Articles Tagged ‘2017 - Vermont Performance Lab’

Ain Gordon: Radicals in Miniature

2015 + 2016 + 2017 Lab Artist: Ain Gordon

wwl10 122Ain Gordon is no stranger to VPL audiences. From 2011 to 2013 Gordon worked in VPL’s Lab to research and develop Not What Happened, an evening-length theater work that delved into Vermont’s 18th century history and explored the politics and ambiguities of our relationship to our past. Through his research residencies with VPL he worked with Forrest Holzapfel, a Marlboro-based historian and rural documentary photo artist, and with undergraduate students at Marlboro College.

Gordon is a three-time Obie Award-winning writer, director and actor, a two-time NYFA recipient and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow in Playwriting. He has been commissioned by venues around the country to unearth marginalized histories as source material for live theater – particularly as these stories reside in geographical “place.”

In Fall of 2015, VPL welcomed Gordon back for a series of visits to support research into developing a new theater work, Radicals in Miniature. Gordon researched radical movements in the '60s and '70s and how those movements manifested locally in southern Vermont. VPL, Marlboro College and Green Mountain Crossroads joined forces to link his research with undergraduate coursework and a community oral history project.

radicals smallThe collaboration included the creation of an undergraduate seminar course "The Politics of Change: Radical Movements of the Late 20th Century" co-taught by American Studies and Gender Studies faculty Kate Ratcliff, Gender and Theater Studies faculty Brenda Foley, Executive Director of Green Mountain Crossroads HB Lozito, and Gordon. Students read, researched and interviewed people involved in the movements from the local community. The course culminated with student presentations "Radicals in these Hills: Oral Histories of Vermont in the '70s" in the Marlboro College Campus Center.

Gordon writes, “I source real lives for live theater, focusing new attention on those who drift or are forced to the historic margin. My last five works scoured the 19th century; forcing back decade-by-decade toward a contemporary view of our past cleansed of nostalgia’s distorting glow. Now I turn to a nearly immediate past that already grows invisible.”

Radicals in Miniature is a series of textual/sonic odes to a generation of political radicals from the late 20th century America who were titans of creativity, many of who were struck down by AIDS and are now forgotten. In May 2016, Gordon returned to VPL’s Lab with collaborators composer/performer Josh Quillen and dramaturge Talvin Wilks to workshop material and test the work as part of VPL’s Open Lab.

View Ain Gordon's 2011-2013 Not What Happened residency.

Alice Gosti

2017 Lab Artist: Alice Gosti

gosti portrait

Alice Gosti is a dancer, choreographer, performer and filmmaker from Perugia, Italy who currently resides in Seattle, Washington.  She was raised in Italy in an Italian/American family of installation artists and architects. While movement is at the heart of her work, she uses all media to create cohesive environments in which the audience is invited to experience and perform. Her work is inspired by durational performance art by artists like Marina Abramovicć, Doug Aitken, Matthew Barney, Gina Pane, Yves Klein and Jan Fabre.

Through her work she aims to bring to the surface questions and ideas that are relevant to the contemporary human condition. In her current project “Material Deviance in Contemporary American Culture” (MDICAC) Gosti grapples with the complexity of immigration, homelessness and living in an object-based society where we define our identity through the objects we own. 

MDICAC is inspired by stories that populate our modern consciousness: immigrants and refugees who carry their homes on their backs; hoarders who compulsively accumulate; and America’s enduring homeless population. To make this work she is accumulating true stories to shape the narrative of this live performance. 

Research has found that 2-5% of the world has hoarding illness at some degree. Most hoarders are undiagnosed, live and die surrounded by their objects. For Gosti it’s hard to imagine how one can go from having a home one-day to being out on the street the next. As she has discovered, many homeless people start out with jobs and stable residences, but social and economic factors can rapidly change one's living situation. Research shows the two biggest factors driving homelessness are poverty and the lack of affordable housing. 

Gosti will come to VPL for a 10-day residency with a group of her collaborators who will work in the Drury Gallery at Marlboro College to further develop the performance and installation of MDICAC and work with undergraduate students.  As part of Gosti’s residency, VPL is joining forces with Groundworks Collaborative on a tent drive.  With the Seasonal Overflow Shelter closing at the end of April, we are seeking donations of lightly used tents or blankets. Donations can be brought to the VPL performance on March 8th or may be dropped off at Groundworks Drop In Center, 60 South Main Street in Brattleboro Monday – Friday from 7am-5pm. 

Cynthia Oliver

2015 + 2016 + 2017 Lab Artist: Cynthia Oliver

cynthia oliver 2015

A woman of Caribbean descent, Cynthia Oliver's work is a mélange of dance theatre and spoken word that incorporates textures of Caribbean performance with African and American sensibilities. She is a former dancer with numerous companies, including the David Gordon Pick Up Co., Ronald Kevin Brown/Evidence, and Bebe Miller Company. In addition to being a performer and choreographer, Oliver is an accomplished scholar with an ongoing research interest in the black female subject. She has published works in anthologies, exhibition booklets, the Movement Research Journal, and Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory. Her book, Queen of the Virgins: Pageantry and Black Womanhood in the Caribbean, was published by University Press of Mississippi in 2009.

Having spent the majority of her career looking at and offering insights into women's worlds, in 2015 she turned her attention to the male gender to discover another sensibility in a new work, Virago-Man Dem. In support of Oliver’s research in 2015, VPL created a discussion series through individual conversations and workshops with black men living in southeastern Vermont. Oliver worked with community members along with performer Niall Jones to investigate how they embody and "perform" the masculine.

Without resorting to stereotypes, Virago-Man Dem strives to locate the nuances, challenges, ambiguities and (un)certainties of masculinity and ask questions of race in a variety of communities that may differ. In their residency in July 2016, Oliver, along with four dancers and composer John Jennings dug further into the complexities of masculine representation in performance, and presented a work-in-progress to VPL audiences.

This year, Cynthia Oliver returns as one of our 2017 Lab Artists to continue her work. Join us, April 7th for her Artist Talk: Performing Arts and Social Practice, and again in early June for the much-anticipated preview of Virago-Man Dem. Please visit our Events listings for more information.

Ellen Furey + Malik Nashad Sharpe

2017 Lab Artists Ellen Furey + Malik Nashad Sharpe

Ellen Furey and Malik 4Web photo by Julia Bauer and by Corey MeltonAs part of a dance residency exchange between VPL and Studio 303 in Montréal, VPL is pleased to be working with Montréal-based performer and choreographer Ellen Furey and her NY/London-based collaborator Malik Nashad Sharpe, to support the development of their new duet, NO NATIONALISM. 

 The research for NO NATIONALISM comes out of the artists’ desire to aestheticize plurality-in-practice by fiercely rebuking insurgent nationalism. It is an attempt to detail both the affect and the effects of neoliberalism, as well as to address the artists’ longing for multiculturalist futures. NO NATIONALISM hopes to embed serious forms of rebuke and critique in the choreography by striking a balance between choreographic contradiction and contrast, with both profane and abstracted references to the political to the world to the predominant hegemony. 

 VPL audiences will have the opportunity to see the beginnings of this new duet as part of VPL’s Open Lab in July 2017. NO NATIONALISM will be presented at Theatre La Chapelle in Montreal and at Hackney Showroom in London, UK in Spring 2018.

 Ellen Furey was a company member at Dancemakers (TO) from 2012-2015 and has performed with a range of different artists including Daniel Léveillé Danse, Dana Michel, Montréal Danse, Marten Spangberg, Fréd Gravel, Nicholas Cantin, Benjamin Kamino, Amanda Acorn, Simon Portigal, Susanna Hood, Adam Kinner, Alicia Grant, Anouk Thériault, Winnie Ho, and Wants and Needs (Sasha Kleinplatz and Andrew Tay). Ellen co-runs Dance Danse Révolution; a new, tiny, event space for experimental dance practice and discourse in Montreal. 

 Malik Nashad Sharpe is an Associate Artist at Hackney Showroom (London), and a 2017 FIERCE Fwd Artist (Birmingham), where he is creating a new  work titled “$elfie$” under his solo alias, Marikiscrycrycry.  He is currently working with Project O (Jamila Johnson-Small) and Dalston Ballet (House O’Dwyer). Malik runs, and works in a small studio, ian’s RESEARCH BODEGA, in North London.

Greta Grineviciute + Agniete Lisičkinaitė

2017 Lab Artists: Greta Grineviciute + Agniete Lisičkinaitė

greta portraitGreta Grineviciute and Agniete Lisičkinaitė are the Lithuanian choreographic duo and creative minds behind the B & B Project. Greta is contemporary dance artist who is extremely interested in making dance films, choreographing for the stage and performing. Already Greta has made few dance films including Faked David which was selected to be a part of video dance festival From Jaffa to Agripas in Jerusalem in 2016.  She has performed with various choreographers in Lithuania and Europe including AIROS Dance Theatre, Simon Pederson, Tony Vezich, Andrius Katinas and others. Greta is deeply interested in developing the connection between contemporary dance for the stage, stage performance and video. She finds her self when she is acting on stage, and believes that people can speak through art about every theme you can encounter in a daily life, and even beyond it.  

Agniete is a contemporary dancer choreographer, performer and teacher. In Lithuania she is well known as a performer of AIROS Dance Theatre and LOW AIR Urban Dance Company. Agniete made her debut as a choreographer in 2014 with her piece Popular problem (Art Printing House, Vilnius). She is interested in combining contemporary dance with other types of art and how with this combination she can reveal the social themes. 

These two emerging Lithuanian choreographers discovered their alter egos, B & B, while in Ireland at an artist residency program, and the B & B Projectwas born. This is their first joint production. B & B are two blond girls, like twins, who like to dance, sing, travel and spread love all over the world. The two artists have been following the journey of these two characters as they travel the world and meet new people in various communities.  These adventures and their stories are captured on film and then also transferred to the stage through “B and B Dialogue.”

Greta, Agniete and B & B will be in residence at VPL for two weeks this summer. We are excited to see how these two artists from Eastern Europe will engage with and capture our community on film and dance.

Hanna Satterlee, Delaney McDonough + Caitlin Scholl

2017 Lab Artists:  Hanna Satterlee, Delaney McDonough + Caitlin Scholl

 hannahwVPL is pleased to be working with Vermont-based choreographer/performer Hanna Satterlee and her collaborators Delaney McDonough and Caitlin Scholl as part of our 2017 SEED Program. These artists have been working in sound, movement and performance and have known one another independently, and only recently have begun to work as a collective trio. 

Hanna Satterlee is a Vermont native, with passion for dance through her experiences as a teacher, company director, interdisciplinary choreographer, independent curator, and performer. She holds a double BA in Dance and Psychology with a concentration in Dance Therapy from Goucher College in Maryland, and a Masters in Fine Arts/Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College (VT/WA). Hanna is currently a guest professor at the University of Vermont, and continues to teach, perform and collaborate on a freelance basis. 

Delaney McDonough is a freelance performer and dance maker. In her professional career, she has worked primarily in collaboration with Cookie Harrist at Hio Ridge Dance. She is also a Co-Director of the Denmark Arts Center in Denmark, Maine; a curator of adult programming and Moving Target Portland at Studio 408 in South Portland, and a teaching artist at her alma mater Colby College teaching technique and partnering. 

Caitlin Scholl is a writer, arts educator, musician, and the co-founder and director of The Space We Make, a multidisciplinary performance collective based in Brooklyn, NY. Caitlin holds a BA in Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University. Presently Caitlin is working on a three-book collaboration of young adult fantasy fiction. She is the author of two books, and composes and performs original scores for dance. 

Their newest performance project “Voice and Vessel” brings the trio together to share their talents and vision of creating powerful performance. They recently wrote, “in this time of post - election grief, we are discussing and digesting how do we carry information? How do we process events that are happening, or unfolding? As three white women, we feel responsible for educating and using our voices and bodies to carry truth and clarity. Is there a threshold of where a woman becomes too upset and therefore becomes un-hearable? What can we say or how can we move to present a lasting impact? Who hears us? Who sees us? Why and when is what we wish to convey understood or misinterpreted?”

 "Voice and Vessel" is their first collaboration, a work that seeks to explore how we each uniquely carry information in the vessels of our minds and the vessels of our bodies.  VPL audiences will have the opportunity to see early developments of the project during the 2017 Open Lab in July.

Sara Smith

 2016 + 2017 Lab Artist: Sara Smith

Sara Smith photo by Adam LevineSara Smith is an interdisciplinary choreographer and librarian based in Greenfield, MA. She is also the editor of KINEBAGO, a journal that provides a forum for writing by and about New England dance makers and movement researchers. Smith's performances, installations, and designs traverse dance, visual art, writing, and historical research. Her work has been seen and heard throughout the U.S., and she has received support from The LEF Foundation, the Durham (NC) Arts Council, the Maine Arts Commission, Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, and the North Carolina Arts Council. She has received residency fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and Yaddo, and a 2015 creative research fellowship from The American Antiquarian Society.

In 2016, Smith embarked on the first part of her residency support at VPL to continue to develop a new multimedia performance work Florence Rice Hitchcock and the Theory of the Soft Earth. Collaborators included performer Candice Salyers, and scenic artist Gina Siepel. Florence Rice Hitchcock and the Theory of the Soft Earth combines dance with computer animation and mock documentary to explore ideas of interconnectedness and indeterminacy through the story of Florence Rice Hitchcock, a nineteenth-century geologist who has visions of twentieth-century science. While in residence, Smith worked with Salyers to develop new movement material to test in front of audiences at VPL’s Open Lab in May 2016.

the Everett Company

2017 Lab Artists: the Everett Company

Everett freedom portraitSince 1986, the Providence-based Everett Company has been devising multidisciplinary theater works that tour nationally. Everett productions are developed through a research-driven multi-year process that examines questions of urgent interest to the ensemble and to society. Research material is explored through improvisations, which enable the subconscious mind to make unexpected connections between seemingly disparate elements. Improvisations are videoed, and the directors select exceptional brief moments of text, movement, imagery, or song for the ensemble to meticulously relearn. Once a critical mass of strong sequences are created, they are continually shuffled until the overall shape and meaning of the work emerges. Humor is utilized, even while addressing serious subjects, to leaven difficult material and make it more approachable. Narrative threads interwoven with more abstract sequences create a tightly edited collage that provide audiences with multiple points of entry into the work, impacting viewers in a personal and unique way depending on what experiences they bring to a piece, and their interpretations.  

 Everett’s newest work, the Freedom Project- a multimedia physical theater piece that interweaves gripping personal stories, evocative imagery, and athletic choreography in an examination of mass incarceration in America. Engaging audiences on visceral emotional and intellectual levels, the piece puts a human face on the alarming statistics by evocatively sharing stories of people who have been marginalized by incarceration. Built from research and the personal experience of the cast, each of whom has a friend or family member who has been in prison, the piece is a collage of facts, visual metaphors, poetic stage images, spoken word, and movement. People with direct experience of the criminal justice system were brought into the creative process. Some of them appear in the piece via beautifully choreographed video projections on moving scenographic elements. To further ask “How can performance most effectively contribute to a movement to end mass incarceration?” 

 In 2017 VPL will host a two-part residency with the Everett Company using the Freedom Project as a way to bring attention to and create civic dialogue around incarceration and issues affecting prisoners and their families in our rural communities. Visit VPL’s event page for details about the Freedom Café and performances of the Freedom Project.