Sustainable artistry of Cynthia Hopkins
“Advocate everywhere. Be transparent about how you and your friends support your art work, and talk about how it affects your life and goals. Start the honest conversation with friends, colleagues, the person sitting next to you right now…”
–from Artist Action Items: what you can do to promote a fair & sustainable arts economy), published by Brooklyn Commune Project
While this week’s engagement marks the debut of Cynthia Hopkins’ new production of her own making at New York Live Arts, she is certainly no stranger to the stage or the city. An internationally acclaimed multidisciplinary artist – singer, songwriter, recording artist, stage performer, performance maker – she has been a frequent denizen of many stages across the city since the late 1990’s, performing and contributing songs for established companies such as Big Dance Theatre and Ridge Theatre, as well as under the guise of her own band, Gloria Deluxe (1999-2009). Simultaneously, over the past decade, Hopkins has accumulated an impressive body of work creating multimedia productions of her own devising, including the trilogy comprised of Accidental Nostalgia, Must Don’t Whip ‘Um and The Success of Failure (or, The Failure of Success) and, more recently, The Truth: A Tragedy and This Clement World. Her practice garnered recognition on a national scale, including an Alpert Award in 2007 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2010.
Hopkins is a brutally honest artist – not one to sweep one’s own (or the world’s) issues under the rug. Never to shy away from getting personal, she has boldly confronted issues such as family, addiction, career, and the climate change, negotiating difficult themes in a witty, bracing, self-effacing and, ultimately, humorous manner, successfully steering away from getting mired in pathos. When she chooses to tackle a subject, Hopkins leaves no stones unturned, starting with herself, and it is perhaps this courage – the act of stripping bare the masks one tends to wear in daily existence – that has consistently made her works in equal parts endearing and disturbing.
While still dealing with some familiar tropes, this evening’s world premiere of A Living Documentary represents in many ways a new direction in Hopkins’ oeuvre. For the artist, the departure was prompted by an epiphany of sorts, which occurred in the process of producing her most recent large-scale performance; becoming aware of making work in a manner that is ultimately unsustainable – a never-ending cycle of not securing a living wage for one’s own work and incurring debt in the process. Firstly, this realization prompted her to investigate the very fabric of daily life in the performing arts. In order to capture an accurate snapshot, Hopkins approached many respected colleagues and gathered a vast number of responses from fellow artists over time, parsing them for both commonalities and idiosyncrasies. Based on these interviews, she developed five semi-fictional characters that episodically appear throughout the piece, intertwined with musical interventions.
While exposing timely issues of shifting trends in the arts economy and ailing ecology of our field, Hopkins also made a radical departure in her own approach to making work. Implementing her findings in her own practice as a performance maker, with A Living Documentary she has committed to creating a work that is fully sustainable. In this manner, not only does she accomplish the goal of securing a living wage for the artist/creator, she shares this work as an example of sustainable art making practice – one that will hopefully serve as an inspiration to the field at large.
– Ivan Talijancic
Back in October, Elena Demyanenko & Dai Jian presented a work-in-progress of Blue Room as part of Studio Series. Below is a short snippet of the talk back conversation moderated by Melanie Maar. Don’t miss the world premiere of Blue Room this week,
Feb 13 – 15!
…I do think that something of the effect I have on people is to put everything on an edge where they’re both infatuated with a kind of charmingness happening in the person or in the writing, and also flatly terrified by a revelation or acceptance of revelation that’s almost happening, never quite totally happening.
INTERVIEWER (WILL AITKEN)
A kind of glare.
Yes, a glare from behind the set where I’m standing. So if I’m a little actor on stage, there’s this terrible glare coming from behind me. And they feel that. And I don’t have to feel it, but I’m aware of it going past me towards them, and I see dismay on their faces mixed with this other thing. I think that’s why sometimes I am spooky to people. Because this glare is mixed with an infantile charm that disarms, so they have to deal with both.
But what is that glare?
I don’t know. It’s just absolute dread. It’s bumping up against the fact that you die alone. You think about that from time to time all through life, and it continues to make no sense against all the little efforts you make in your life to be happy and have friends and pass the time.
Does everybody carry that glare around with them, or is it just more evident behind you?
I think everybody can have access to it, only they mask it for themselves in different ways. I have fewer ways to mask it for some reason.
-The Paris Review, “The Art of Poetry No. 88”, fall 2004.
Darkness. A man switches on a small, handheld source of light. A single bulb. We catch a glimpse of a body, a bare foot jutting out of a pile of electrical cords. Light off. Darkness. Exposure again, the body has shifted. Darkness. Light. Darkness again. Concealment. Framing, tracing, highlighting, featuring–his body a utilitarian shadow of the woman. Space expands and contracts, evoking a landscape of loneliness and emptiness. The light glares, shining brightly on her face–her body stays still, her shadow traveling across the wall to join her. At times it seems like an interrogation, at others a confessional privacy, a disclosure. He holds her. He assists her. He creates spaces for her. She enters them, embodies them, filling them with her presence, abandons them.
In the way that Anne Carson has dug into the depths of grief, scrutinizing the experience of dying and loss, both ancient and present, historic and personal, Kimberly Bartosik returns time and again to the male/female duet form, considering and reconsidering its impact and significance, the dark ranges of its possibilities, its physical and emotional extremes, the space between desire and brutality. Bartosik’s work focuses on the male/female dynamic with its tension of these separate bodies in proximity to one another, exploring closeness and distance, erotic inclination (as in Ecsteriority 1 & 2, from 2008), and the traces and experiences of others that we accrue through time and memory (The Materiality of Impermanence, 2010).
You are my heat and glare, inspired by a line from Carson’s essay “The Anthropology of Water”, (“What are we made of but hunger and rage”) pits dancers Joanna Kotze and Marc Mann against each other in an aggressive partnership that excavates the dynamics of power and violence in their male/female and black/white bodies, the “extreme pull to both love and violate. I will devour you. I will destroy you.” Singers Dave Ruder and Gelsey Bell develop themes of beauty through simultaneous acts of sound generation, of creation. Throughout, Bartosik shows us hyper-potent relationships using made and inhabited spaces, sex and savagery, and vastness and intimacy as her frames. The piece places before us, in starkly different configurations, two bodies, one male and one female, the history of these bodies as they exist against and for each other, the arguments of the flesh, the want, the yearn, the togetherness, the alienation, the separation, the yielding and merging, the traveling toward and away from, the crumbling of ourselves into nothingness.
In Carson’s terms, we are ourselves. We see one another on the edge where we are both charmed and terrified. The glare behind them, the glare behind us. We move toward each other, we cling together. We fear the end, we disappear. We can only die alone. In Bartosik’s terms, we need and require another in order to know and define ourselves. The presence and absence of the other is how we anchor our own lives. I am nothing without you. You are how I see me. I only exist if you do. You are my heat and glare.
The last (and first) time these two Serbian-born artists and cultural activists were here in New York City (and the U.S.) asking their particular and dare I use the word singular brand of inquiry related to dance and performance research on the stage was when they performed their solo work entitled My private bio-politics at Dance Theater Workshop in 2009. Our audiences were small. Unknown in the U.S., few then understood what smart and remarkable artists they were, and are. (Mr. Asentić choreographed and performed My private bio-politics while Ms. Vujanović provided theoretical support and dramaturgy for the work). The small numbers that did attend the performances, constructed in the genre of the ‘lecture-demo’, left with an overwhelming impression. They had just experienced being pulled into an astute and witty, yet very serious, debate around the issues of ‘authentic voice;’ the structures of market distribution in live performance, in this case from East to West; local and global ideologies; the notions of exoticism that still exist in a global economy. These are issues perhaps not uncommon to some U.S. artists but perhaps not addressed quite in Asentić and Vujanović’s singular way, at least so I heard from various audience members, particularly other artists, and from critics. Always a work-in-progress around dance research, it turned into what they termed a ‘work-in-regress.’
In their words, “The seriousness of dance research comprehension takes us to the erasing and disappearing of performance, on the stage and before the eyes of the audience. Performance is gradually being turned into an archive video-documentation, thus being deprived of a living circulation and opening itself towards history.”
My private bio-politics, which first premiered in its original form on February 11, 2007 at the Serbian National Theatre, Novi Sad, Serbia, had already been performed in numerous festivals across Europe before coming to the U.S. Several of my colleagues, with travel funded by The Suitcase Fund, had seen the work at the Balkans Dance Platform in Athens, Greece in 2008 and unanimously encouraged me to include it on Dance Theater Workshop’s next season. I did exactly that, trusting in their recommendations.
Brian McCormick, New York City critic writing for the Gay City News, wrote of Mr. Asentić after attending a performance:
…Serbian artist Sasa Asentić directly addresses the question of the creative distribution system, deconstructing the absurd processes, expectations, and outcomes it produces. He uses linguistic tricks borrowed from theorists, picking apart their practical quandaries, all the while constructing his argument and, by extension, this particular performance…
…Critical and self-reflexive, Asentić exposes and exploits the absurd conditions that exist within our cultural systems, laughing but aware of the consequences that come when those at the margins are brought into the center. What’s particularly enticing about the artist’s implicit thesis is that by participating as audience members at his debut US performance – that is, in purchasing his performance product through the distribution modes of the West – we become part of the dialectic in the immediate moment of the performance as it happens. It’s hard to make ontological pluralism or theory of any kind entertaining, but Asentić succeeds spectacularly.
Now, I am more than pleased to have them back for our New York City audiences with this current work, On Trial Together, whose research was funded, in part, by The Suitcase Fund in 2011. The performance is a part of their wider project Examining communitas , which is also made up of theoretical-artistic research and performance.
There is a growing, exciting direction that is being made evident by certain artists in Europe and, lately, I am noticing in the U.S., whereby they conceptually upend and change the conventional and typically passive relationship between audiences and artists. This may not be a new concept per se, but the willingness of artists now to throw open their conceptual concerns within strategically constructed frameworks that allow for (and in some cases demand) that audiences take up the pleasure of more active roles in jointly conceived narratives around the debate(s) being tackled is something that seems a newer phenomena. A social choreography. Coming from a country, Serbia, where the populace, including artists, are deeply aware of its political and failed history – far more than we can be proud of in our country – this history has informed a quotidian, or what should be considered a quotidian, of deeply thoughtful questions around democracy, collectivity, the transmissions of ideologies and individualism, and what it all means in today’s neocapitalist society. Important questions, not usually tackled within dance and choreography.
New York Live Arts is interested in reflecting these myriad ways of working by artists who do consider themselves first and foremost ‘dancemakers,’ but whose work moves beyond the replication of the canon, and who utilize dance as a rigorous enough form, with the body as a deeply acculturated carrier of information, to carry the weight of such inquiry. In the hands of Saša and Ana, who have emerged since their touring of My private bio-politics to be considered among Europe’s dance community’s intelligentsia, the form is indeed capable or at least worthy of the attempt.
In their words:
The performance On Trial Together is conceived as a hybrid public event between theatre play, choreography, social game, and happening. It takes place in a theatre venue, thereby reaffirming theatre’s capacity to symbolize the social. But here, the stage is reappropriated and becomes a place in public space where citizens discuss issues important to their society and speculate about its future through fictional constructions. The fundamental principle is that human beings never experience reality directly but through symbols, discourses, and socially constructed narratives.
Finally, there’s a whole lot more to examine and experience and learn through this carefully conceived social choreography, and I am glad that you, as the reader of these context notes, are here, in this work. Knowing the architects, it will be a thought provoking experience, and it will be fun.
-Carla Peterson, Artistic Director
Capturing impalpable frequencies
Shortly after becoming members of the Trisha Brown Dance Company in 2008, the Russian-born Elena Demyanenko and Chinese-born Dai Jian began discovering common threads that ran through their dancing careers. Both studied ballet early on, had extensive training in traditional / folkloric forms in their respective homelands, then discovered modern dance upon relocating to New York, which happened for both of them around the turn of the 21st century. Demyanenko became interested in contemporary approaches while studying at the Trisha Brown School, and as a dancer with Stephen Petronio for many years, eventually becoming a fully-fledged member of Brown’s company; and Jian still remembers the overwhelming exposure to the extraordinary amount of new dance he had a chance to experience here in the early 2000’s – eventually leading him to dance in Shen Wei’s company as well as Brown’s.
While maintaining active careers as performers for many years, Demyanenko and Jian had both sustained concurrent individual trajectories of contained choreographic explorations prior to their artistic paths’ coming together. Demyanenko believes that, while working for master choreographers, keeping a parallel track of making smaller works allowed her to experiment “on the side” without feeling the risk of failure; Jian also began making work at a young age, but went on a choreographic hiatus of sorts after moving to New York for a number of years until, as he put it, his body started finding its own language.
It was indeed that kind of vocabulary, that idiosyncratic way of expressing oneself physically that prompted the two dance makers to collaborate while dancing with Trisha Brown’s troupe. Having discovered a common interest in improvisational mindset, they started practicing before and after rehearsals and shows, interested in establishing an authentic physical dialogue, and researching possibilities that reached beyond the company mentality.
Blue Room, the production premiering at New York Live Arts this week, is Demyanenko and Jian’s first fully fledged collaborative work, and is very much a testament to the power of the pair’s highly intuitive approach. The two collaborators started working on the piece in the summer of 2012, without a set concept, without a finalized production plan (or venue, for that matter) and without a deadline. Rather than working towards a pre-determined goal, they were interested in sharing a common space in rehearsal, and exploring the encounter between two different physicalities. While excavating images that captivated their attention, they took note of such qualities and textures through a cumulative process, and those that emerged quickly and felt very resonant to both of them were notions of complex relationships and the passage of time. They also discovered that with this work, their tendency was to eschew abstractions, gravitating instead towards images that inherently embodied specific narratives or situations. Just how attuned they are not only to each other’s movements, but also to the material they are investigating was fully evident in a recent rehearsal of Demyanenko & Jian’s debut performance. Their bodies appear to activate the room, unlocking narrative potential in constantly shifting, unexpected ways. Their fascination with elusive intrapersonal dynamics and the complex nature of relationships comes though in a richly textured, deeply layered work. For these consummate dancers, and now, choreographers, the impeccable ability to trust their intuition clearly pays off.
– Ivan Talijancic
“I am not that assemblage of limbs we call the human body; I am not a subtle penetrating air distributed throughout all these members; I am not a wind, a fire, a vapor, a breath or anything at all that I can imagine. I am supposing all these things to be nothing. Yet I find, while so doing, that I am still assured that I am a something.” -René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy
“Denzel surrounds me.” -niv Acosta, denzel mini petite bathtub happymeal
To place Tess Dworman and niv Acosta on a Venn diagram of contemporary performance would be to see two separate, gathering storms of creativity, but with virtually no crossover. However, in 2012 both collaborated on one of Acosta’s performance projects, called excerpt hearts, an “under rehearsed cover band” exploring “an abstracted stereotype of our lesbian past lives” in Ralph Lemon’s all day event, The End, part of Danspace Project’s Parallels Platform; but for all intents and purposes their own choreographic strains are pleasurably dissimilar. However, in each runs a dynamic strain of self-reckoning, an attempt to explicate the ways that we see and experience ourselves both inside of and because of our bodies. What histories, what dilemmas, these bodies present (and represent) is a central question to both, albeit in very distinctly different constructions. The presence of each as a performer in her and his own work continues to be a central (and heretofore essential) element.
Seen comparatively with Acosta’s deeply personal i shot denzel, Tess Dworman’s macromen is an anti-personal micro-scale study of the body, with its complex and mysterious stories. One regularly witnesses the bizarre body in juxtaposition with the trained body, a world of highly ordered strangeness that brings to mind the stream of consciousness crafts of both Ivy Baldwin and Tere O’Connor (with whom Dworman has performed). Herein lies a cultivated virtuosity coupled with an often quotidian manner. (To me, Dworman’s earlier trials & variations & variations is like an early John Waters movie–a close-up, intentional, almost perverse aesthetic of oddity). Idiosyncratic movement is executed with complete matter of factness, set against classical shapes and relationships. The pas de trois structure allows for an abstract and unique exploration of a classic form, with moments of unexpected pleasure in unison and opposition. The work develops inexplicably, with events or physical states beginning and ending with arbitrary abandon (delivered nonetheless with a captivating pre-determinism), but the continued emphasis on the micro-functionings of the three bodies both as separate entities and often as one meta-unit is fascinating, compelling us toward itself with its theatrics and internal dynamicism. What can the body (and three bodies as one) do? What can it tell us? How much does it contain? How much can it be? How much can we be?
niv Acosta’s i shot denzel is the sixth, and perhaps final, episode in the denzel series, which he has been building and performing since 2009. Acosta works regularly with notions of impossibility, failure, and confinement in relationship to his queer-identified black trans-masculine body/identity/experience. The role and psychological projection of the American black male and black masculinity, as represented (almost like a poster on a bedroom wall) by the actor Denzel Washington is, again and again, an opportunity for a confessional, autobiographical grappling with Acosta’s basic quest: his fluid, indefinable self. That this self is a political and physiological crossroads of race, blackness, gender, queerness, sex and class makes this a powerful framework to explore the many ways that he, and we, might seek to answer that question. And of course, in the culmination of that quest, Acosta has perhaps inevitably arrived at patricide. We cannot survive under the same roofs as our fathers. As both a creative and metaphoric method for annihilating the overarching stereotypes and embodiment of what is and isn’t a Black Man, the patterned ways of seeing that are used to constantly define his existence, the very images and experiences he has simultaneously emulated and rejected, Acosta must destroy the archetype in order to fulfill his own destiny, to make room for his own undeniable being, seen/taken/accepted on his own terms. Distilling the previous denzel editions down to a final solo state, Acosta goes to battle like Oedipus with these kings, using Stravinsky’s sacrificial Le sacre du printemps as his soundtrack. Then, with a live brass band to back him, one wonders that he isn’t giving Denzel, and denzel, a New Orleans style funeral parade. A phoenix will rise from these ashes. Die, die, die.
During the annual APAP conference and Live Artery festival, the Suitcase Fund hosts current and new partners from the East and Central European region and invited guests, including:
Mojca Jug was born on 18th October 1974 in Ptuj, Slovenia. She finished her primary and secondary education in Ptuj and from 1995 to till 2000 studied Special education at Faculty of education in Ljubljana. In June 1998 she started to work in Bunker as coordinator and administrator of the first edition of international festival of theatre and dance Mladi Levi. She has worked for Bunker ever since and her major preoccupations within Bunker are:
- coordinating and artistic programming of Bunker’s venue, Stara elektrarna (an old power station)
- co-programming and producing the festival Mladi levi
- mentoring younger staff and volunteers
- in the past years she was also the producer of Betontanc, Sanja Nešković Peršin, Jette Ostan Vejrup, Lyrical moments in the city,… She was also the executive director of production house Fičo balet (2003 – 2005) and is producing a cycle of contemporary piano concert by Milko Lazar, as well coordinating a jazz program in café Repete, Ljubljana. Her programming work extends beyond Bunker and is invited as a curator and programmer to numerous festivals and platforms. She lives and works in Ljubljana.
Marta Keil (b. 1983) – performing arts curator, at the moment cooperates with the Centre for Culture in Lublin, Schauspielhaus Bochum, Institute of Contemporary Arts in Yerevan and Goethe Institute in Warszawa. She created and curates the East European Performing Arts Platform (www.eepap.org). Since 2012 program curator of Theatre Confrontations – international theatre festival in Lublin (www.konfrontacje.pl). Between 2008 and 2012 she worked as performing arts curator in the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and cooperated with the Theater Institute, where she has been curating the Dramaturgical Forum since 2008. Co-founder of the MicaMoca.Project Berlin: temporary performing art center in Berlin (2011). Between 2006-2008 curated Reminiscences – the international theatre festival in Krakow (www.krt-festival.pl). She has published in Dialog, Dwutygodnik, Teatr, Didaskalia and Notatnik Teatralny. She writes a blog www.fraukeil.wordpress.com. PhD student at the Polish Academy of Science’s Art Institute (thesis: curatorship in contemporary performing arts).
Elianna Lilova is a culturologist, arts manager and communication specialist. In the recent years she has been working mainly for the development and diversification of social and cultural life in Bulgaria, organizing and participating in numerous cultural projects in the country and abroad. After several dynamic years devoted to advertising and public relations, recently Elia is seriously involved in the field of cultural engineering and building sustainable cultural policies. Elianna is part of EDNO events from 2007. She also works as a freelancer for some of the most important cultural events in the country such as music festivals, concerts, exhibitions and more.
Gabriela Tudor Foundation is a leading pioneer organisation based in Bucharest (Romania) that was jointly created by Gabriela Tudor and Cosmin Manolescu with the aim to promote and support the development of contemporary dance in Romania. Since its inception in 1997 over 120 dance projects have been organised in Romania and abroad. The foundation also administrates the artistic activity of Cosmin Manolescu & Serial Paradise Company and of United Experts, a registered label for cultural development created by Gabriela Tudor in 2008. In 2009, following the passing away of Gabriela Tudor, the Project DCM Foundation changed its name to Gabriela Tudor Foundation and also became co-founder of the ArtistNe(s)t Association, Network of Artists-in-Residence Centres in Romania, offering residence opportunities for both Romanian and international artists in the fields of dance, music, visual and literature. The Foundation is a key partner of the Suitcase Fund since 1999. More recently in partnership with Movement Research, New York Live Arts, Romanian Cultural Institute in New York and National Dance Center in Bucharest, the Foundation initiated and co-organised between 2010 – 2012 the Moving Dialogue – a Bucharest/New York exchange in which over 12 choreographers and dance writers from USA and RO participated in residencies in New York, Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca. Since 2012 the foundation is currently running ZonaD, an independent space for contemporary dance and art created by Cosmin Manolescu and Stefania Ferchedau, who is currently organising workshops, residencies, movie presentations and artist talks led/with Romanian and foreign artists.
Anastasia Proshutinskaya(Curator and producer, ZIL Culture Centre) was employed with Dance Department of ZILCC in August 2012. At this position, she had launched several on-going programs (work-in-progress platform, curated solo productions, etc.) mainly focusing on emerging choreographers and their artistic development. She had been in charge of over 20 premiered productions on black box stage of ZILCC. Previously, from 2010 to 2012, she held the position of Programming Director for the International Dance Festival in Yaroslavl renowned as one of the first established contemporary dance festivals in Russia. One of her recent independent projects was a dance production «slovo», choreographed by Elena Demyanenko (NY, USA). Anastasia Proshutinskaya accuired an M.A. in Performance Studies from The Southern Illinois University and held internships at such prominent art spaces as New York Live Arts and The Kitchen (New York, NY USA).
Gergely Talló (Director – HU). It was in Pécs, one of the biggest cities of Hungary that he first engaged in cultural and educational organizing, managing at Laterna Magica association. The association under his leadership focused on motion picture programmes linked directly to the educational profile of the University of Pécs.
He moved to Budapest in May 2000 and started working as Director of Workshop Foundation (WSF). Since then he has got to know the participants, problems, and background of Hungarian and International contemporary art life, especially that of performing arts. He actively participated in the organization of IETM’s Budapest general assembly in 2004, in the creation of Budapest’s application for Europe’s Cultural Capital 2010, and in the creation and elaboration of other professional materials (a study looking into the difficulties concerning the financing of independent contemporary artists, the co-operation of professionals of contemporary dance and the cultural ministry preparing a bill regulating the area, etc). He was for two years on the board of Association of Contemporary Dancetheatres and he is a co-founder of the BESZT association.
In 2013 WSF opened a center with 3 new dance studios, with a guest room dedicated to host artists in residence, with an open office which is able to welcome 10-12 artists/art managers at the same time and with an access to perform and to rehearse on a stage with 120 seats. Gergely Talló’s next challenge is to build up and run a Foundation which operates 4 professional dance studios on 2 different places in Budapest.
Mira Todorova(PhD) is a free-lance theatre and dance theoretician from Sofia, Bulgaria. She works as a lecturer (at New Bulgarian University), researcher, editor and dramaturgical consultant for various artistic and theoretical projects. She is a co-founder and project manager of New Dramaturgies Platform, author and editor of the website for theory and criticism www.dramaturgynew.net. Since 2011 she is a programmer of the international contemporary dance festival One Dance Week. She has a book “Dramaturgical Adaptations in the Art of Postmodernism”, published in 2005.
Fresh Tracks is New York Live Arts’ signature program for identifying and supporting new voices in contemporary dance and performance. The program’s considerable legacy extends back to the very formation of Dance Theater Workshop itself in 1965, and it became the organization’s longest running program, migrating through a number of monikers — Studio Series, Choreographers’ Showcase, finally landing on “Fresh Tracks” in 1984. The fundamental core of the program’s mission, however, has remained the same throughout; to respond to the needs of artists and the field itself. With New York Live Arts’ support and commitment, it has continued its evolution from being primarily a performance showcase for many years into the year-long comprehensive performance and residency program that it is today, with New York Live Arts as its home. As a result, Fresh Tracks continues as a leading program that seeds the field with the next generation of promising new voices.
The program’s current architecture is based on the direct needs and feedback from the young artists themselves and from our audition panelists over recent years. Following this weekend of fully produced performances, each artist receives 50 hours of creative residency space in our studios in the spring and one-on-one sessions with an Artistic Advisor, Levi Gonzalez. Additionally, the artists together participate in professional development workshops and “Dialogue Sessions,” moderated by Levi, fostering an exchange of ideas about artistic process and challenges encountered in the field.
The Fresh Tracks program indeed provides key pragmatic tools to these young artists that directly relate to building a life as an artist. Moreover, the program gives these younger artists an important boost in a wider environment that often delivers such support sparingly, if at all. The program also gives a fundamental aspect of creative work, the idea of curiosity, a home, allowing other artists and audiences a peek into the early ideas that may well inform the next generation of makers and the form itself. And finally, the program keeps us as staff and institution connected to young, emerging ideas as they are forming within our current cultural terrain; it helps our efforts to stay nimble and open-minded in identifying what and who might deserve the important support our institution, New York Live Arts, can provide.
We are so pleased to welcome this year’s Fresh Tracks artists, Martita Abril, Maximilian Balduzzi, Ben Grinberg & Nick Gillette, Daniel Holt, Leslie Parker and Gabrielle Revlock. This year’s group represents a range of contemporary investigations by makers early in their careers that look at personal histories, spoken language, a range of codified dance forms and a look at the cultures that inform those respective forms. Like all the artists before them, these artists come with an insistent need to be heard. We are thrilled to give this new generation of voices an important and visible platform and, in turn, build a circular partnership where we too can learn from each of them.
Dance, like any artistic form, always counts on fresh and provocative ideas to catalyze and propel the form forward. We look forward with great interest to what these young makers do and accomplish as they carve out their artistic journeys, and we welcome them, and you, our audiences, into our home for this season!
– Carla Peterson (Artistic Director) and Benjamin Kimitch (Producing Associate and Assistant to the Artistic Director)
Featuring Martita Abril, Maximilian Balduzzi, Ben Grinberg & Nick Gillette, Daniel Holt, Leslie Parker and Gabrielle Revlock.
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About Daniel Holt
Daniel Holt hails from Central Valley California. He received his B.F.A. in Dance from The Ohio State University in Spring 2011. Holt now resides in Brooklyn, New York where he teaches dance and runs his dance company, Dirt, as well as his video company, Scarecrow. He has performed at Joyce SoHo, Jacob’s Pillow’s Inside/Out stage and The New York International Fringe Festival, among others. He has presented work under Dirt all over NYC, and in 2013 was invited to present in Chiasso, Switzerland as part of the Ticino in Danza Festival. Dirt works to create dance that truly encompasses the styles of contemporary, popping, krump, modern, hip hop and house. This type of mix and match approach, put together with a straight up sense of humor, raw theatrics and a steady ear to the current musical scene, are the types of fuel that guide Dirt. Holt also teaches across the tri-state area, including at Broadway Dance Center.
Featuring Martita Abril, Maximilian Balduzzi, Ben Grinberg & Nick Gillette, Daniel Holt, Leslie Parker and Gabrielle Revlock.
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