Thursday, April 26, 2012

Killian Kroll has written a thoughtful review

Killian Kroll has written a thoughtful review in thINKing DANCE.

 The Topography of a Performance

Thanks Killian and thINKing Dance!

Photo by Michael Roberts

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Performance Today at Wave Hill-- 3:30PM

We will go ahead and perform today even though the forecast is for rain.   We certainly need the rain, the plants will welcome it.  This is part of the branch dance practice: we perform  with the elements-- cancellations only in EXTREME weather.   In about five years of performing the branch dances outdoors we have cancelled none!   We are grateful to Wave Hill for supporting the work.   We hope you will too!   Take a walk on the wild side!

There is an element of survival that comes to play under challenging conditions, and it can be quite thrilling to confront it.  I imagine it can be the same for the audience.   My best advice is to be prepared.  Bring an umbrella, wear a rain jacket or poncho and waterproof shoes.   Bring a change of clothes.   There are nice bathrooms at Wave Hill you can use to change into dry clothing after the performance.  

These are all precautionary measures.  With the weather you never know,  it may stop raining!

AND Wave Hill is extraordinarily beautiful these days.  We will will be performing by the ponds and the giant copper beech in the northeast end of the grounds.  The wonderful Harold S Smith will accompany us.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Off to NYC! Workshop today at 2PM.

Traveling to NYC this morning.   I'll be conducting an outdoor workshop open to anyone above 12 years old titled, Opening the Senses/Partnering with Nature at 2PM at Wave Hill.

Then rehearsing for the SPRING performance  that will take place tomorrow at 3:30 PM-- RAIN OR SHINE.  We've performed in a snowstorm, a little rain won't stop us!   Bring an umbrella and a rain poncho!

Hope to see you there!  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spring Performance at Wave Hill next Sunday

Its supposed to rain Sunday. We need the rain. And yet our performance is scheduled for Sunday. Will anyone come out?

We usually perform rain or shine. But in this case we need to work with Wave Hill. The staff has been incredibly supportive; they allowed us to perform during the storm last October which was an unforgettable experience. Not sure what they will decide this time around. So, stay tuned!

I am also conducting a workshop in Wave Hill on Saturday at 2PM titled Opening The Senses/Partnering with Nature. We will practice various movement techniques for expanding
sensory awareness and connecting to the elements. This workshop will be held outdoors and is intended for adults and young people ages 12 and older. More at

Lastly, I want to share a fine blurb about the work that appears in the April issue of Dance Magazine. Very cool.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Yesterday’s Performance

Thanks to all who came out yesterday. So many new faces! Iris Brown, Rafael Damast, Doug Herron, Michael Roberts... A special shout out to all my colleagues from Temple Dance! And special thanks to Karen and Deanna Bond, Jung Woong and Ari Kim and Pepón for your continuing support!

We were lucky to have gentle and supportive weather. The rain cleared early in the morning and the temperature was perfect.

The site, the falls north of Valley Green Inn, is perhaps the grandest of the sites we have worked in. The large rocks and fallen trees invited a different kind of balancing and contouring of the body as well as opportunities to meld so perfectly with the environments as to “disappear”.

As we settled into our spots before the start of the performance I looked for the dancers. Beau’s head and knees were barely visible from my high vantage point, probably invisible from most other spots on the West side of the creek. I could see Jumatatu’s branches leaning into the side of the hill but no Jumatatu.

I took a breath, looked within, and when I looked out again, there he was behind one of the branches! He had been there all the time! Pure visual magic!

Olive was twisted around one of the fallen trees and surrounded by the first audience members to arrive.

Marion was low, near the water, behind another fallen tree. I could see only the white of her pants through the spaces between the logs.

Harold blew the giant conch shell signifying the beginning. His didgeridoo, gongs, and conch shell carried well over the roar of the falls. He was like a shaman calling the elements and the fauna. As I moved slowly in the dance of somatic consciousness I saw a hawk approach and soar away, ducks stopped by on their way elsewhere, and various flying insects seemed to buzz around in harmony with the sounds. So much movement!

For me the challenge was to stay slow. Contouring rocks has always been challenging for me; I am usually confronted by pain along areas of the spine that have less flexibility, and the pain screams at me to

move away, and quickly. Balancing the branch provided a pathway into this dilemma, providing both a physical and focal counterbalance.

My task was to move smoothly and glacially from the starting rock , up the wall, and then to make my way along the wall to the edge of the falls. The greatest challenge was climbing the wall. I had practiced several times by moving forward up the wall, but one never knows where the body will find itself in this work. I found myself with my back against the wall. Pause, wait. My head was free. Pitching my head and weight back I was able to roll my way up. It was a struggle, another internal struggle constantly reminding myself to stay connected, to stay in the moment-don’t get ahead of myself, that feels thrilling to have accomplished. The walk along the wall was slow and treacherous. At one point the branch fell.

I waited in a squat and looked around: Juma was hanging off the two branches, Olive was balancing on the fallen tree.

No Marion. Beau was perched near the edge of the falls. I wanted to move toward him. I made my way slowly along the log that hangs right to the edge and waited looking into the rushing water so close below me, forcing myself to ground into the body and not give in to the fear of losing my balance and falling. Breathe, breathe. Harold signaled the end.

Photos By Gabe Osorio-Soto

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Performance today, 10:30 AM, the falls north of Valley Green Inn

I just saw the first signs of blue sky! I don't think its going to rain again this morning. If the wind is strong we will be able to admire the swift movement of white clouds against the blue sky. The dampness brings out the aromas of Spring.

You might want to bring something to sit on so your clothes don't get damp.

Hope to see you there!

See below for directions and other information.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Performance Tomorrow!

I'm excited about tomorrow's performance. This will be our first performance at the falls north of Valley Green. They are very beautiful these days.

Getting to the falls is a bit of an adventure. Give yourself time. Travel light. Bring water. Wear walking shoes with grip. Its going to be fairly warm tomorrow so you may want to use insect repellent. There's the possibility of rain. Bring an umbrella and/or raincoat. When in doubt follow the flour trail.

The closest parking spaces and bathrooms are by Valley Green Inn. Audiences who prefer a shorter walk should enter from Henry Ave. Enter on Wise's Mill Rd (north of Walnut Lane, south of Andorra) This will take you down to Forbidden Drive. (you can only travel one way) Follow Forbidden drive until you reach parking lot. (1/4 mile) The performance site is a 5-8 min walk from this parking lot. Walk North along the creek and find us on the right.

If you prefer a brisk hike enter from Valley Green Road. From Lincoln Drive turn right on McCallum St. Follow McCallum until it dead ends on Wolcott St. (After Allens Lane you will cross a bridge and the road will curve to the right. Do not turn right. Stop at the sign that says stop except right turn and go straight ahead. You will enter a housing complex). Make a left on Wolcott, follow it until it dead ends into Valley Green Road. Make a left on Valley Green road. The road will end in a parking lot, however, on Sundays that parking lot gets full pretty quickly so its probably best to park at the upper parking lot which you will see on your right soon after you turn left on Valley Green road.

The site is a 15- 20 minute walk from the upper lot.
Just walk down the road after you park (There' s also a side path bordering a stream which you can take. If you take the side path go all the way to the end and get back on the road). You will cross a bridge over the creek. Once you cross you will see a parking lot on the right. Walk through it and you will come to Forbidden Drive. Turn right (North) on Forbidden Drive. You will find us along the creek and waterfall a few minutes walk north from the parking lot.

For the very adventurous and fit, you may want to hike to the falls from the east side of the creek. Take the side path along the stream. You will come to a small foot bridge crossing the stream before the path curves back to the road. Cross the stream and follow the path. When you come to the crossing take the low path. It will take you to the falls.

See you there!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Branch Dance @ Wave Hill, Sunday April 22 at 3:30 PM

The SPRING performance of Branch Dances@Wave Hill will take place Sunday, April 22 at 3:30 PM at Wave Hill Art Center, the 28-acre public garden and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades, in NYC. The performance features performances by Beau Hancock, Jumatatu Poe, Olive Prince, Marion Ramirez, and Harold S. Smith on didgiredoo.

Come and enjoy the beauty of Spring at Wave Hill. It's a short 5 to 10 minute walk to the site from the entrance so wear comfortable walking shoes and give yourself plenty of time to get there. Audiences are advised to come prepared: check the weather forecast, and layer your clothing if its cool. Wear a hat and sunglasses. Bring water. Check this blog for last minute updates and for directions.

In addition, on Saturday April 21 at 2PM I will be conducting an outdoor workshop at Wave Hill titled Opening the Senses/Partnering with Nature. We will explore various techniques for expanding sensory awareness and connecting to the elements. The workshop is open to anyone 12 years and older.

Hope to see you there!