Saturday, August 29, 2009

(End of) Summer News Letter

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I hope the summer found you with time to unwind and enjoy! Here’s my news:

In May I attended the Dublin Dance Festival where I saw some of the very intelligent mixture of text/video/movement that is coming out of Europe and Australia. Lucy Guerin Inc. who will open our next Bryn Mawr season was a knockout, and Rachid Ouramdane from France was able to use two sorts of literary voices so effectively in relating about his Algerian father’s fighting in Vietnam that it was deeply moving. I posted excerpts from my report for Dance Advance (which, along with the DDF’s sponsors and the Pennsylvania Presenters Travel Fund, subsidized the trip) on my Writing My Dancing Life weblog.

A side pleasure was getting to see Francis Bacon’s painting studio and an installation by Yinka Shonibare who now has a retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum. And how Dublin has blossomed in the 20 years since I was last there! We also spent a day in Rotterdam for the Operadagen Festival and Danny Yung’s “Tears of Barren Hill,” a masterwork in the stripping –down-to essences vein.

In June I was part of a Dance Advance-sponsored visual arts/ performing arts trip to Ohio and St. Louis with highlights including a William Forsythe installation. Read excerpts from my report here.

Regarding work-in-progress on “Red Thread” (opening March 2010), Meg Foley and I conducted ongoing research during the spring and have some intricate bits that now resonate with what we saw from Eva Karczag and Vicky Shick at our Swarthmore showing in April. In August, Eva, Vicky and I met up in Arnhem, the Netherlands for a work intensive at the ArtEz Dansacademie. We posted to our weblog with a daily rehearsal log so you can read all about it! And Gabrielle Revlock and Michele Tantoco have agreed to join the project. I’m thrilled with this cast!

“Red Thread,” being inspired by patchwork and women’s quilting circles, has challenged me to reconnect with that craft. At Karme Choling in Vermont, I initiated a sewing circle for all who wanted to work with a needle during the week of Family Camp. We had about thrity takers!

Auspiciously, during a tour of Amish country in July, we wandered into the quilt studio of Hannah Stoltzfoos of Smoketown who was very open to talking about her quilt-making. She seems to do a thriving business and had some lovely examples to show. It felt like talking across the centuries - one woman who lives without electricity or combustion engines speaking with another who uses the internet continually and is on the move in a Mazda. Where do we meet? In the love of pattern, color, and stitching…

On the writing front, Dr. Donna Jo Napoli, Chair of Linguistics at Swarthmore, and I just completed our paper on “Parameters of Language and Dance.” I have been invited to write on Twitter for the Live Arts/Fringe Festival, a new frontier for me. And as a final bit of good news, the Leeway Foundation just announced their next round of Art and Change Grants and “Red Thread” is among the grantees!

All good wishes,

P.S. With the news of Merce Cunningham’s death at 90, here’s a deep bow to him as a pivotal pioneer and teacher.