Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Save the Date: January 16-19th

TDP's tour will have it's first stop in Northampton, MA on January 16-19th.

Come see what choreographing across state lines and through the mail produces in this innovative multi-state collaboration that uses the classic game of "telephone" as a collaborative tool.

Location: Amherst College and Smith College
Time: TBA
Tickets: TBA

Sneak Peak Into What TDP Is Doing

Meet the Dancers: Barbara Tait

Barbara Tait is a long, tall Texan, dance artist, poet (under the name Charlie Bennett), and pseudo-librarian who relocated to Philadelphia in 2009 after graduating from the University of North Carolina Greensboro with a B.A. in Dance and minors in English and Psychology.

As an art-maker, she is interested in exploring the questions: what role does dance have in community development and cultural construction? how can dance help create empathy? and, what is the informational value of movement? She thinks all movement has communicative value, and this belief has led her to pursue collaborations with dancers and non-dancers alike.

Her community-based projects include co-organizing Philadelphia Rising, a call to end violence against women, with Saroya Corbett, Colleen Hooper, and Katherine Kiefer Stark, and making a video performance piece on patrons of the Free Library Hot Spot at Heavenly Hall in collaboration with Colleen Hooper.

She has studied movement techniques with B.J. Sullivan, Gerri Houlihan, John Gamble, and many fabulous others, and has performed in North Carolina, New York, and Pennsylvania with The Naked Stark, John Gamble Dance Theater, Nick Cave, Mereminne Dancers and Vervet Dance. In addition to her work as a dance artist, Barbara is a Digital Resource Specialist at the Free Library of Philadelphia and an Archives Associate for the Local Dance History Project at Philadelphia Dance Projects. She recently graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with her Masters in Library and Information Science.

Meet the Dancers: Katie Sopoci Drake

Katie Sopoci Drake is a Washington D.C. based professional dancer, choreographer and teacher specializing in Laban-based contemporary dance.  

She has been on faculty at UW-Milwaukee, Nova Southeastern University, Miami Dade College, Wolfson and Kendall Campuses, Carthage College, and Lawrence University. 

As a performer, Sopoci is described as a "sinuous, animal presence of great power; watching her dance is a visceral experience." (Third Coast Digest, 6/12).  Company credits include Mordine and Company Dance Theater of Chicago (2012-2013), Momentum Dance Company of Miami (2009-2012), Wild Space Dance Company of Milwaukee (2005-2009), and Rosy Simas Danse of Minneapolis (2001-2005).  Katie has also made appearances an an independent artist with many companies including Brazz Dance, Your Mother Dances, The Florentine Opera, and The Minnesota Opera.  

Katie's choreography, described as "a beautiful marriage between choreography, music and poetry" (On Milwaukee, 12/06) and "sinuous, sensual beauty" (Journal Sentinel, 11/07) arises from her explorations in Laban Movement Analysis, her fascination with the idiosyncrasies of daily life, and the flights of fancy that arise from ordinary inspirations.  Her work has been performed by Momentum Dance Company, Wild Space Dance Company, Your Mother Dances, The Florentine Opera, Lawrence University Opera, Carthage College, Miami Dade College - Kendall Campus, Miami Dade College - Wolfson Campus, and Broward College. Independent productions have been presented at The Southern Theater, Patrick’s Cabaret, Danceworks Performance Studio and The Milwaukee Art Museum.  

Holding an MFA in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a  Graduate Laban Certification in Movement Analysis from Columbia College - Chicago, and a BA in Theatre/Dance with a minor in Vocal Performance from Luther College, Sopoci continues to take classes in as many dance techniques as she can handle, her beloved capoeira and various somatic practices to inform her work and life as a curious mover.

Katie spends her free time exploring the local flora and fauna with her husband. They both adore bird-watching and are aspiring naturalists. Nothing in life is so simple that it cannot invoke myriad dreams.

Meet the Dancers: Rachel Rugh

Rachel Rugh is a dancer, teacher, mover and shaker currently residing in the hip little hamlet of Blacksburg, VA.  She received a BA in dance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2008, and moved to the Pacific Northwest a year later.  During her four-year tenure in Seattle, she worked with several prominent Seattle dance artists including Pat Graney, Jurg Koch and Amy O’Neal.  In 2012, she was one of four emerging choreographers selected to create new work in the Bridge Project space residency at Seattle's Velocity Dance Center. Her choreographic work has also been presented at the Seattle International Dance Festival, Lo-Fi Arts Festival and Evoke Productions' Full Tilt (Seattle, WA).  Rachel teaches modern dance technique, composition and improvisation at several institutions throughout the New River Valley.  She is currently a guest instructor in contemporary dance at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA and Trillium Performance Collective in Lewisburg, WV.  Rachel began collaborating with Eliza Larson as a member of Larson's Greener Grass Dance Project in 2010.  Since relocating back to the East Coast in 2013, the two friends have rekindled their collaborative partnership as the performance duo, Mountain Empire.

As a dance artist, Rachel strives to make work that is honest, irreverent and intelligent.  She utilizes the bodies of dancers, trained and untrained, to create relatable emotional experiences in a performance setting.  Rachel’s pieces often take on a meditative quality: she has found live performance to be the ultimate mindfulness practice-- a shared experience in which the performers, and hopefully the audience, are focused on absolutely nothing else.  When our minds are clear and our focus is on the present moment, we radiate joy. 

Meet the Dancers: Eliza Larson

Eliza Larson is an independent dancer, choreographer, artist, writer, teacher, scholar, and administrator based in Northampton, MA.  She is one half of the collaborative duo Mountain Empire, and she currently performs with the Telephone Dance Project, Safi Harriott, and Troy Mercier’s Intimacy Project.  

She holds an MFA in Dance from Smith College where she was a Gretchen Moran Teaching Fellow in the Five College Dance Department.  Eliza graduated cum laude from St. Olaf College (Northfield, MN) with majors in Dance and English before moving to the Pacific Northwest.  

Her choreography has been presented around the country, including at the H Street Theater in Washington, DC; Conduit Dance Center and the Pacific NW College of Art in Portland, OR; the OK Hotel Gallery and Velocity Dance Center in Seattle, WA; Earthdance in Plainfield, MA; and the Southern VT Dance Festival in Brattleboro, VT.  

She has performed in works by Kathleen Hermesdorf, Ohad Naharin, Colleen Thomas, Angie Hauser, Paul Matteson, Chris Aiken, Cathy Nicoli, Ming Yang, Mark Haim, Deb Wolf, KT Niehoff, Jan Erkert, Adele Myers, and Kristin Hapke among others, and was an original member of the Weaving Dance Company from 2006-2008.  

This past summer, Eliza was an inaugural member of CREAP - Creative Engaged Artists of Ponderosa, an artist residency program in Stolzenhagen Germany.  Eliza is also a writer and scholar.  She is the author and illustrator of Terpsichore’s Deck, a set of 52 choreographic cards to use in dancemaking and performance.  

In fall 2013, Eliza presented her research on gender in dance at the Congress on Research in Dance/Society of Dance History Scholars joint conference at UC Riverside.  

What is the Telephone Dance Project?

Do you remember the "telephone" game? One person whispers a phrase to another, which is passed down a line of people until the phrase becomes increasingly distorted and the original meaning is lost.  Hilarity inevitably ensues.

The Telephone Dance Project turns the classic game of "telephone" into a long-distance collaboration tool. Over the past several months our four collaborators, spread over 4 different states, have been creating choreographic material inspired by their own geographical location, transcribing it, sending it to each other via snail mail, and letting each recipient reinterpret it as they pass it down the line.  With each reinterpretation, the movement changes until finally it barely resembles the original phrase.  These phrases are then used to create an improvisational score, directed by each participant in their own home state, that bring each location and inspiration together.  The dance will change with each performance and each new location.

Performances of the Telephone Project will happen across the East Coast, starting in Northampton, MA, traveling through Philadelphia, Washington DC, and ending in Asheville, NC.   Each performance will be quite different from the next: a concert of improvisational dance; a salon; a performance at the zoo!  The dance emerges anew each time it is performed: duration, sound/music and creative choices depend on the specific place and time occupied by the participants. 

Travel with us in person or on this blog as we reinterpret what it means to dance across the country.