Thursday, November 19, 2009

Emory Dance Company performances start tonight!

The Emory Dance Company's fall concert, "Muscle Memory," featuring choreography by faculty of the Emory Dance Program, starts tonight! All of the concert pieces involve the theme of memory and are performed by Emory students. Ticket proceeds from the Saturday night performance will benefit the Sally A. Radell Friends of Dance Scholarship Fund.

Performances are:
Thursday, Nov. 19, 8:00pm
Friday, Nov. 20, 8:00pm
Sat. Nov. 21, 2:00pm and 8:00pm

For tickets, call the Arts at Emory Box Office at 404-727-5050.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Holland Dance Festival

Professor of Dance Sally Radell had the opportunity to attend the Holland Dance Festival, which took place October 28-November 15 in The Hague, Netherlands. She shares some of her thoughts below.

I just returned from ten days in Holland where I attended several events at the Holland Dance Festival. This festival is the largest biennial dance festival in the Netherlands and included over 60 performances, one hundred workshops, and a dance parade with over 1200 dancers. The focus of this festival was a 50-year celebration of the Netherlands Dance Theater.

Of the several events I attended, by far the most powerful was the opening performance of the Netherlands Dance Theater performance on October 29. It was held in the Lucent Dance Theater, a stunning larger theater that was built and equipped for large dance events. As I approached the theater, I knew I was in for something special, as I viewed several dancers attached with ropes to the top of the building performing outside. They were dramatically illuminated and some were perched on stilt type walking devices that distorted their movement in a very compelling way. Their movements were somewhat agitated, yet smooth, slow and focused. It was mesmerizing.

The program consisted of three new premieres by Jiri Kylian, the English/Spanish duo of Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon, and Swedish born Johan Inger. All three works had interactive sets and some degree of audiovisual effects which were seamlessly woven into the works. The dancers in all the pieces were of course superb technicians and all the choreography was some of the strongest I have seen. (Note: The Netherlands Dance Theater website currently has a video clip of Jyri Kylian's piece playing on the home page.)

Jiri Kylian has been a major artistic force in the Netherlands Dance Theater for years. His work “Memoires D’Oubliettes” was set to an original score by Dirk Haubrich, used impressionistic black and white film projections, and involved a forest- like elastic banded border around the stage. The dancers hurled, slithered and catapulted themselves in and out of this fabric with focused and sinuous energy. What was most striking about this work was the intuitive, kinetic logic that evolved seamlessly in the choreography as the piece transitioned into new sections that flowed with grace and ease. It was easy to get totally involved with this work; in fact, the choreographic intelligence totally drew me in.

The second piece by Lightfoot/Leo, “Studio 2,” was set to a score by Arvo Part. It involved a ramp where dancers seemed to rise while appearing like they were floating and a large mirror that was raised, lowered, and tilted with different relationships to the floor as the dancers moved around it. There were some particularly striking moments where the reflections in the mirror created apparitions of multiple dancers moving at odd angles. It was an in-depth look at the use of the mirror and levels of movement in dance class, but of course it took it all so much farther in abstraction than one could logically imagine.

The last work, “Dissolve in This,” by Inger involved circular lights on the stage that moved throughout the performance and a floor entirely covered in layers of torn up rubber that looked like grey snow. The bounciness and erratic qualities of the floor covering were reflected in the random and quick qualities of the movement gestures as the dancers darted around the stage with full abandon. The piece gradually accumulated throughout with larger and larger groups of dancers performing bigger phrases that covered an increasingly larger amount of space. The choreographically evolved masterfully and captured my total attention and fascination throughout the entirety of the forty minute work.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thoughts on Collaboration

Kendall Simpson, Music Coordinator for the Emory Dance Program, is working with two dance faculty members, Lori Teague, and Sally Radell, to create music for their pieces for the upcoming Emory Dance Company concert, Muscle Memory, November 19-21, 2009. For more information about the concert, please see: Kendall's thoughts on collaboration follow.......

No two collaborations are alike; they are invariably unique. The creative destination may be known to all involved, but the method of travel can be wildly divergent. As a composer for the Emory Dance program, I have journeyed many routes in creating music for dance. Some choreographers work out the complete movement before the music is ever composed while others like to create around a set piece. Some find the middle ground by letting both music and movement set the work.

To keep my head on straight, I embrace it all, allowing the challenges in collaboration to push me as an artist. Care and trust are important, for we artists are on tender ground throughout the process. I am so fortunate to work with such thoughtful individuals as faculty members Greg Catellier, Anna Leo, Lori Teague, George Staib, Sally Radell and Tara Shepard Myers. They are all so different in their methods but so similar in the support and respect they give to me and fellow composers like Klimchak.

Now that I think about it, working with someone is my preference. I like to have a partner when I dance.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Local Atlanta Blogs of Interest

Check out these two local blogs.........

Atlanta Dances, a community dance blog about the dance scene in Atlanta, started by Claire Horn of Several Dancers Core. The sidebar of the blog has a helpful list of links to Atlanta dance companies, dance classes, and university dance programs. covers the Atlanta arts scene with reviews and news. It features several writers, each covering an area of the arts. Several of the contributors were formerly arts critics for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The site lets you choose posts by discipline, or you can browse through all of them.