CJ/MAPS DIARY - 2003-2004 SEASON
AN OPEN REHEARSAL CELEBRATION - Rachel Cohen, (choreographer) Agata Oleksiak, (costumer), myself (dancer and artistic director), my babysitter, Irma and my husband (my best volunteers) were negotiating the downtown crowds with the props from a dance that Rachel, Agata, and I just began collaborating on that summer, "The Goddess of Recycling"... We were trying to make our way from our place on Spring and Broadway to Prince Street and Broadway (one block) while carrying a large Marie Antoinette style paper dress, a huge square of paper boxes (worn under the dress to keep it's structure), paper undergarments, a heavy metal clothes rack, various fans, paper dolls and gigantic rolls of newsprint. What a curious and cumbersome parade we made as we progressed slowly (in fits and spurts) towards our destination -The Paul Taylor Dance Foundation Studios and our Open Rehearsal/Fundraiser/Celebration. Once we managed to get all the props into the studio things began to flow. We were celebrating becoming a non-profit dance company with friends, dance, food, and drink. I showed two new solos in progress , The Goddess of Recycling/looks good on paper, a collaboration between Rachel, Agata, and myself, and The Goddess of the Playground, a dance created for me by another new friend, the talented choreographer and Bessie award winning dancer Larry Keigwin. Janis Brenner, the award winning dancer/choreographer/vocalist was a guest goddess that evening and performed a stirring solo for voice created for her by Meredith Monk. Jeanne Finnerty and Ed Hanna, my talented video collaborators, presented a clip from a video created about my 2001 show "Revealing Isadora..." and finally I performed one of my favorite dances, "Meditation" choreographed by the dance goddess from Canada, Margie Gillis. Ninety-eight people crowded the Paul Taylor Foundation Studios to celebrate! Friends from the dance world, friends from my hometown Charotte Amalie, St.Thomas, Virgin Islands, friends of my mother and father, fellow parents from my eldest son's school, friends from New Jersey (who waited in 3 hours of traffic just to make the party), friends from all areas of our life altogether in one room, coming together to enjoy dance and share in our efforts to create moving arts projects. It was a great way to celebrate the companies work and new non-profit status! We will have to have more open rehearsal/celebrations - just not in Soho during the holiday shopping season!
DANCENOW NYC/KEIGWIN+KABARET- I was invited by Larry Keigwin to perform The Goddess of the Playground as part of The Keigwin Kabaret/DanceNOW/NYC at Joe's Pub at The Public Theater here in NYC. What was challenging was taking a dance which Larry choreographed on me in a large room (my rehearsal studio is 40 by 30 feet) and reducing it to a 10 by 14 foot stage where front is not really front but rather on a diagonal. I have performed in a lot of interesting places, but never in an intimate cabaret setting. If I took a step too far I would have landed in someone's chicken dinner or mojito. (fortunately that didn't happen) The show celebrated Valentines Day and The Goddess of the Playground opened the evenings festivities. What fun! My costume created by the super designer, Liz Prince, was perfect for the evening (a flouncy green tutu made from aquarium grass (which Liz had to special order from Petco). and air conditioner foam - she wanted it to look as if I was actually part of the playground -...high heeled red sneakers...hot pink fishnets decorated with huge safety pins...a flowery bustier...and punky fingerless satin gloves decorated with strawberries...Alice in Wonderland meets Cindy Lauper. It was great to be part of such a varied talented line-up of artists. ...Larry and his dance partner Nicole Wolcott, danced, choreographed, and emceed the evening with zany flair, Amhos Pinhasi and his dancers, David Neumann, Monica Bill Barnes (just some of the artists on the bill), and the unique Doctor Donut, who in real-life is a mild mannered soft spoken friend of Larry's, but on stage ,is a smoking, swearing, donut swilling, mad at the world kinda guy made out of krispy cremes and eclairs...he is wicked and hilarious. It is a treat to not be sooooo serious, to dance and laugh. Laughter gives us a respite from the worlds difficulties and I think we need alot more of it.
Christine Jowers/Moving Arts Projects presents A MOVING KIDS SALON, a performance for kids and their grown-ups. A delighted audience of kids and parents danced with me and my guest artists, Keigwin+Company, at the Children's Aid Society on Sullivan Street in NYC. I am so proud to have created the Moving Kids Salon. The idea is that dance is for everybody (not just professional dance artists), and in the informal setting of a salon we can experience dance in a more personal way. I share families the experience of being a dancer by simply illustrating the processes I work on when creating. It is a treat for us dancers to break down that wall that exists between the audience and the performer and invite our viewers to work with us on stage... and what's great is that most kids are not at all shy about joining us. As a parent raising two little boys in New York City and always on search for high quality creative activities for my children, it means alot to me to sponsor and perform in these creative afternoons. I performed the Goddess of the Playground and asked the audience to notice the everyday moves of the playground that inspired the piece. Yeah, running, wallking, skipping, and leaping... kids dance everyday, and so do their parents... (sometimes it just takes a professional dancer to remind us about that) Larry Keigwin and Nicole Wolcott presented "Urban Birds" a piece inspired by watching birds while on the beach in Long Island. We all became birds, tigers, and fish; swimming, flying and stalking each other in the studio. It was a great day of dancing and creation... and in 2005 I am planning do more of these special performances.
Henry Street Settlement/Kun Yang Lin/Dancers - Kun Yang Lin and I have know each other for a long time. First we were classmates at the Limon Studio, then we danced in a company which recreated the choreography of Doris Humphrey I was his rehearsal director for a brief time during that period, and when I started to work on my "Revealing Isadora..." production back in 1999, right after the birth of my first son, Kun Yang was one of the first choreographers I worked with. He created a special solo for me, Voice of Light. The inspiration being the waves... the idea of birth... of hope... of new beginnings... and Isadora Duncan. I look on this dance as a prayer. The more I perform it, the more I discover its beauty and depth. I was honored to be invited as the guest artist in Kun Yang Lin/Dancers performances this past May. I performed Voice of Light in a beautiful new costume designed for me by the incomprable Naoko Nagata, its sheer layers remind me of sea foam... I received great responses from the audiences (bravos and bravas) and from the dancers in Kun Yang's Company (it means alot to get this kind of feedback from peers). Since this show, I am proud to say that I have joined the Board of Kun Yang Lin/Dancers. This is a new role for me, and I look forward to the continued success of my friend and his talented company.
The Yard - Martha's Vineyard, Ma. - This summer I was fortunate to recieve a subsidized space grant from The Yard for developing my work. I decided to invite Catherine Gallant, Artistic Director of Dances By Isadora, and several of her dancers to join me at The Yard to create a new show together combining traditional Duncan repertory with contemporary elements from my 2001 "Revealing Isadora..." production. It is amazing what one can accomplish in a week when removed from the crazy schedules of New York City. We established our children's program, Interactive Isadora, which will be coming to a theater space/studio near you in 2005 as part of CJ/ Moving Arts Projects/Moving Kids Salon Series, and I also decided to invite Catherine's Company to perform in my NYC Season in November of 2004. We had a fabulous time creating, sharing, and teaching community classes to the enthusiastic dancers of Martha's Vineyard... and yes we did make it to the beach! Catherine is not only a talented dancer but she has had so much experience leading dance programs NYC. She was assistant director of the 92nd Street Y's Dance Program for several years and she runs the dance program at PS 89 and is currently working with the Department of Education to develop a curriculum for dance in NYC Public Schools. It has been fascinating working with her. I think Isadora Duncan would be proud! I anticipate more collaborations with this strong company. It is time like this at Martha's Vineyard that I treasure, being in nature and having access to the lovely studios and facilities of the Yard, making work everyday that is pure joy... Thank you Pat Nanon for creating The Yard... and thanks Lois Welk for inviting Christine Jowers/Moving Arts Projects for a visit.
DanceWave Summer Intensive Performance-Brooklyn, NY - I was happy to share my dances with the students of Diane Jacobowitz's summer dance series... especially since when I first came to NYC I danced for Diane.
I performed the Goddess of Recycling, and Janis Brenner's creation for "Awakening Dancing Goddesses", Laugh/Cry - The Goddess of Changing Landscapes... as always it is fascinating to hear what kids have to say about the choreography, because they are very free and unguarded with their comments... as a performer it helps me figure out if I am on track with my performances and my communication of the art works I dance... with my collection of works for "Awakening Dancing Goddesses" the choreographers and I are working to create dancing goddesses with unique stories of their own... spirits that speak of the unique dancing nature of our city... one student saw the goddess in the Goddess of Recyling as strong and beautiful... "while the world is falling about all around her and she transforms from one thing into something else... she always puts on her lipstick... it is important for girls to look good no matter what".
One of the students commented about Laugh/Cry... saying at first she saw a young girl looking at herself feeling pretty and confident and in the next section of the dance she saw someone older and falling apart... she felt uncomfortable with the crying like perhaps she shouldn't be looking at the dance... This sharp contrast in feeling of each section despite employing the same movement phrases is what Janis and I were going for in this dance...
DanceNow NYC- Joyce Soho, NYC Fall Festival in NYC. Robin Staff brings together so many different communities of dancers. It is a marvelous feat... and a big pleasure to be part of anything this organization does. I love being part of this festival as an artist, volunteer helper, and audience member. This year I was all three.
October 2004 - November 2004
See OUR SEASON FINALE at the beginning of this newsletter for info.
A well deserved rest...