Friday, October 30, 2009

Dance Truck at Le Flash Festival

Images above (l to r): Allie Bruehlman, Kaitlyn Pados, Sophie Slesinger performing in the Dance Truck during the Le Flash Festival.

This post was written by senior dance major Allie Bruehlman about a recent choreographic project.

On the evening of October 1, Atlanta's Castleberry Hill neighborhood was host to the second annual Le Flash Festival. I had the opportunity to choreograph for the festival's Dance Truck project, the brainchild of lighting designer Malina Rodriguez. Malina's idea was to bring dance into a public, urban environment by renting a twenty-six-foot Ryder box truck and presenting different choreographers' work made specifically for that space. Sophie Slesinger (class of '09), Kaitlyn Pados (senior dance major), and I performed in a piece I entitled "Primary Cares." The piece dealt with the implications of moving within the truck's spatial confines. We investigated how the space affected not only our individual movement but also our physical and emotional interactions and how such close spatial boundaries are analogous to our personal boundaries as well. Though in many ways I wish I could revisit and improve upon the material I presented, I am still very happy to have been a part of the proejct. The performance experience was unlike any other I have had before, and I am truly grateful to have participated in such a unique event.

Photos by Lori Teague

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Art and Science: Evolution or Inspiration?

This post was written by Emory Vice President Rosemary Magee, who moderated "Where Dance and Science Meet: A Creativity Conversation," which was held on October 15, 2009. For more information about Emory's Creativity Conversations, please click here.

Art and Science: Evolution or Inspiration? What is the role of the imagination in our work as scholars and researchers as well as artists? How can the University help to develop the imagination for individuals as well as the community?

These are some of the questions pursued in the discussion with New York-based choreographer David Neumann, Emory Chemistry Department Chair David Lynn, and myself.

What struck me were the commonalities in the process of discovery. These shared approaches included the importance of special tools, the centrality of collaboration, and the focus on process. What pleased me was how engaged the audience became--especially students who are double-majoring in art and science disciplines--in helping us think about the tensions as well as the commonalities.

If evolution is one of the dominant paradigms of our time, then both science and art are essential for discovering its meaning and implications. This conversation was an exploration of these ideas.
Photos by Lori Teague.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Q&A with Dance Alumna Ellen Lyle

Recent Emory dance alumna Ellen Lyle is preparing to present a new site-specific piece at a labyrinth Emory Presbyterian Church (see below for more information about the performance). We asked her a few questions about her experience at Emory, her current work, and future plans.

What have you been doing since graduating in May?
This summer I studied at the American Dance Festival, thanks to the Emory Friends of Dance. I took three classes most days in modern technique and composition (with Jesse Zaritt) and hiphop (with LaShawn Jones and HeJin Jang) as well as anusara yoga a few days a week. I also had the opportunity to create and present the beginnings of a new work in the ADF Student Concert and receive feedback from students and working professionals.

Currently I am in Atlanta working independently as a choreographer. I am collaborating with a number of Emory students and alumni as a part of a new arts collective, ellen lyle / open collision dance, which will be presenting work for the first time this weekend.

I am also working at the Atlanta Ballet and the Woodruff Arts Center and teaching ballet and young children's classes.

What are your future plans in dance?
I plan to continue creating new work; that I know for sure. Beyond that, I am letting things take me where they will. I am still figuring out what role I want dance to play in my life, but I will likely continue to choreograph and perform as long as I am able.

How did your education at Emory help prepare you for a career in dance?
My education at Emory gave me room to explore the field of dance both independently and under the guidance of its supportive faculty. The Dance Program helped me to think creatively and openly about the purpose of dance, as art, service, commentary or whatever its role may be. My education as a whole at Emory strengthened my critical mind and broadened my knowledge and awareness in a number of fields that play a vital role in the work I create.

How did you get the idea for a site specific dance at a labyrinth? Would you like to share anything else about the development of this piece?
I began attending Emory Presbyterian, where the labyrinth with which we are working is located, my freshman year at Emory. Over the past few years I've seen and visited a number of different prayer labyrinths, and I've been intrigued by their use and how people view them. Many people think of a labyrinth as being a maze—with dead ends and many different paths—something that is confusing. A prayer labyrinth, however, has only one path. There are no tricks to finding your way through. You begin at the outside, and work your way to the center, as a means of centering, meditating, or connecting with God. The path is a journey, spiritual or otherwise.

From an aesthetic point of view, the labyrinth is a very interesting space to work with—offering a circular foundation, with designs laid out in its path and with a central focus. The stones offer a unique, grounding texture. For me, working and performing in this space is a means of looking at what it means to be on a journey, to walk through life and accumulate new experiences, create memories, and leave marks along the way. To alter the journey for the future. The movement of these dancers in unison or in harmony in this space create for me a sense of travelling, sustaining community.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

David Neumann Events this week!

Please join us this week for two events featuring choreographer David Neumann. First up, a creativity conversation with Emory Chemistry Department Chair David Lynn. Then, the following two nights, performances by Neumann's company advanced beginner group.

Full details are on our website: (click on "Events").

October 15, 2009, 4:00 p.m.
Emory Friends of Dance Lecture Series: Where Dance and Science Meet: A Creativity Conversation

Dance Studio, Schwartz Center for Performing Arts
No admission charge

October 16, 2009, 8:00 p.m. and October 17, 2009, 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
advanced beginner group
Dance Studio, Schwartz Center for Performing Arts
$15 public; $10 discount groups; $5 students (box office 404-727-5050)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Study Abroad in Italy

This post was written by current senior and dance major Allie Bruehlman.

This past spring I studied at the Accademia dell'Arte in Arezzo, Italy. The program is housed in a beautiful sixteenth-century villa amdist olive groves and wineries on the outskirts of the city. For four months I was lucky enough to eat, sleep, breathe, dance, and learn with thirty-six other students in this picturesque Tuscan locale. The Accademia's dance curriculum focused on teaching Western technical forms such as ballet and modern alongside the rich movement traditions of Italian tarantella. These classes in tarantella were especially enlightening and enjoyable because they unveiled parts of the Italian identity that I would never have seen through mere tourism. As the semester wore on, as I travelled more, as I learned to truly speak the language, I grew to love Italy not only for its food and its history but also for its culture and its people. I am so happy to have had the opportunity to travel with my love of dance into a new setting and to see the power that movement can have both on and off stage, both at home and abroad.