photo by Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Soloists and Moving Masses

Being involved in two separate creative projects simultaneously is good. TOXIC and Things are in many ways each others opposites, doubles.

TOXIC is an ensemble piece in the meaning that there are no soloists. There is a continuous movement between a choir and a group of dancers. Performers keep switching and swapping roles. Things, on the other hand, is performed by a bunch of soloists that sometimes involve themselves in duets and group scenes. Considering the basic concepts in these two pieces it makes sense.

I'm wondering if the choice in its egalitarianism - in both cases - is very Finnish. And then again, maybe it is more symptomatic of the arts in our time. Contemporary performing arts rarely contain large supporting troupes anymore. A soloist doesn't need them when they have the audience to relate to. A group of people forming a backdrop for the individual artist would be redundant. (Obviously I'm sidestepping possible practical reasons, like physical resources, here.)

At this point the idea of a large 'corps de ballet' behind soloists becomes fascinating again. Class and narcissism are seen very differently from 100 years ago - or are they?

I hear that locally Catherine Galasso is experimenting with a big supporting group. I haven't seen that work yet, and don't know about the underlying ideas, but I suspect it will be interesting.

Monday, May 16, 2011


We are looking for curious, generous participants for Dance Camp, an experimental dance incubator to be held at The Garage (975 Howard) from 10am-5pm on Saturday July 9th, 2011.

Dance Camp follows the model of an unconference: it is a flat hierarchy where all participants both lead inquiries and support those of others. Dance Camp is not about sharing what you have made in the past or generating something for immediate performance, but about taking the risk of really going into a new idea. Participants bring preoccupations, fixations, questions, and curiosities --- be they about choreography, dramaturgy, writing, curation, or generating material --- and explore them with other generous folks through short discussions and workshops. Think of it like a collaborative mini-residency.

The deadline for Dance Camp applications is Friday June 3rd, 2011. We are looking for people at all stages of their careers, who are doers and talkers, who are excited about their own work, but also willing to invest in the processes of others.  All camp-ers are expected to stay for the full day.
To apply, please send :
1) a short statement about something you have been exploring in your own work, and how you might want to share that inquiry by testing it with others
2) a previous or ongoing work that you would like to share with the organizers (online links or attached documents much appreciated; email if you would like to send a dvd).

There is no fee for Dance Camp. 

Kate Elswit (Something Modern / Stanford University)
Minna Harri (Minna Harri Experience Set)
Petra Kuppers (The Olimpias / University of Michigan)
Joe Landini (The Garage)