OVER-NITE SENSATION: Dance Edition an evening of dance and music collaborations with performances by: MERIAN SOTO* / TOSHI MAKIHARA
EUN JUN CHOI-GONZALEZ / ALBAN BAILLY
MELISA PUTZ / JESSE KUDLER
MICHELE TANTOCO / CARLOS SANTIAGO
GABRIELLE REVLOCK / JACOB MITAS
MEG FOLEY / ERIC CARBONARA
NICOLE BINDLER / GENE COLEMAN
@ Plays and Players
1714 Delancy Street
8pm; $12, $10 in advance
What happens when you put the city’s best improvising musicians together with the city’s top dance artists? Well, we just don’t know, but we’re excited to find out! Join us for an evening of risk-taking, genre-bending, and (mostly) never-seen-before dance and music creations, and it's all happening on the beautiful Plays and Players Mainstage.
We're also excited about this evening because it marks Bowerbird's return to presenting dance focused events. It's no secret that we've got a music background, but after immersing ourselves in the dance field for nearly 18 months, we've found out about some great stuff. The six duos on this evening are a nice mix of artists who we have a history with, those that are a bit newer to us, and some really inspiring, well-established collaborations.
If there's a sub theme to the night, it is how long each duo has been collaborating. With some artists banking on a couple of decades of experience, others meeting, like a blind date, for the first time ever, and every shade in between, it will be exciting to see and hear what creations will unfold. Will the more historied duos thrive on intimate knowledge of each partner's role, or will they flounder in cliché? Will the newest duos captivate us in their spontaneity or will they fracture from unforeseen incompatibility?
WHAT TO EXPECT
The evening will unfold in two halves - split with an intermission. Each duo will perform about 15 mins. It's important to note that this event will take place in the beautiful main space of plays and players theater - and not the smaller third floor space that we normally use. We'll miss the intimacy of that space - but you'll be seriously wowed by this gem of a past era. For some reason it always makes us think of F. Scott Fitzgerald!?
*Due to a family emergency, Merian Soto will be performing in place of the previously announced Leah Stein.
LEAH STEIN - dance TOSHI MAKIHARA - perucssion Length of collaboration: 20+ years Performing: Improvisation
Certainly among the most ubiquitous and celebrated of dance / music collaborations in the region, Leah and Toshi began collaborating 1987 with what Toshi refers to as the "cabbage piece". They have since created an enourmous body of work, most notably with the Leah Stein Dance Company. Their work typically implores an inventive use of space, often exploring acoustic and architectural details, usually with a subtle sense of humor and playfulness. In performnace, both Leah and Toshi are extremely accustom to throwing of the limitations of their designated roles of "dancer" or "musician", exchanging sound making and moving in a manner so rarely convincing.
EUN JUNG CHOI-GONZALEZ - dance ALBAN BAILLY - guitar Length of collaboration: 4 years Performing: Improvisation
Eun Jung, a native of Korea, and Alban, a native of France, both now living in Philadelphia, bring an interesting web of artistic and professional backgrounds to their collaborative work, which has included both choreographed / composed work and completely improvised pieces.
Eun Jung's sharp and quick movements, often inexplicably flat to the ground, rocketing up and then back down, collide with Alban's acoustic guitar broken-gyspy jazz-like insertions to form a demented and almost flamenco-like peformance style that is at once energetic and passioned.
MELISA PUTZ - dance JESEE KUDLER - electronics Length of collaboration: first meeting Performing: Improvisation
Though these two artists have been orbiting each other for quite some time, this is the first opportunity they have had to work together. Melisa is most know for her work with PIMA Group, a group she co-founded with musicians Michael Barker and Thomas Clark. Jesse is active in Philadelphia as both a musician and an organizer (he has even presented PIMA Group in the past). He most often improvises on cheap consumer devices: a no-name electric guitar, hand-held cassette recorders, radios and transmitters, but will likely be doing something a bit different for this evening.
MICHELE TANTOCO - dance CARLOS SANTIAGO - violin Length of collaboration: first meeting Performing: Improvisation
The matching of this first time duo was all about personalities. After seeing Michele perform several times in recent months, her playful and idiosyncratic style, reminded us of Carlos Santiago and a duo he did with Melisa Putz back in 2007. Like the best of dance partners, Carlos has an amazing ability to connect with his partner during improvisation, at once leading and responding to the other person.
GABRIELLE REVLOCK - dance JACOB MITAS - viola Length of collaboration: 6 months Performing: Indivisibility (2009)
It is notable that this is the sole collaboration on the evening that is choreographed and has been seen before (Indivisibility debuted at the 2009 Philadelphia Live Arts Festival as part of the A.W.A.R.D. show). And even though the piece is set, Gabrielle's constant twirling of a huluhoop, and the constant awkwardness and vulnerablilty it creates, gives the piece a sense of danger and edginess that will feel very much akin to the precipice of the improvised duos.
MEG FOLEY - dance ERIC CARBONARA - guitar Length of collaboration: first meeting Performing: Improvisation
Meg says "I am a Philadelphia-based dance artist and director of Moving Parts. I intend Moving Parts to be a familial dance think tank with a group of steady collaborators exploring how art environments are made and trying to create elusive yet emotionally evocative performance experiences that straddle the fine line between focus and freedom. I am concerned with work that is both somatically oriented and precisely organized visually. And ultimately in my practice, I’m asking existential questions about the human experience of being, in relation to self and in relation to others. My work is grounded in the body, in the real, in the meaty stuff that I feel holds the stuff of being alive."
Eric Carbonara is a Philadelphia based guitarist, whose search for raw aural expression
has led him far and wide – from noise & electro-acoustic music to taking deep root in the
bounty of the wooden guitar. Carbonara's playing draws on the rich musical styles from Andalusian Roma-Flamenco to
Hindustani & North African folk to form a kind of exalted pidgin style of playing that
covers a wide emotional terrain from meditative calm to restless unease.
NICOLE BINDLER - dance GENE COLEMAN - bass clarinet Length of collaboration: 3 years Performing: Improvisation
Where most of dance artists make use of improvisation as an aspect of broader artistic explorations and choreography, Nicole has focused a majority of her career on exploring improvisation as a unique form, and has amassed a particularly celebrated roster of musical collaborators. Gene, on the other hand, is a composer who has focused on using elements of improvisation in his scores, often using them along side more exactly notated sections. In many ways, this duality, which is further amplified by the performers' differing stage personas, is a most intriging exploration of polar opposites, and the ways in which these facets can magnify the creative potential of two individuals.
Video: A selection of Nicole's work A short video featuring a composition of Gene's
Plays and Players began in 1911 at the Art Alliance as a social club devoted to expanding and developing new theater experiences for and by its membership. Primarily, members commissioned works to be written and performed for charitable purposes. The first President, Maud Durbin Skinner, was the wife of the famed American actor, Otis Skinner, who performed upon the Delancey Street stage during its early history. Many other theatrical greats have acted here over the years including the Barrymores, John Drew, and Kevin Bacon. Plays and Players is very likely the community theater on which Philadelphia playwright George Kelly based his slapstick comedy “The Torch Bearers”. It is also the theater where the acclaimed Broadway play, “Stalag 17”, premiered.
In the 1960's, Plays and Players decided to "go public" and opened its productions to the entire community. In the 70's the Plays and Players Children's Theater was added to the busy schedule. Once an exclusive club, Plays & Players grew into a company in which local artists young and old practiced and performed their craft. In 2011-2012, Plays & Players will celebrate its 100th season of local and community focused performance in Philadelphia. A historic company existing in a vibrant modern arts scene, Plays & Players continues to change and grow with the times, all the while keeping an eye on its rich and powerful past.