruehlman and Kirsten Cooper, in addition to having Greg Catellier there as a supportive faculty member.

I have done other summer dance programs in the past, but this festival in particular challenged me on a daily basis, and pushed me out of my comfort zone which I really appreciate as an aspiring dancer/performer. The festival culminated in a finale performance in which we performed Bebe Miller's repertory work.

Crammed into those three busy weeks were challenges, exhaustion, and quite frankly, severe soreness. But the exposure to new movement and the personal growth I underwent as a dancer and performer made it an experience I will forever remember and appreciate.

Friday, September 25, 2009 so much nearer home

Faculty member Anna Leo's concert so much nearer home starts tonight, Friday, September 25, at 8:00 p.m. Other performances are Saturday, September 26 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, September 27 at 3:00 p.m. For tickets ($5), call 404-727-5050.

For an interview with Anna Leo and more information about her inspiration for this concert, please click here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Writing the Poem "Voice"

Please join us for the upcoming concert " so much nearer home," featuring choreography by faculty member and Dance Program Director, Anna Leo. The concert has three performances from September 25-27. Please see our website and click on the Events link for more details. One of the unique features of this concert is that each dance will be introduced by a poem. The post below is written by Lynn Thompson, who composed one of these poems.

Writing the Poem “Voice”
by Lynne Thompson

When Anna Leo invited me to compose a poem for a solo dance entitled Warrior Woman Pantoum, I assumed the Malayan form (originally, pantun) would provide the structure for the poem. When I received the DVD of a rehearsal of the piece, however, it struck me that Anna’s choreography and Steve Everett’s feral musical score had fractured the regularized expectations that are a necessary aspect of that form. Traditionally, the pantoum is comprised of repeated, rhyming lines that create an echo in the listener’s ear; a feeling of taking four steps forward, then two back. However, Anna’s Warrior Woman earns her status by eschewing this expectation; by exploring the previously-unexplored so as to discover and establish her own way in the world. Thus, in writing "Voice," I wanted to develop a pattern by repeating the active verb say while marrying that repetition to the dancer’s unpredictable curiosity and insistence on becoming.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Summer at the Bates Dance Festival

For the faculty and students in the dance program at Emory, summer break is a chance to delve deeply into art making, dance training and to reconnect with the larger dance community. For students this often happens at summer dance festivals where they take class daily and attended dance performances. However, this summer I was lucky enough to be the lighting supervisor at the Bates Dance Festival, (BDF) in Lewiston Maine. There were five fully produced performances from established and emerging choreographers. The production manager and I worked with four interns to ensure successful performances.

I found the reward of attending a summer dance festival was the opportunity to engage with individuals who, like me, are committed to dance as an art form. At the BDF teachers, students, performers and staff come to together three times a day to refuel and exchange at the college’s commons. This creates a palpable sense of community.

At each meal I would look for the Emory students (Kirsten, Kaitlyn and Ali) attending the BDF—sometimes to say hi, and other times to discuss how classes were going. I take such pride in the fact Emory dancers are out there representing our field and bringing it the respect it deserves.

Gregory Catellier
Senior Lecturer

Image: Emory Dance Students at the Bates Dance Festival

Friday, September 11, 2009

Reflection on Dance at the Arts Soiree

Last night was the second annual Arts Soiree. In the dance studio, we started off with inventive, intentional, dynamic phrases created by the Choreography I class (solo compositions). The opportunity to collaborate in the moment, with a Balinese sound score and their classmates, moved each choreographer/performer's phrase into a fully realized physical state. Later in the program, an audience member chose Mohammad Zaidi and Sandra Chan's phrase as a duet experiment in the space. The new selection of music pushed them more intensely through their material, while sensing the new musical landscape. The audience got to experience dynamic contrasts.

Lilli Ransijn, an Emory dance alumna and President of Emory Friends of Dance Board, took our next group of visitors into the dance student lounge for a special viewing of dance faculty member Gregory Catellier's "Disrepair" and Sally Radell's "Car Talk" and "Double Exposure." Both works are designed and created for the camera.

The last sessions in the dance studio had wonderfully inquisitive audiences who asked, "Is there a way to record dances?" "Could you do the dance again?" and "What does it mean when the dancers all fall to the floor?" Blake Beckham, Jade Poole, George Staib and Lori Teague performed exerpts from Dance Program Director Anna Leo's quartet, "Good Graces." This is one of four works in her concert much nearer home, which will premiere September 25-27 in the Schwartz Dance Studio. The evening of dances are all inspired by Leo's family. Teague shared descriptions of Leo's choregraphic process as well as the inspiration for this work, Leo's daughter Vita. "Good Graces" also moves through ideas taken from Fran Castan's poem, "First Month's Blessing." The cast creates a community who embraces, restores, shields, adapts and connects in a metaphoric space of circles, squares and diagonals.

-Lori Teague, Associate Professor
Emory Dance Program

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Creativity and Arts Soiree

Please join us for the second annual Creativity and Arts Soiree on Thursday, September 10 from 4:00-9:00 p.m. at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, 1700 North Decatur Road. You can see live dance in the dance studio (see below), hear music by Emory ensembles, and preview theater, film, literary, and visual arts events.

In the dance studio, Emory dancers will improvise movement ideas and share material from their recent summer study at Bates Dance Festival and the American Dance Festival. In addition, Emory alumna Blake Beckham, faculty members George Staib and Lori Teague, and Jade Poole will perform excerpts from Anna Leo's “Good Graces,” which will close the program in Leo's upcoming concert …me so much nearer home. The open rehearsal format will allow audience members to ask questions and gain some insight into Leo's choreographic process. Outside the studio, guests will be able to view dance video work by Greg Catellier and Sally Radell (collaborating with Bill Brown of Visual Arts).

We hope to see you there!