lemonade-rehsearsalI have returned to the studio with performers Ingrid Kullberg–Bendz and Irene Siegel to prepare for our upcoming performance of The Lemonade Variations. I am choreographing an additional five minutes at the beginning and—as our zeitgeist has changed so dramatically since November—I also am rethinking the section before the ending and considering how these new developments will impact the rest of the piece.

I am grateful for the opportunity to perform and discuss this work at DraftWork at Danspace Project in the beautiful, historical sanctuary of St. Mark’s Church on Saturday, February 25th, at 3 pm. Please note that the performance and discussion are free and open to the public. You are most welcome to attend the performance and, if your schedule and inclination permit, to stay for and participate in the post–performance discussion.

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LV-2nd-rehearsal_300After learning that I have been accepted to show work on Movement Research’s Monday Night Series at Judson Church in the fall (date TBA), I began to visualize more performers onstage for The Lemonade Variations. I invited Ingrid Kullberg-Benz, who has worked with me on previous projects, and Irene Siegel, who has not, to join me in the studio. They are both such accomplished pros that after just two two-hour rehearsals they have pretty much nailed the four-and-a-half minute theme containing many idiosyncratic shapes, gestures, rhythms and dynamics on which the other variations build.


Photo (L to R): Irene Siegel, Ingrid Kullberg-Bendz, and Laura Shapiro

retouched_DSC00209_500x517Late one night/early one morning, over a month ago, “Simoom,” the title of a CD by composer Lois V Vierk popped into my head, seemingly out of nowhere.

A few days later I searched for the CD and brought it into the studio. After listening to all three pieces several times, I concluded that the second piece, “Cirrus,” could work well for The Lemonade Variations.

Since the music is longer than the movement I had created, I have been lengthening some of the variations and brain-storming new ones. These investigations also have revealed more overt character/persona than I had been working with earlier.

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The Lemonade Variations is the title of a new work that I began creating this past summer. I continue to experiment with several movement variations of a basic phrase and am currently searching for music that works well with the movement and will allow for further variation in performance.

Other considerations not yet decided are whether to expand the piece with sections of spoken text, whether to include other performers and, if so, whether they will be performing live or on video.

In the meantime, yellow is a wonderful color to contemplate in the winter.

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I am grateful that friends and colleagues provide positive feedback and am fascinated by the way each person relates to a performance according to his/her own mindset. Dixon Place was the third venue where friends viewed After All, and they mentioned seeing new things at each performance:

  • A musician friend was struck by the unusual timbres created by the cello.
  • A writer who works in film as well as print found the integration of music, movement, and visuals seamless.
  • A neuromuscular therapist and former dancer commented on the articulation, power, and intensity of the movement.
  • A colleague who teaches dance composition found the movement choices thought–provoking, and two Tibetan Buddhist practitioners saw bardos (in–between states).

One friend told me that After All looks like a completely different piece in each venue because the video projection changes so significantly in each space. A videographer who came to the spacing rehearsal in the theatre sat in the last row during one runthrough and in the first row during the second and also commented it was like viewing two different pieces.


Video capture After All at Dixon Place

 

In case you haven’t received the MailChimp announcement I sent out a few weeks ago, click here for ticket information for Dixon Place Presents Crossing Boundaries Series, curated by Marcia Monroe, on September 29, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. Also on the program will be work by choreographers Amos Pinhasi, Kyle Georgina Marsh, and Natalia Fernandes.

 


Photo: Ian Douglas

Laura-Shapiro_Chi-Kung-in-the-Park_4x6For dancers and non–dancers of all ages and levels of fitness, I teach Chi Kung: Damo I Jin, an all–standing form of Chi Kung, in Prospect Park on Sundays at 11 am. We meet at the 9th Street entrance, at the benches behind the square sculpture, and then walk into the park and choose our location for the day.

Damo I Jin is a “sinew-changing” form of Chi Kung that includes special breathing techniques, isometrics, and challenging twists, bends and squats—modified for each individual as appropriate. The benefits of this traditional practice include a clear, alert mind and increased energy with which to deal with the challenges of 21st–century life.

For directions and to register, please contact quicksilverdance@yahoo.com or 212-946-1537 by the Friday before the Sunday you are planning to attend. And please provide a phone number where you can be reached in case of last minute, weather-related changes.

A few weeks after being invited to perform After All on September 29th at 7:30 pm, for Dixon Place’s Crossing Boundaries (curated by Marcia Monroe), I was surprised to receive an e-mail informing me that the floor of the theater will be painted red for the month of September. My costume is red and collaborating video artist Andrew Gurian was planning to project from the balcony, from where the video will spill on the floor as well as the walls.

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Luckily, he is open-minded about this turn of events. He says we will have to wait until we see the color and finish of the paint and try projecting onto the newly-colored floor to find out how a red floor will affect the video projection. If the red is very dark, for example, we may have to rethink the placement of the projector and its spill. It is also possible that where the video is red, projecting it onto a red floor may result in white light.


Photo: Ian Douglas

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Recently receiving the video documentation of my performance of After All at the Tribute to Frances Alenikoff at Eden’s Expressway in June, I was surprised to see how the dimensions of the space and the location of the video projector brought my shadow into much greater prominence.

Aiming to figure out how to project the video for After All, video artist Andy Gurian and I were able to rehearse at Eden’s Expressway yesterday evening. When it was performed at Judson last year, with the projector at the front of the balcony, the video covered the entire space and I had an enormous area in which to perform. At Eden’s Expressway, a smaller venue with a much lower ceiling, I discovered that the video works best on two walls and will need to move within a much smaller space, posing a different creative challenge.

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My rehearsal overlapped with Kenneth King’s and we were able to watch each other’s piece, which we won’t be able to do on Friday as our pieces are being programmed back to back. Using a beautiful tone poem that Frances Alenikoff wrote and asked him to work with, he has created a dynamic performance piece, rich with his singular use of voice, gesture and movement.

Eden’s Expressway is on the 4th floor of 537 Broadway (Prince and Spring Streets, closer to Spring). Seating is limited. Tickets are $15 and will be sold at the door. Advance reservations may be made by e-mailing adgfest@gmail.com and putting “Bare Bones” June 19th in the subject line. For more information click here.