THE BELL HOUSE PRESENTS
THE 2017 EXCHANGE CHOREOGRAPHY FESTIVAL,
BRINGING 23 BUDDING CHOREOGRAPHERS AND
CLEVELAND’S INLET DANCE THEATRE TO TULSA FOR CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT
The Bell House’s EXCHANGE is the only dance festival of its kind in the region, a weekend dedicated to fostering conversation about the creative process among dancemakers. Now in its fifth year, EXCHANGE prioritizes and supports choreographic process and artistic community in the tradition of dance centers like New York City’s Judson Church.
Held August 24-26, 2017, at Holland Hall’s Walter Arts Center, EXCHANGE features informal performances by 23 developing choreographers from across the country at 6:30pm on the first two evenings, followed by a choreography workshop and networking opportunities. All events are open to the public.
EXCHANGE culminates in a Gala performance at 6pm on August 26, featuring works from 2017 guest artist Bill Wade and his INLET Dance Theatre from Cleveland, Ohio. INLET arrives in Tulsa fresh from an August 4 performance at the legendary Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, MA. INLET dancer Dominic Moore-Dunson, recipient of the Creative Community Fellowship and mentored by Mr. Wade, will be Exchange Choreography Festival’s Featured Guest Choreographer, presenting his work The Black Card Project.
Three review-accepted submissions will contest for a “Best of the Fest” honor, awarded with a slot in the Saturday night Gala along with dance film shorts on the nature of making art in dance, a local choreographic project by Rachel Bruce Johnson, and a performance by New York City artist, Shawn Rawls. Other events include a lecture on the topic of “Artist as Entrepreneur” by guest artist Bill Wade.
The festival will be held at Holland Hall’s Walter Arts Center, 5666 E 81st St., Tulsa, OK 74136, and is made possible in part by the Oklahoma Arts Council.
For more information, contact (918) 549-1231, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.thebellhouse.info/exchange-choreography-festival.html.
Our Friends at Tulsa Modern Movement wrote this nice shout out to us for EXCHANGE!
The Exchange Choreography Festival, by our friends at The Bell House, is coming up this August. We think you would enjoy it.
Since 2009, The Exchange Choreography Festival has been Tulsa's only adjudicated contemporary dance festival. Exchange provides a platform for artists at various stages in their careers to showcase their work and make a place for the broader community to engage with dance on a deeper level. The 2017 Featured Artist is Bill Wade, Jr., Artistic Director of Inlet Dance Theatre, who will lead the ART Talk/Q&A and a choreography workshop.
The featured performance of the Gala concert is an excerpt by Inlet's Dominic Moore-Dunson, The "Black Card" Project. By combining dance and comedy, Dominic tackles the issue of racial self-perception and identity by examining the African American idea of the "black card" in order to facilitate an intergenerational conversation about the past, present, and future of racial identity and economic development. Dominic will be joined in performance by Inlet company member Kevin Parker during the Saturday night Gala concert.
Purchase your Exchange tickets here. We can't wait to see you this August.
Thursday ~ August 24
6:30-8:30 p.m. -- Informal Showings/mixed concert
8:30-10:30 p.m. -- Festival Launch Party
Friday ~ August 25
11:00-3:00 p.m. -- Choreography Workshop with Featured Artist with Bill Wade
6:30-8:30 p.m. – Informal Showings/mixed concert continues
Saturday ~ August 26
2:30-4:00 p.m. – ART Talk/Q&A - "Artist as Entrepreneur"
(open to all workshop participants)
6:00 p.m. -- GALA Concert, after party to follow
Location: Holland Hall, Walter Arts Center, Tulsa, OK
5666 E 81st St, Tulsa, OK 74136
For more information, visit The Bell House
For tickets and price inquiries, click here
Dance In The Mix welcomes Evangeline Bonin as our first student guest blogger sharing thoughts are research she has been developing during her undergraduate work at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK.
Dance has proven to be an effective and natural tool for physical, emotional, and psychological therapy. In addition, dance can aid in developing social skills. These effects of dance as therapy will be addressed and examined in a three-part series, beginning here with an introduction to Dance/Movement Therapy and its physical effects.
According to the American Dance Therapy Association, Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) is “the psychotherapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of the individual” (“About the American Dance Therapy Association”). Dance therapy first began, due in large part, to a woman named Marian Chace (1896 -1970). After a driving incident damaged her back, Chace’s doctor prescribed dance as part of her physical therapy. Once Chace started dancing, she never stopped. She realized the value of dance and saw a multitude of ways it could be used to impact the lives of those around her and how it could be used to reach the mentally disturbed. The rest of her life was dedicated to discovering how she could help people learn more about themselves through movement. In 1947, Chace became the first full-time dance therapist. In 1942, she was invited to work with St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. Once at the hospital, Chace worked with World War II veterans suffering from psychological problems due to their traumatic experiences. Through dance movement, Chace helped these veterans learn how to cope with life after the war (Chaiklin; Kolcio 92).
When most people hear of dance therapy they think of only the physical effects, such as increased flexibility, coordination, and strength. While there are other benefits from DMT, the physical effects are the most prevalent. Because of this, dance has been used to help children with autism for years. Autism can come in many different forms with varied symptoms; yet, every autistic child will have difficulty interacting and communicating with their peers. Children with autism often become over-stimulated by their surroundings, causing them to become agitated. This is where dance can benefit them. Ballet is an excellent hobby for autistic children because it calms their bodies and allows for a different kind of communication with their classmates: communication through movement instead of words (Webb).
Another example of dance as physical therapy is a study done on women who survived breast cancer. Some of the women took part in a 12-week Dance/Movement Therapy class. By the end of it, they showed improved mobility in their shoulder joints compared to other cancer survivors who did not take a DMT class (“Dance Therapy”). As experienced by the participants within this study, dance is an excellent form of exercise and, as such, gives the benefits of other workouts by lengthening muscles and ligaments as well as gaining strength in those muscles for a greater range of motion, flexibility, and quality of movement. While the physical effects are, indeed, the most commonly recognized results of Dance/Movement Therapy, they are certainly not the only benefits. The next issue will look at the emotional and psychological effects of dance used as therapy.
"About the American Dance Therapy Association." ADTA. ADTA, n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2015.
Chaiklin, Sharon. "Marian Chace: Dancer & Pioneer Dance Therapist." ADTA. ADTA, n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2015.
"Dance Therapy." Dance Therapy. American Cancer Society, 11 Jan. 2008. Web. 05 Mar. 2015.
Kolcio, Katja Pylyshenko, Marilynn Danitz, and Margot C. Lehman. "American Dance Therapy Association: Claire Schmais." Branching Out (2000): 89-99. International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance with Full Text. Web. 7 Mar. 2015.
Webb, K. J. "Ballet Serves as Therapy for Those with Autism." GTR Newspapers. Greater Tulsa Reporter Newspapers, 19 Jan. 2011. Web. 02 Mar. 2015.
Many college dance students don't have plans to take class over the winter break because they feel they need a rest or they are nursing an injury. Rest is a valid reason to take it easy however there's a lot to be said for taking the time off from a university dance rigor to cross-train and build endurance and strength. Philadelphia Dance has some great suggestions and things to consider about cross-training for dancers:
Enjoy and keep moving!
~Rachel Bruce Johnson, 2016
Ari Christopher of Tulsa Modern Movement, 2016, PC: Nathan Harmon
38 Artist Participants and 6 Creative Team members converged at the Exchange Choreography Festival to perform, dialogue and exchange ideas about dance. Much of the richness of the festival came from the discussion and interactions of the participants themselves. This included local and traveling artists, alike, that presented performance work and discussed the ways of making work and inherent problems within the field, audiences engaging in the feedback process and new collaborations initiated over the creative weekend.
There were many reactions and feedback from the audience collected, but here are just a few of the comments about the work that happened on the Exchange stage:
What audiences had to say….
The 4th Position dance work made me think of total freedom and play; like a child given a box of art or found objects and instructed to ‘go make something.’ Radiating design and movement! So mysterious and intriguing.
Until Home’s movement made my eyes tear. I can see how people interact in real life through the metaphor of how these trees grow and move. The partner and group work was interesting and kind innovative. The unity was comforting.
I thought of loss, longing, numbness, physical tension and release, connection, being held, pushing off. It was like a meditation on the difficult and trying paths we are given and choose.
2043: YOU was idiosyncratic, funny, honest!
Echo was very beautiful and inspirational. It gave me a feeling of hope that we humans are creatures bounded together in one flesh. We are instruments of love who have the power to make each other stronger, better, and more beautiful.
Inquietude effectively explored textures and ideas that I have never seen before in dance.
Equally as important were the experiences of the artists themselves as they invested in the festival weekend.
What presenting artists had to say…
“I really enjoyed your festival and it was really peaceful, well organized and supportive. It was great that we can share our bio and professional pictures through festival website and for me, it pushed me [to be] more professional in my rehearsal process and performance as well. Also, making promo video was great experience and I like how you incorporate showing promo video and performance together. It was such an honored to take Susan Rethorst workshop right after our performance. It might be great if we can have a conversation time with audience or get some feedback from guest artist and from other choreographers as well. Thank you so much for giving me a great opportunity and sharing wonderful time. I really want to join again and introduce this festival to other emerging artist too.”
~ Yeajean Choi, “Best of the Fest” Recipient
“When I moved back to Oklahoma three years ago, I was worried there would be nowhere to dance the way I wanted to. But within a week or two of being back home, I was doing X phrases in a gorgeous studio (Flyloft) with Tulsa Modern Movement, a company I have been blessed to dance with for three, going on four, seasons. There is whole dance community in Tulsa, making working, taking risks, collaborating with other artists, and sharing their thing. This weekend, Exchange Choreography Festival brings the Tulsa dance community together with choreographers from across the country to perform, discuss, witness, and learn. I'm excited to be a part of it and thankful to all who have worked hard to make it happen. Big shout out to Rachel Bruce Johnson who is putting this together and to Ari Christopher and Mona Hatter for dancing with me!”
~ Aleks Weaver, 2016
"Thank you for bringing us together for the love of dance!"
~ Jen Alden, Artistic Director, Portico Dans Theatre
“Highlight of my week right here. Some of the parent facilitators in our new learning community took the kids on their very first field trip today to see some other of the parent facilitators (myself and Deena Burks) perform at the Exchange Choreography Festival at Tulsa Ballet! Life is rich. So grateful for all of you and who make it that way.”
~ Alicia Chesser
The process films were a great concept and helpful in generating solid ideas about the ways artists had made their work and a visual way to connect the audience to the art-making. Many audience members gave positive feedback about viewing the films in the Gala Performance. We would love to expand this concept further by potentially looping all the artists’ films in the lobby or using them some other way in screening at another point in the year.
Several artists were made offers for subsequent work in the future having had the opportunity to share their work in performance. Connections made artist-to-artist yielded new collaborative possibilities between artists who don’t live near each other.
These are the more evident moments through which Exchange has generated more ideas, collaborations and connections for artists beyond the festival. But we also know that seemingly smaller but equally significant connections are possible and were made between the ideas and movement performed, the questions asked in the choreography workshop, the passionate discussion about serious problems in the field, and the human connections made when artists move and people witness.
These are the moments for which Exchange exists: to stimulate ideas through which creativity is generative, work is propelled and connections beget further connections.
It is the connective power of relationships between people that makes art worth engaging. Our deepest desire is that EXCHANGE serves the existing and growing dance community in professional development and in the very special ways that art can enhance human thriving. The idea that fuels EXCHANGE Festival, is to create space for that population of artists to create a community of interchange in the realm of ideas, processes, and the people themselves.
We are grateful for this work, grateful that artists would come spend time at The Bell House and grateful for the very relationships so generously offered by time spent together. See you next year.
Rachel Johnson, Executive & Artistic Director
Lecture with Susan Rethorst
As part of the exchange festival, Susan Rethorst will present a talk following her workshop on the afternoon of Saturday, August 27, 2016.
The talk will concern her working and teaching approaches and include some (brief) showings of the work made in the workshop that morning, as examples, as well as some (optional) audience participation.
When: August 27
Time: 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Where: Tulsa Ballet's Studio K, 1212 East 45th Place South, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74105
STEALING, INFLUENCE AND IDENTITY
In 1980 I made a piece that I titled Stealing. For the publicity, I had a photographer take a picture of me looking as close to Laurie Anderson on the cover of her recently released Oh Superman album as we could get and wrote STEALING across the top of the page. I sent a copy to Anderson on which I wrote 'They say stealing is the most sincere from of flattery - hope you agree'.
I had no expectations that the title would be taken literally. I was wrong. Several people who saw it told me which choreographers they 'saw'; I had put none of them in there, and had to search back in my mind for which parts of the dance they might mean.
The title referred to the kind of movement making/thinking that was concerning me in those days, a particular mode of observation and response in my movement making that I called 'placement', and tried (in retrospect) to define as an awareness of architectural 'places' and 'traces' of the body.and their accompanying emotive and psychological implications.
In an attempt to articulate the methodology that arose from this, if not the basis on which it stands, I had settled on the question 'what kind of 'information' can I "take" from the previous move'?
A descriptive example of what I mean might sound like -
Starting with the arm extended in front of the body in a curve, I lie my head in the negative space thus created, and my gaze falls to the floor to the right of me. I follow the line of that gaze with the top of my head. I step on the spot on the floor where this gaze would land were that line extended. I turn into the path of the trace of that motion. I describe with my arm the plane implied by that trace, etc - each movement creating an infinite number of architectural 'leavings', or 'artifacts' to trigger a response, before and beyond words...............as I 'follow' the seeming instruction of each move, I am aware also of the detailed and subtle differences of the areas of the body that are moving me - the palm of the hand strikes a different chord - of intimacy, softness, interiority, - than does the back of the hand; the part that faces the world, its skin both metaphorically and literally tougher. These subjective readings of places of the body influence my choices, and the choices are made quickly enough that the awareness stays in the realm of the physical.
In introducing others to this mode of work, the task came to include one person taking a curve off another and placing some transformed-by-having-gone-through-her trace of that curve in yet another's lap, so to speak. Because we ( me, Eva Welchman, Paula Kellinger, and Susan Braham) were all moving simultaneously, the taking and receiving were often done without the consciousness, cooperation or even awareness of the other - stolen. As we got comfortable with this, it began to seem that we were passing an intangible something in and around between us - slippery, inarticulated, elusive and minute attitudes of the body, with tiny and cumulative jokes, comments, surprises. And there was an edge to it, lent by the privacy and intimacy that studio studies and long acquaintance with an investigation can engender - to one-up, to outwit, to challenge each other, and in consequence, the form.
And, as it became more of a form, it came to suggest to me a means of conversing that telescoped and magnified the slower more sober but just as intangible, slippery and elusive passing of information that occurs in the larger world. - akin to the way influence travels, full of misunderstandings and misreadings as well as recognitions - this combined with our teasing irreverent tone led to the Stealing title and poster.
Following the performances, I made calls to some of the choreographers that audience members had 'seen', saying that I had had no intentions to copy or mimic or impersonate. There were some conversations around town that I got wind of, about whether or not it was ethical to steal in art, accompanied by some upset and indignation. I mostly stayed out of them, due to some combination of surprise and curiosity, and the fact that it had long been my habit, when misunderstood, to shut up - a kind of protective mechanism. I thought a lot about how what happens in the studio changes when it meets the air outside, how the laboratory results need a frame, and a title will do fine if another isn't presented. Above all, I think I was intrigued and taken aback at the nerve I'd inadvertently struck, and wanted to lay low and ponder the implications. Consequently and subsequently this nerve came to be a mine of information and inspiration.
By 1994, I had been teaching choreography for a lot of years. I'd realized, through the articulation and challenge to assumptions that teaching forces, that one of the things I take for granted is individuality of voice - It may require unearthing from received information and self censorship, but never protection or cossetting . I think in fact, the opposite; self is a constraint from which there is no escape, that unique inner world never quits; trying to communicate that and in spite of that, is one of the impulses that leads to art. Many students I had had however, seemed to find the task of being 'true to oneself' a never ending battle, causing agonies about overinfluence, going too close to someone else's work was as if too close to a flame....questions about how and why someone else proceed feel threatening. So I thought, let's have a test -you think you're in danger of losing yourself, try it...put your money where your mouth is, put your practice where your question is, wrassle with it - which I suppose is one of my ideas of the function of making dances in the first place.
So, to a group of students who had worked long enough to be able to identify the inclinations of the others in that group, I gave the task of trying to make something from another's sensibility. Not as a game, or impersonation, no guessing about who was 'doing' whom, but a serious attempt to put one's self into the body/mind of another - try to imagine and make what might come next from that person.
Well, can't be done, proof positive that there IS somebody home, somebody particular. The attempt can take you into areas that you thought you couldn't go, or that might not occur to you, but what you find in going there is that you take yourself. You can never approach someone else's work as you can your own - you can take something of the surface, which can tell you something of the depth, but you can't have gotten to that depth by the same route; you begin to color something even in the act of perception. Misinterpretation is just another way of saying point of view. But the attempt provoked as well the question - 'if it's not possible to steal, what's the problem?'
Sometimes as I examine an issue with more than one group of students, my previously inarticulted thinking comes to feel adamant by virtue of repetition. I then must find out if I believe it as strongly as I begin to imagine I must sound - I have to do battle with it, see if it can hold its end up. I felt an obligation and a curiosity to go the distance with this one.
I approached Tere O'Connor, a good friend, as well as someone whose work I'd known and admired for years; also someone whose work is very different from mine - 'other'. I asked him to come into my rehearsal process for a piece called Little By Little, She Showed Up, and to do what I subsequently called 'wreck' the dance. By this I mean that he entered into the rehearsal process and looked at the piece as though it was to become his from that moment forward, changing it to his liking, imposing his own aesthetic with complete disregard for my intentions. The very things that I would never have imagined being different were the ones that he changed; the experience was akin to culture shock; disorienting, the center of gravity shifted. I then took back the rehearsals, with the same attitude toward his changes. The piece took on some attributes of his aesthetic; directions were opened that otherwise would not have been conceived of, moments exist in the piece for which no one can claim ownership, and yet there is no question of its authorship. As if, in forcing a move that comes from outside oneself, the self imposes itself with more clarity.
In my next piece Don't Go Without Your Echo, I wanted also to address head on what I had begun to think of as an unfortunate territoriality amongst choreographers. Fear of influence on the one hand and fear of being stolen from on the other, have themselves become influences in the community, so;
I began from self consciously borrowed sources, engaging in the transformation that occured as they filtered through me;
I attempted to force an 'inclusive' aesthetic on myself, in response to so many years of 'fearless' editing..again watching the transformation that takes place from the setting of an unrealistic task; tried in other words, to slip into another's skin, knowing full well the impossibilty of the attempt, using it rather as a means to expand my own definitions.
And by so doing, I meant to force my own definitions of what's possible to put on stage by searching out the awkward, the uncool, the ridiculous, the 'untrue to oneself', the simply untrue, etc.
Though I have never been interested in interpretation, in keeping with these concerns, I decided to also risk super interpretabilty by placing neon quotation marks on either of the two upper corners of the back wall, creating the appearance of a flat page, with action sitting inside quote marks, provoking questions of originality and ownership of ideas; to make it appear as if parts had been appropriated, to suggest that any part of any dance, aided by the power of suggestion (be it quotation marks or a title) can be said to be derivative or referential.....
*PC: Brent Hiram, Artist: Amanda McCorkle
For Immediate Use
June 14, 2016
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Rachel Bruce Johnson
THE BELL HOUSE
9926 N. Ashfield Rd.
Owasso, OK 74055
TULSA ARTS COMMUNITY
We often forget that the arts are not created in a vacuum. It takes people, and the arts are an expression of what is important to people. Tulsa has been especially gifted with many people who care about the various art forms. Although there is a rich history of dance in Tulsa, one aspect of this art form was missing. Eight years ago, Rachel Bruce Johnson saw a dearth of educational and professional development opportunities for professional dancers studying contemporary dance forms. To remedy this situation, she founded The Bell House. Through her determination and hard work, the first EXCHANGE Choreography Festival was presented in 2009. Since then, many other arts organizations have brought a wonderful array of dance master classes and educational opportunities to Tulsa and this particular festival continues to flourish amongst other offerings, especially geared toward independent and emerging choreographers. The 2016 edition of EXCHANGE will be presented on August 25-27th at Tulsa Ballet’s Studio K.
The Bell House will present the 4th EXCHANGE Choreography Festival, to be held August 25-27th. EXCHANGE provides a meeting point for professional dancers to showcase their choreographic work and engage in dialogue about process. Performances, workshops, and networking events are also included in the festival weekend. Only 15 choreographers are selected by The Bell House to present original dance works up to 10 minutes in length.
Internationally renowned dance-maker and teacher of choreography, Susan Rethorst, is The Bell House's honored guest artist for 2016. She will be spending much time with festival participants at performances and roundtable discussions as well as an exclusive workshop on Rethorst's signature method of choreographic Wrecking (c).
--------- “BEST OF THE FEST” SELECTIONS ----------
3 peer-reviewed “Best of the Fest” works will be awarded a second performance spot in the Saturday night Gala Performance.
Three accepted submissions will contest for a “Best of the Fest” award that will be given a second performance opportunity of the submitted work in the Saturday night Gala performance. If selected for the Gala performance, a short 3-4 minute dance film will be required to present the ideas in your work or some aspect about the creative process.
Other festival events include a special New Choreography concerts, an artist roundtable discussion about ideas and ways of working, and an exclusive lecture by Susan Rethorst. Also, catch a screening of renown filmmakers, Petra Lataster-Czisch’s and Peter Lataster’s dancefilm, The Need To Dance at the EXCHANGE Choreography Festival’s Pre-Party, August 25th. Trailer: https://vimeo.com/112590677
The festival will be held at Tulsa Ballet Studio K, 1212 E. 45th Place, in Tulsa.
For more information on the festival in general or about our featured artist, Susan Rethorst, contact (918) 549-1231 or email: email@example.com.
*PC: Brent Hiram, dancer/choreographer: Amanda McCorkle
If I should ever leave you whom I love
To go along the Silent Way, grieve not,
Nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk
Of me as if I were beside you there….
And when you hear a song or see a bird
I loved, please do not let the thought of me
Be sad…. For I am loving you just as
I always have…. You were so good to me!
There are so many things I wanted still
To do - - so many things to say to you
Remember that I did not fear - - it was
Just leaving you that was so hard to face….
We cannot see beyond…. But this I know:
I loved you so – ‘twas heaven here with you!
-- Isla Paschal Richardson
I ran across this blog post from Alicia Chesser a while back and just had to repost because there's so much juicy information about choreographic process and the generation and cultivation of ideas in this interview with one of Crystal Pite's performers who graced a Tulsa stage back in May.
It’s been some time since this particular performance, however, I’m still thinking about it. Our work, Two Steps Forward by Jessica Vokoun for the Living Arts eMerge Dance Festival in March, was a challenging exercise in creating a dance specifically in a site with all it’s architecture, limitations, and embedded ideas. Because this site has historical context, it was natural to think of the long passage as a journey and even easier to connect it to what ideas emerge about the journey of life, as in the past, present, and future.
It was an interesting exploration and a thrill to create with Jessica Vokoun and Alicia Chesser but some of the most interesting moments were discovered in performance; in the moment of being physically oriented in the hallway with these ladies in whatever proximity we had planned ourselves to be in.
There is moment in the dance that I stand with my back toward the audience and then look back at them (symbolically in the past). This was a logical performance choice in rehearsal as we built context for the piece, however, I never noticed Alicia so vividly as when there was an actual audience witnessing the dance.
As I ponderously gazed at the audience, Alicia steps in front of me. She was near; she was with me. It wasn’t until my vision was filled with her nearness and eclipsed my focus on the audience that I noticed a shift in my focus metaphorically from past to present. It shifted my focus from past and the distant connection there to the present and what was happening in the moment. It didn’t negate the past but gave me an opportunity to be present with others and actively continue to write the journey in the now. In other words, it was the acknowledgment of the bodies near me that shifted my focus and inspired me to move forward. The metaphors for life and living exploded with connections to my recent grief year. It wasn’t a revelation for anyone else but me. That was where performance was once again, rich for me.
I find it curious that the assumption about performance is that all the discoveries are made in the planning, choreographic, and rehearsing stages before the performance happens. Maybe I assumed that years ago but I doubt I’m alone. It seems to be assumed that by the time a work is performed, there is nothing left to do but execute what was planned and choreographed and rehearsed with the addition of an audience that may change how the performance feels to the performer but in general, if the performer is “good”, it will be mostly the same as when performing in rehearsal. Who is assuming this, I don’t know. It could be the audience, other dancers or even the performer herself at times but it is thrilling, in my opinion, to be reminded that this is simply not true. Ever.
Paying attention to those moments in performance is what makes the art of performance a true art.
Rachel Bruce Johnson is the Executive & Artistic Director of The Bell House and has been performing professionally for more than twenty years. She continues to make new discoveries with every performance.
If you're interested in viewing the dance, it is attached below. Enjoy.
photo by Nathan Harmon; dancers: Jessica Vokoun & Rachel Bruce Johnson.
PC: Jeanne S. Mam-Luft
It is a simple philosophy here at THE BELL HOUSE; make connections by bringing people together through dance. Art that seeks to defy a fractured view of the world by creating culture that cares for the soul and is concerned with human thriving. For me, it isn’t enough to just make dance for dance’s sake; it is my belief that it is the connective power of people that makes art worth engaging. We do that by taking our interests and talents and challenging the ways we connect them to something tangible in the human experience. It is through these connections and tangibilities that we see the true power of art and dance manifest back to relationships with and through people. In my view, what matters is people; the time and space of making work refract and overlap revealing and creating new possibilities for human connection.