Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Olive Branches to Monk (Merián Videos)

View from the dance studio at the Liguria Study Center
I have been in residence at the Bogliasco Foundation’s Liguria Study Center in Italy for the past month.  It’s been an enormous privilege to have the time to focus on my creative work.  I’ve been exploring the Ligurian coast, spending a few hours a day in the studio, and I’ve also been making lots of videos. 

The first video project I completed was a videocard for Meredith Monk.   Meredith was my first dance composition teacher at NYU, in 1975.  I loved her and her work and did various intensives with her company over the next few years.  I’ve been singing while dancing in my work ever since that first course.  Pedacito de Cristal, created that year, was the first of many works that incorporated singing.  It was also the first work where I explored drawing from popular Afro-Caribbean dance forms to create concert dance. 

A couple years ago when Meredith was in residence at Bryn Mawr (thank you, Lisa Kraus, for organizing that remarkable week of workshops, film screenings and performances!), I was once again struck by the recognition of how impactful early influences can be.  Even though you move on to other things and forget, they nonetheless become part of you in a very deep, often unconscious, way. While engaging with Meredith's work again after so many years, I recognized the lineage — her work with archetypes, the minimalism, the delicious and superbly satisfying marriage of vocalizing and movement.  I could envision the strong complementarity of her music and the branch dancing. 

Fast forward to last August: Olive Prince and I spent several hours  in  Conwell Dance Theater at Temple University where I teach, exploring branch dancing to Meredith’s music.  In October, at the Liguria Study Center,  I edited the video I took of her performance that day.   Today, I share this with you.

Olive Branch Dances To Monk (Merián Videos)
Because of copyright issues this video is private.  email me if you want to take a look.  

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