Filtering by Tag: modern dance

HUMAN

Last week, we released to the public Holly Logan's choreographer's intent for the piece, ODD Behaviors. This week, we are pleased to be doing the same for Holly Logan's HUMAN, which premiered earlier this year in March at Velocity Dance Center. As Holly expressed in her post last week outlining what moved her to provide these choreographer intents to the public--we by no means believe that everyone needs to or should feel obligated to read them. We simply want to provide a safe landing spot for those who feel tentative about how to digest the sometimes intimidating experience that is modern dance. 

That being said--we hope you enjoy!

Samantha Weissbach

Executive Director, Intrepidus Dance

HUMAN

Choreographer's Intent

Human is a piece that was inspired by the pioneers of modern dance. Modern dance began as rebellion of sorts to the romanticism of ballet. During this era, ballet dancers would portray fairies, princesses, and swans, but there were dance artists who desired to dance as humans. These pioneers fought to create works that challenged our views and outlook on the human condition. The pieces they produced caused riots in the streets because viewers were not used to seeing such raw emotion. That passion and desire to bring forth true emotion is what inspired this piece.

HUMAN opens with breath, the idea of exploration, and beginnings, with each dancer as an individual. It guides the viewer to our duet between Madeline and Jessica. This duet is the introduction to relationships, introducing the idea of care and protection. The next section, where dancers walk through and past each other, represents how we move through life often forgetting to reach out and make those true connections. In this section, Ciara and CarliAnn perform the same duet from the beginning ­this time separated, representing that disconnect. The next section of the piece (what we lovingly call "The Hand Section") is actually where I started choreographing the piece. In my head, I saw people reaching out to each other, the touch, and how sensitive touch is. This is the section that examines that first relationship where we understand what love is. Whether that is with our parents or siblings, a friend or a partner, we all have that moment where it all makes sense. I must say this is my favorite section. 

From here we move to our very short lived "Joy Section", where the dancers run and dance freely, celebrating that love and that connection. After this, I wanted to move into something that showed that while we may love someone, it does not guarantee smooth sailing, or that we should keep that person in our life. This is why there are two sections about those rough areas and the choices between when to let go and when it makes sense to hold on. I wanted to use friction and embraces to illustrate these ideas. The second to last section uses the same separated duet from the beginning to bring forth the idea that the relationships in our life take work. It is hard, sometimes ugly, and exhausting to genuinely love someone. 

I wanted to end with a duet to bring us back to the simplicity of where we started. I wanted to create something that displayed how much we need each other, that in our barest human condition, we are at our best when we can share in our happiness, joy, anger, and sadness with at least one other person in our lives. For me it is about the vulnerability it takes to be human in our emotions and everyday encounters.

ODD Behaviors

At Intrepidus, we are passionate about people being passionate about art. As you have probably heard us say over and over again, our goal is to make dance more accessible and more approachable. One tool we wanted to offer in the quest for accessibility was the option for dance viewers to read a written "Choreographer's Intent." 

As artists and viewers of art, we get accustomed to watching the craft of dance and have as a result developed the ability to formulate opinions and ideas off of what we are viewing. This is not always true to new observers of dance, and I wanted to encourage people to jump--to open theselves up to how they migh be affected by what they are seeing, how the dancers are moving, interacting with each other or the audience, etc. I often have found that much akin to a small child learning to cartwheel for the first time, if you give people a soft place to fall they will take the leap.

We live in a society where there is a stipulation that people's ideas and opinions have to be right, and that vulnerability is a weakness. Art, on the other hand, is a platform that calls for open minds, vulnerable soulds, and no right or wrong answers. It can be scary--both for the novice and the expert!

My hope through offering the "Choreographer's Intent" was the foster an environment where a conversation about dance could start, allowing people who were curious the freedom to compare what they thought to what my original intent was. 

That being said, let me say that I by no means believe that everyone should and needs to read them. The intents are not meant to be a spoon to feed people, but instead a diving board in which to spring off of. Below we have included the filmed performance of "ODD Behaviors." I encourage you to watch, re-watch, explore nuances and movements that repeat, discover relationships between dancers. Formulate your own thoughts and ideas, and then, if you feel inclined please don't hesitate to read on. 

I do not create art with the sole purpose of forcing others to feel what I feel; but instead I am motivated to make art in the hopes that my audience may delve into something new and come away from the piece with a newly gained perspective--whatever that may be!

Cheers,

Holly Logan

Artistic Director & Founder, Intrepidus Dance

ODD Behaviors

Choreographer's Intent

I wanted to create ODD Behaviors to make a piece that examines the way modern American society views mental illness. ODD Behaviors was inspired by an experience I had on a bus ride home where a woman was continually shouting the same phrase. I could feel the tension in the bus, and could tell it was because nobody felt comfortable. We all felt we were in some sort of danger. As the woman left the bus, she thanked the driver and did not acknowledge the way we were all treating her. That is when it hit me, that the stigma about mental illness comes from those who are not affected. I was moved-­she was completely okay with who she was, and I was the problem.

The creative process for the piece was a new one for me and I really wanted to challenge myself this time around. All of the choreography for this piece was created to various pieces of music separate from our original score by John Coons. 

I used music by Andrew Bird, M.83, Fiona Apple, & Ke$ha to inspire movement that would represent certain illnesses. The dancers learned the choreography to these pieces of music but never heard the score until six rehearsals before the show. Meanwhile, I sent John videos of the choreography without music, so he in turn never heard the music the movement was originally choreographed to In this process, I did not want the qualities of the choreography and the music to meet up at all times, creating an underlying sense of discord.

I chose to focus on four mental illnesses: Depression, Anxiety, OCD, and Tourette’s. My hopes in using this process was to highlight each of these disorders using specific choreography and qualities of movement. Depression was defined by heavy and slow movements, Anxiety used movement filled with tension and a general feeling of discomfort, OCD was characterized by quick sharp movements repeated in patterns of three or six, and Tourrette's broke continuous movements with short uncontrollable outbursts of movement.

The piece begins with an introduction to each illness by having the dancers execute the different phrases all together. Within this section, we introduce Depression in the first solo you see danced by Madeline. After this, one sees the OCD duet with Ciara and CarliAnn, then the Anxiety duet with Samantha and Ciara, and finally the Tourette's duet with CarliAnn and Caitlin. I wanted to add these individual sections to familiarize the viewer with the movements that define each illness. From here the piece moves into what I call "The Overload Section." All of the phrases are mixed together to create a dynamic of overload and exhaustion.

The bells tolling bring us into the "Acceptance Section." Here each dancer looks at themselves and finally approaches the audience, saying, "I am fine with who I am, why won't you accept me?" The piece ends with a duet performed by CarliAnn and Madeline. This duet is my comment on how our society’s current relationship with mental illness functions. It is this matter of trying to change or fix things that we have no expertise in, rather than accepting people as they are. I believe this is where a conversation can start.

Lindsay Johns

Meet the Dancers: Lindsay Johns

Meet the Dancers: Lindsay Johns

Why Intrepidus Dance?

I love dancing for Holly because she is so amazing to work with. She presents stories and emotions in a way that the audience can really connect to and I am so excited to be a part of this new adventure.

 

Why & when did you begin dancing?

I began dancing at the age of four. I was like most little girls and wanted to be a ballerina.

A 5 year-old Lindsay in her first dance recital ever, entitled "Teddy Bear Hug".

A 5 year-old Lindsay in her first dance recital ever, entitled "Teddy Bear Hug".

What styles of dance do you specialize in?

Ballet, modern, and contemporary.

 

Who is your dance icon & why?

William Forsythe. I love his work. Beautiful, yet edgy.

 

Describe yourself in one word:

Compassionate

 

Would you rather have super strength or super intelligence?

Super Strength

 

What is your music preference?

Anything that makes me want to dance or choreograph.

 

What's your favorite movie or TV show & why?

Friends. Great actors portraying real life emotions and situations with humor.

 

Celebrity crush?

Jensen Ackles

 

What do you do in your spare time?

Play the drums, work on cosplays, play games, and watch a lot of tv shows and movies.

 

Do you have any phobias?

Drowning, extreme heights, haunted places, the dark.

 

Lastly, what's a piece of advice/encouragement you would give to your 15-year-old self?

You are not fat! You are wonderful and beautiful and you need to believe in yourself. You will become a better dancer and never take your blessings for granted!

Photo courtesy of  S. Weissbach Photography

Photo courtesy of S. Weissbach Photography

Photo courtesy of  S. Weissbach Photography

Photo courtesy of S. Weissbach Photography