Tag Archive | "Movement Research"

Budding, Not Yet Blooming: boomerang dance

By Tara Sheena of Dance Informa.

Founded in 2012 and co-directed by Kora Radella and Matty Davis, boomerang dance is a physically fearless group of movers. Interested in exploring human relationships through intense and committed movement, they have been referred to as the “punk Mozarts of dance.”

Kora and Matty offered their insights for this month’s edition of Budding, Not Yet Blooming and told Dance Informa about their early influences, their distinct movement approach and why they want to inspire their young audiences to say, “Hey mom…I want to be a dancer!” Here are excerpts of their conversation.

What originally drew you to choreography? Do you have any early influences you can recall?

Kora Radella
“I was drawn to dance via a very strong non-verbal relationship with my sister, who was unable to talk. This is deeply embedded within me. I was also fortunate to experience a diverse amount of experimental art/film/dance/literature growing up with very hippy, artistic parents, as well as a culture-vulture grandmother in NYC. As an older teenager, I was most inspired by Pina Bausch and Samuel Beckett. Those inspirations are still strong, but not necessarily recognizable in my work.”

Matty Davis
“I’ve worked with some other folks, who I respect and care about, but it’s been nothing comparable to the magic of boomerang. There’s a lot of respect, listening, rigor, negotiation and patience. I operate more on the performing side in the project, though I’m very invested in movement invention and feel keenly plugged into the choices and possibilities that shape and hone it. I’ve been a mover my whole life, and was involved in just about every sport known to man at some point between age 5 and 18. I was also an aggressive roller-blader and snowboarder. I remember people referring to me as a dancer when I was a kid on the soccer field, and then later on the tennis court. In high school and college, I segued more committedly toward the arts. I truly see the body as a kind of sponge, always absorbing and exuding the influences, traumas and habits that constitute one’s life.”

How would you describe your aesthetic and style to someone who has never seen your work?

boomerang dance

“I call my work ‘awkward grace.’ I delight with playing on being right on the edge of control in embodied and vulnerable ways. My interest in working with others is helping them draw out their resources by respecting them as unique people versus having them imitate me. Part of the reason Matty Davis and I work so well together is our mutual respect for what we can offer within boomerang. We are great matches in terms of two people working with movement in the studio and bringing things out into the world.”

“boomerang is pretty heavy, athletic, intense, raw and prevailing… I was a competitive long distance runner for some years and I think it’s really shaped my affinity for pushing the body to its limits. I’m really drawn to the transformations that take place in those difficult dimensions. On the other hand, I’m immensely attracted to generosity of spirit, to giving, and I try to make that tangible and meaningful in my dancing. I want my dancing to really give, to let some kind of energy transcend.”

What, in your mind, is the biggest challenge for emerging choreographers right now? What are the strategies you’ve employed to navigate that challenge?

“I think our biggest challenge as an emerging company is that there’s this seeming very slow ‘who-you-know’ game–at least in NYC–that is not based on the work necessarily and which somewhat hampers our genuine wish to share this work that we really believe in. We aren’t in it for the game or for success, so the whole game part is very frustrating. We really just want people to see this work. boomerang boils down to faith and labor of love, and Matty and I really wholeheartedly believe in the work so we just kind of dig in and keep doing the most essential thing: make work and bring it to life.”

“There’s a lot of different stuff happening, some really interesting, good stuff that just doesn’t have a channel with which to flow into the greater cultural consciousness. You know, these very popular, widely distributed magazines like, say, PAPER or Interview Magazine, cover art and music and such–not really much attention for dance. I think it’s time to make dances that tap into something different, something downright visceral, exciting and back-breakingly honest and real that makes little kids watch and go, ‘Hey mom, this is really cool and awesome! I want to be a dancer!’”

What are the next steps for you and your company?

“We’re currently trying to find outlets for an evening-length [performance] of our works; to hire someone as a manager and PR person who believes in what we’re doing; and to develop a really solid press kit to start shooting out to presenters around the country.”

“[There are] definitely some shows to know about! We’re showing work at Movement Research’s Open Performance series on May 13. Sometime in May, I’ll be performing at the Putney School in Vermont; then at the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival in Pittsburgh on June 7. More info on upcoming shows and our work is thoroughly available at www.boomerangdance.com.”

Photos courtesy of Matty Davis. 

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Tara’s Top Five NY Dance Picks for this Season

By Tara Sheena.

Dance Geeks unite! The New York performance season is kicking off this month with many exciting happenings in store. Last year, I told you my top five shows to see for the year. But, for a city with so much dance busting at the seams, I decided to widen my focus for this year’s top picks. This year, to ease the daunting anxiety of having to choose just five things I am looking forward to, I bring you the five venues that have the shows I am pumped and passionate about. From Brooklyn to Queens and that island in between, there is so much happening. So, see one, see them all…see something! And, I will see you in the audience!

My top five, in no particular order:

Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

BAM has long been revered for world-renown cultural pillars right in the eclectic and resounding Ft. Greene, Brooklyn area where it resides. However, this year marks the opening of their 250-seat black box Fishman Space. That means more possibilities, more programming, and even some late night performances for you nocturnal folk. In this late night sector, I am most looking forward to Miguel Guttierez’s latest, “And Lose the Name of Action”. The work, for dancers aged 33 to 62, explores what otherworldly states can be accessed through improvisation. He cites ghosts and highways amongst his latest inspiration for this undoubtedly surreal work.

Danspace Project

With the 50th Anniversary of the infamous Judson Church Movement (a move into postmodern dance that rejected the classicism and form of ballet), many dance organizations, like Movement Research, are putting this celebration into effect with various events, lectures, and performances (many of them free!). Danspace Project is devoting their latest Platforms series to this movement, calling it “Judson Now!” I cannot wait to see what Trajal Harrell shows us when he opens up the first day of his production residency to a free event for all to see a junior size version of his “Twenty Looks” series, “Antigone Jr.” Also, in a new form of interactive performance, Clarinda Mac Low not only invites you to her show but also invites you to have a meeting with her before the show. Audience members can sign up and meet with the artist before her performances of “40 Dancers Do 40 Dances For the Dancers.” Every night of this performance run is different…even more reason to see it all! www.danspaceproject.org

The Chocolate Factory

The Chocolate Factory has long been a Long Island City, Queens mainstay for cutting edge collaboration and innovation. Artistic Director Brian Rogers is an obvious dance lover and often has his choreographers in residence for years before they present on the Factory’s stage. If you are looking for something out of the box (and out of Manhattan), venture to the delectable offerings of the Chocolate Factory’s upcoming season. My top pick? The adventurous performance stylings of Big Dance Theater in their latest work, “Ich, Kurbisgeist”. Co-commissioned by Performance Space 122 and working with emerging playwright, Sibyl Kempson, the company presents a work set in medieval times with their signature (at times zany) blend of text, movement, and visual media. With a complete invented language (a combination of English, Swedish, and German) you may not understand what the characters are saying, but you will definitely feel it. And, get your tickets now! There are only 30 seats available for each performance, so they are sure to sell quickly. www.chocolatefactorytheater.org

Doug Varone and Dancers 'Boats Leaving'. Photo by Richard Termine

Doug Varone and Dancers 'Boats Leaving'. Photo by Richard Termine

The Joyce

New York City’s preeminent dance institution brings another packed and ready season of, well, dance. Ranging from contemporary ballet to postmodern, the Joyce’s upcoming season looks to be one of their best yet. If you have to see one show, make it Doug Varone’s. Celebrating its 25th anniversary season, Doug Varone and Dancers brings the New York premiere of “Carrugi” to the stage, as well as the Bessie-award winning “Boats Leaving.” I am most looking forward to “Ballet Mecanique”, set to a George Antheil score from 1925! Twenty-five years after its founding, it looks like Varone and his intrepid dancers are still going, strong as ever. www.Joyce.org

Baryshnikov Arts Center

The programming at Baryshnikov Arts Center has grown to be more diverse and unexpected each season. This year is no different, with the venue presenting exciting works ranging from international puppeteers (The Bolshoi Puppet Theatre of St. Petersburg) to NYC-based chamber music ensembles (St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble). However, Doug Elkins and his charismatic crew are definitely leading on the dance front, presenting a collage of works including the New York premiere of “Mo(or)town Redux.” Think Shakespeare’s Othello meets Motown tunes meets physically eccentric modern dance. Or, don’t think at all. Just go to the show and see for yourself.

Top photo: Big Dance Theater’s Ich, Kürbisgeist. Photo by Paula Court. www.bigdancetheater.org/images_ich_kurbisgeist.html
In body photo source: Doug Varone and Dancers – www.dougvaroneanddancers.org

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Have choreography?

Opportunities to show your work in New York.

By Katherine Moore.

Living and working as a dancer in New York City can be quite a challenge, especially if you’re new to the city. Young dancers arrive in the Big Apple full of dreams, but often with very little concrete information about how to begin their dance careers.

This task can be even more daunting for aspiring choreographers looking for venues to show their work. In many cases, young choreographers have just graduated from college dance programs, where they had unlimited space, resources, mentorship, and guaranteed venues and performances to demonstrate their burgeoning creative talent. Making the big leap to showing work in New York can be extremely challenging for a multitude of reasons, but for emerging artists and for those who hope to gain an MFA in dance and enter higher education, choreographic experience outside of undergraduate work is an essential component of a career in dance. 

Luckily, the dance scene in New York is vast and varied in its opportunities for young artists. With a little pre-planning and organization of application materials, choreographers can find themselves performing and showing work all over the city in venues specifically designed for emerging artists and new work. These venues allow choreographers to gain exposure, feedback, and networking opportunities with their peers. For some dancers who have been unlucky in their search for dance employment, these venues give young artists the ability to take their performance career under their own control by creating opportunities to be seen doing what they love most: dancing.

These opportunities take creativity, organization, and initiative to bring to fruition, and in an effort to make the task more manageable for our inspired readers, we have compiled a listing of some choreographic opportunities suited for emerging dance artists and works-in-progress in New York. Each has its own set of requirements and dynamic character, some requiring fees and extensive documentation, but with a little pre-planning and, of course, some talent, young dance artists could be performing all over the city before they know it.

The Steps Performance Lab


 Green Space

-Fertile Ground Performance Series

-Take Root Performance Series


Dance New Amsterdam

-RAW material


-Works in Progress


Movement Research

-Open Performance


-Movement Research at Judson Church


Danspace Project

-Draft Work


Amalgamate Dance Company

-Amalgamate Artist Series


Williamsburg Art neXus



Chen Dance Center



Jennifer Muller/The Works

-HATCH Presenting series 

Dance Theater Workshop

 -Fresh Tracks 


Harkness Dance Center, 92nd Street Y

-Fridays at Noon 


-Sundays at Three


Photo:  © Patrick J Hanrahan | Dreamstime.com

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