dance

On May 22nd, 2014, A MOVEMENT ACTIVITY ON THE RUG…

a moment in a movement activity on the rug

a moment in a movement activity on the rug

…with a few friends and a few brave and enthusiastic passers-by – where we make a living sculpture, taking turns coming out of it and responding with new positions – is a fun final activity (we lasted an hour, but I could really do all day long) on the rug before it is given a final installation by some Edible Schoolyard eighth graders with harvests from their gardens tomorrow for the closing.

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On February 28th, 2014, AN OPENING CEREMONY FOR ‘THE POSSIBLE’…

some instagram pics of us on the rug doing a durational movement activity throughout the opening

some instagram pics of us on the rug doing a durational movement activity throughout the opening

…tonight at the Berkeley Art Museum featured parades, masks, banners, and other things you need at an opening ceremony, and on the rug we did a durational movement activity with anyone who wanted to join (see 00:40 on this video from a 2009 project to get a sense of what it looked like), which was so much fun, I’d like to try it again with a big group and a time-lapse camera on a quiet afternoon before the show closes on May 24.

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On February 26th, 2014, A DANCE WORKSHOP WITH ANNA HALPRIN…

the Halprin's storied redwood dance platform

the storied redwood dance deck floating in the woods down the hill from the house that Lawrence Halprin designed for Anna

…at her Kentfield home/studio – where she has lived and worked since 1945 –  last night was a dream come true, joining around 30 other artists in the Berkeley Art Museum’s exhibition  The Possible for a few hours with my hero for some fun and energetic movement exercises.

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By Fritz Haeg on February 26, 2014 | dance
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On January 23rd, 2014, I + WE COLLECTIVE MOVEMENT WORKSHOPS…

various apparatus for the I + We Movement Workshops as H.R.

various apparatus for the I + We Movement Workshops as H.R.

…presented by Robby Herbst at Human Resources – LA’s favorite community artist-run performance/art space – for ten days of activities, is where I went tonight to join a group of eight mostly familiar friendly faces for a couple hours of activity and conversation around general ideas of collectivism.

I + We is an experimental and participatory (political) movement workshop. Borrowing techniques from dance, social sculpture, and new games, the structured hour and-a-half experience explores collective identity, play, and movement. Workshops  will include “floor work” and the use of “play apparatuses;” slides, ladders, masks, and restrictive toys. Sociologist Alberto Melucci suggests that in today’s alienated culture people find deep meaning and power through group identities that emerge through political social movements. 

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On January 21st, 2012, PIETER…

Nick Duran and Jmy James Kidd performing at Pieter

…is the cozy Los Angeles (but feels like a downtown NYC 1970′s loft, in a good way) dance community space less than two years old, that I wish had been around when I first moved to town..and tonight there was the pleasure of gathering in a seated semi-circle on the wood floor to watch Jmy James Kidd and Nick Duran dancing – really dancing. (website)

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On January 1st, 2012, A CUNNINGHAM COMPANY REUNION…

generations of dancers gather for the Cunningham Company reunion photo

…of dancers gathered for a group photo at the New Years Eve party following the finale company performance last night  at the Park Avenue Armory – an inspiring smiling chummy crowd of robust looking folks of all ages.

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By Fritz Haeg on January 1, 2012 | dance
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On December 31st, 2011, THE MERCE CUNNINGHAM COMPANY FINALE…

the company takes a bow on center stage after it's last performance

…tonight at the Park Avenue Armory was a New Years Eve spectacle on three stages spread through out the Drill Hall (where I did an infinitely more modest production of Animal Drills four years ago for the Whitney Biennial with just a circle of people in the center watching then performing the Animal Scores danced by 12 dancer friends) where we were treated to a mash-up of scores from the past 60 years, performed for the last time as the company disbanded at the final ovation which was long and warm – from an audience comprised mostly of Company family – such as Charlie Atlas seated in front of me – and then, rightly enough, it was to the dance floor where 2012 was danced in.

Merce Cunningham Dance CompanyChoreography by Merce CunninghamArranged by Robert SwinstonMusic by David Behrman, John King, Takehisa Kosugi, and Christian WolfDécor by Daniel Arsham

The Merce Cunningham Dance Company returns to New York City—its home since its founding in 1953—for six historic final performances at the Armory, culminating a two-year farewell Legacy Tour that brought the Company to more than 50 destinations worldwide. For this last engagement, the Company will perform a series of Events created especially for the occasion across three stages in the Armory’s dramatic drill hall. The Company has mounted these signature site-specific choreographic collages in unusual locations around the world throughout its nearly 60-year history, including two previous engagements in the Armory’s drill hall, a 1983 performance and the 2009 public memorial for the legendary dancer and choreographer. The Park Avenue Armory Events will feature the last-ever music commission by the MCDC Music Committee and a specially commissioned décor by visual artist Daniel Arsham, who will fill the drill hall with massive suspended “clouds” comprised of thousands of individual colored spheres. This momentous engagement marks the final opportunity for audiences to experience first-hand the work of Merce Cunningham as performed by the Company he personally trained and to celebrate Cunningham’s lifetime of creative achievement with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company before it disbands.

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On December 29th, 2011, CUNNINGHAM ARCHIVES AT THE WALKER…

Cunningham archives at the Walker

…seems tailor made for me, walking through the galleries, anticipating travel to NYC tomorrow, to see the finale New Years Eve performance of the company before it disbands. (Walker Art Center)

The extraordinary partnership between two legendary artists is the foundation for this installation of backdrops, props, and costumes created for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (MCDC). Merce Cunningham (1919–2009) and Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008), who repeatedly reshaped dance and visual art during their lengthy careers, collaborated on over 20 dance works between 1954 and 1964, a key period for both.Dance Works I features enormous curtains painted by Rauschenberg for one of Cunningham’s dance pieces that frame other rarely seen works he made for the stage, including large-scale sculptural objects that lend new perspective to his famous “combines” of the 1950s.  Over more than 60 years, Cunningham not only expanded the parameters of dance but also transformed the role of the visual arts within them. The choreographer developed relationships based on free-thinking experimentation and exchange with numerous leading artists, often bringing them into the sphere of dance for the first time. Dance Works Ishowcases one of the richest examples of this collaborative approach, inaugurating a series of exhibitions exploring Cunningham’s work with visual artists and drawing from the Walker’s 2011 acquisition of more than 150 works from the MCDC archive.

 

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On October 28th, 2011, JÉRÔME BEL’S ‘CÉDRIC ANDRIEUX’ AT THE WALKER…

Cédric Andrieux in Jérôme Bel's 'Cédric Andrieux'

…Art Center in Minneapolis tonight is especially exciting and anticipated since it’s the first time I will see his work in person, seeming to be just missing performances of his work for years like ‘The Show Must Go On‘  and ‘Pichet Klunchun and Myself‘ whereever I go…and then the great pleasure of seeing dancer Cédric Andrieux arrive on an empty stage in warm-up clothes with a duffel bag over his shoulder to simply tell (and dance) the story of his life on stage and in the rehearsal studio felt so connected to my interest in dance – which is not about performance, but about practice, not the monumental display of perfection, but the daily ritual or repetition, of daily intentional movement towards something you will never arrive at, and then relaxing into that (like Sundown Schoolhouse movement projects like  ‘Dancing 9 to 5‘ and ‘Practicing Moving‘).

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On September 5th, 2011, NIGHTLIFE IN OSTUNI…

late night dance and puppet shows on the streets of Ostuni

…which seems to be a very tranquil town during the day, surprised me last night when the very designy chic bars and lounges spilled out on the the ancient whitewashed pedestrian streets, and the whole town (crying babies, rambunctious kids, cool teens, strolling couples, shuffling elderly) turned out to fill the Piazza San Oronzo and surrounding streets which were punctuated by a range of performances and activities like puppet shows, break-dancing, cooking presentations, and a peculiar panel discussion up on a stage hosted by the local TV news anchor woman that featured a sparkling-costumed horse and rider and a group of folk dancers lead by a young man we later found out was the local meteorologist – whom after finishing his dance gave us the weather outlook for the rest of the week.

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By Fritz Haeg on September 5, 2011 | Italy
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On July 15th, 2011, ‘HUDDLE’ BY SIMONE FORTI…

Huddle, 1961/2010, Simone Forti

…the 1961 piece consisting of a small group of dancers assembled into a huddle upon which one dancer will occasionally climb in different ways, was casually but energetically performed in front of rows of seated serious looking German journalists at the press preview for the show Move: Art and Dance since the 1960s originally presented by, and co-organized with, the Hayward Gallery in London – where I was sad to have just missed it last year – but this morning I’m lucky to get a sneak preview of the installation at it’s latest venue here in Dusseldorf at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen (including works by Janine Antoni, Pablo Bronstein, Trisha Brown, Boris Charmatz, Lygia Clark, William Forsythe, Simone Forti, Dan Graham, Christian Jankowski, Isaac Julien, Mike Kelley, Maria La Ribot, Xavier Le Roy & Mårten Spångberg, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, João Penalva, Tino Sehgal, Franz Erhard Walther, and Franz West plus an amazing video and film database for public viewing including special favorites like Helio Oiticica’s Parnagole, Yvonne Rainer’s Trio A, and the super Michael Clark films by Charles Atlas) right before I head back to Rome – and a special pleasure was the opportunity to meet most of the local and international dancers in town for the show at my Schmela Haus Soup Salon & Talk last night.

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On June 30th, 2011, TEATRO DELLE ESPOSIZIONI 2 AT VILLA MEDICI…

the mysterious couple from the show, and Villa Medici with St. Peter's in the background

…which I arrived to from an earlier opening at Unosunove this magical warm summer evening by bicycle – locked up below at Piazza di Spagna to hoof it up the 132 Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti steps for shows presented by the French Academy fellows incluing films, a wandering bassoonist, an installation in the magnificent Islamic room on top of one of the towers, carefully arranged and spotlit plaster statues and period furniture in studio windows, (ugh, we missed the naked hula hooping performance from the Monday show) the highlight being an elaborate performance by Rémy Yadan in the formal salone overlooking the city where a cast of around ten formally dressed performers arrived – the rest remaining impossible to describe, but involving standing around for a long time making subtle tsking noises, moving a piano around, walking hurriedly across the room, operatic singing, energetic dancing, monologs directed face to face at particular audience members in French, opening of windows and then closing of windows, mooing, crying with backs to us, and towards the end, the doors to the terrace overlooking the city opened and in walked a mysterious couple who proceeded to walk out of the room onto the the back loggia where they stood still for the rest of the evening – so people looked at them and took pictures – some were mystified, especially those who hadn’t even seen the show.

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On June 8th, 2011, MICHAEL CLARK COMPANY…

Michael Clark at Tate Modern

…presenting their first public performance of new work in Tate Modern‘s Turbine Hall tonight was a lucky stroke for me, having just arrived in town this morning, and being such a super big Michael Clark fan (by way of his films with Charles Atlas - who did the lighting for tonight’s show, and who we had the pleasure of sharing late-night post-show drinks and felafel – especially ‘Hail the New Puritan 6‘ from 1985-86, but also the other editions like this and this) – and from the smart seating position at the far end of the hall we enjoyed a long view towards the distant vertical stripe industrial windows – reflected in the black stripes painted on the dance floor – on the custom made bleachers next to dear old NYC artist friends I happened upon – to watch the evening of new work, entitled th, to the tunes of David Bowie, and Kraftwerk, Pulp, featuring a corp de ballet of 48 non-professionals of all shapes, sizes, ages, and abilities clad in black terry bath towel togas, plus his own company of stunning movers with amazing bodies encased in geometric patterns of tight lycra graduating from black/white, to silver, to radiant red with snappy stripped sport coats for the finale, was an ideal mix of the pleasure from watching amazing dancers perform gorgeous sequences of precise movements across the stage together and alone AND the delight in seeing our 48 surrogates sharing the stage, in a way that we could all imagine sharing the stage, while performing simple mechanical synchronized movements in a grid, turning, running, laying on the ground…though my favorite sequences involved the company of 12 – each a dream to watch in their own way – occupying the stage like a meadow, where movements come and go, in unison, and then apart, close-up and in the deep background, fast and then slow, migrations and herds, alone and in a group – never sure if you were the only person who actually witnessed a particular moment, was that just for me?

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On February 8th, 2011, LES BALLETS C DE LA B….

'Out of Context - for Pina' by Les Ballets A de la B

…the Gent based dance company featured at the Equilibrio Festival at Auditorium Parco della Musica tonight, performed ‘Primero – Erscht’ – staged on bright green astroturf with vintagey furniture and costumes and a frenetic madly child-like sometimes repetitious but usually bordering on senseless sequence of complex detailed movements that can really thrill and scare you, like the way you feel when you see evidence of the possibility for an alternate reality that is just like yours but unfamiliar, and a bit crazy, where people move and interact in slightly human but mostly exagerated ways – though what struck me most was all of the falling, really fantastic falls, especially the long exaggerated elastic falls of the shortest most acrobatic dancer who would go from entirely vertical on his feet, to laying on the ground horizontal, in the most elaborate of ways – at a certain point even having his chin on the ground with legs flipping back over his back, toes nearly touching his head from the sheer momentum of the movement forward as he hits the astro green ground.

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On February 6th, 2011, LES SLOVAKS DANCE COLLECTIVE…

Martin Kilvady in Les SlovaKs Dance Collective's Journey Home

…comprised of the very charismatic Slovakian boys Milan Herich, Peter Jaško, Anton Lachký, Milan Tomášik and Martin Kilvády with highly individuated and endearing personalities (friends since childhood who shared the stage at the Vychodna folk festival when they were five – but now working together in Belgium) provided another amazing night of contemporary dance in Rome tonight, performing Journey Home whose “…structure comes from Slovak tradition in which a dance evening is like a puzzle of different dances from various regions of the country” which consisted of wild improvisations, tender couplings, traditional Slovakia steps mutated into something else, occasional yelping and whistling, traditional group song in harmony accompanied by violin, rhythmic stomping and clapping, leaps, fast fancy footwork, lifts, spins, unlikely combinations of postures and positions, rapid uncanny animalistic gestures, all while wearing super super super outfits that were both casual, stylish, butch, awkward, and very deconstructed Comme Des Garçons from the early 2000′s with expanded seams of different fabrics giving the everyday denims, linens, flannels, and corduroys some room to move – which they definitely needed – though my favorite moment came when Martin (pictured here) dramatically took off his jean jacket to bust out in a dynamic improvised thrashing solo to some classic rock.
(website)

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On February 5th, 2011, COLLETTIVO 320 CHILI…

dancer in trunk from Ai Migranti by Collettivo 320chili

…the young Italian dance collective (or contemporary circus company, Compagnia di Circo Contemporaneo, as they also refer to themselves, whose name refers to the total weight of the company in kilos) we saw at the Auditorium Parco della Musica (the performing arts complex designed by Renzo Piano which opened north of central Rome in 2002 near Nervi’s Palazzo dello Sport and MAXXI ) as a part of the February dance festival ‘Equilibrio,‘ gave us such pleasure tonight with their amazing performance of Ai Migranti (direction and choreography by Piergiorgio Milano and creation and interpretation by Elena Burani‚ Florencia Demestri‚ Piergiorgio Milano‚ Fabio Nicolini‚ Roberto Sblattero‚ Francesco Sgrò) which included six performers attired in casual unassuming street clothes performing languid but precise movements, virtuosic but not showy steps, that seemed to become more energetic and out of control as the evening progressed – starting with trunks, being moved around the stage, bodies going in and out of them, over them, complex group napping arrangements on top of them, pivoting one-handed handstands over them, flips, a ball of bodies rolling over each other, and then to the rope acrobatics, synchronized group choreography, locomotion with kneeling jumps, food fights, fork fights, a very large knife (which I was really worried about), a pitch-black stage with occasional illicit movements only glimpsed by the illumination of the performers flashlights, some deranged spoken in loud Italian including lists of foods, and a finale with mounds of junk, stuff, detritus, precariously carried on stage, thrown around, (which somewhat reminded me – in a great way – of Anna Halprin‘s ‘Parades and Changes,’ one of my all time favorite pieces) torn apart, piled up, a man stripping down and putting on a cardboard box, and another wrapping some tape over a huge plastic hoop and spinning around on it in a way that I didn’t know was possible, and concluding with the pile of trunks and junk and people as a tall totem, plus the empty plastic hoop finally spinning down to the ground – and making me really excited about art, dance, Italy, and humans in general.

Le migrazioni sono spostamenti che gli animali compiono in modo regolare, periodico, lungo rotte ben precise, e che coprono distanze anche molto grandi. Le migrazioni sono un andare di persone a piedi e per mare, stracci addosso  e occhi spalancati, nervi tesi, cuore sospeso ad aspettare l’Oltre. Le migrazioni sono un andare avanti camminando indietro, guardando verso il passato per poi girarsi e accorgersi di aver fatto strada. Le migrazioni sono necessità istintuale di movimento interiore ed esteriore. – from 320Chili

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On August 10th, 2010, “ANNA HALPRIN: EXPERIENCE AS DANCE”…

"Anna Halprin: Experience as Dance" by Janice Ross, 2008

…the recent biography by Janice Ross  – which I just finished today – of the dancer/choreographer (easy & narrow labels that are too small for her) who I LOVE, whose work (especially “Parades & Changes”) inspires me, whose approach to teaching & practice changed the way I thought about my own work & practice, whose desire for witnesses instead of an audience is so significant, whose husband (recently deceased) Lawrence Halprin kicked-ass with his environmental and landscape design (including Sea Ranch and the Nicollet Mall which I grew up with in Minneapolis) and his book “The RSVP Cycles: Creative Processes in the Human Environment” which I am just starting to spend some time with now…anyway – with the Anna Halprin biography I was finally able to see the trajectory of her life and work, as it responded and contributed the shifting culture of it’s time….I can’t say enough about how important I think she is. (Anna’s website)

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By Fritz Haeg on August 10, 2010 | books, dance
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On July 10th, 2010, MICHAEL CLARK, THE FALL, LEIGH BOWERY, CHARLES ATLAS…

…and one of my favorite pieces of choreography for the camera.

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On July 9th, 2010, DANCIN’…

…the 1978 Broadway show by Bob Fosse, had quite possibly the most amazing TV advertisement ever.

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By Fritz Haeg on July 9, 2010 | dance
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On July 8th, 2010, BOB FOSSE…

"Rich Man's Frug" dance number from Sweet Charity, 1969

…is someone I am going through a little obsession with, having just watched lots of his choreography including the “Rich Man’s Shrug” from the 1969 film Sweet Charity, and how remarkable to see the source for so much of Michael Jackson’s movements. (Bob Fosse on Wikipedia and video of “The Rich Man’s Shrug” from Sweet Charity)

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By Fritz Haeg on July 8, 2010 | dance, film
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