Monday, July 21, 2014

Thoughts on Fieldwork from Houston Fieldwork Facilitator Neil Ellis Orts

Thoughts on Fieldwork from Houston Fieldwork Facilitator Neil Ellis Orts

True confession: I did not like Fieldwork at first. I won't tell the story here, but suffice to say, it was not my cuppa. Or so I thought.

But that experience was in another city. When I moved to Houston in 2003, I needed to meet people, artist people. I knew there was a Fieldwork session here, so I looked it up, gritted my teeth, and signed on. Then, Fieldwork became the foundation for my Houston artist community. By participating in Fieldwork, I found not only artists I admired, I found collaborators. Never mind the affordable cost for the weeks of feedback and a showcase at the end. It's the best deal in town.

And my original dislike? Here's the thing: the feedback format is difficult. It takes some work just learning how to give feedback. But giving feedback in this particular way also tuned my ear to how to receive feedback, as well. Giving myself over to the process, I hope, has made me a better colleague as well as a better artist.

Best way to get a bigger picture? Join us next session.

Breath & Bone/Orts Performance, Until Spring, at Box 13 Artspace, Lone Star Explosion 2014. Performers: Joanna Bowen Bridget Lois Jensen, and Neil Ellis Orts. Photo by Alex Barber

Friday, July 11, 2014

CORE's Leslie Scates named one of HOUSTON PRESS 100 Creatives

All photos by Catalina Molnari,
courtesy of HOUSTON PRESS
Choreographer, dance educator, and CORE collaborator Leslie Scates was recently named one of the Houston's 100 Creatives by Houston Press.

Leslie has created numerous commissions for CORE, including last season's herd, and recently became a Dynamic X-change teacher, working with students at The Monarch School.

"I feel honored to work with the company... No other company works quite the way CORE does. So fertile and humane. Across disciplines. Across borders."

Leslie's work at The Monarch School teaching movement classes began this past spring:
 
I said yes to the opportunity to work with a population on the autistic spectrum because I have a deep interest in therapeutic movement and also a keen interest in brains that think and operate differently than my own.  I love the work and the students are delightful and challenging. Some of the needs that I feel the movement classes meet for these movers are:
  • Stress reduction
    • Somatic awareness 
    • Kinesthetic awareness 
    • Sensory integration 
    • Collaborative skill acquisition 
    • Social skill acquisition 
    • Range of motion increases 
    • Motor skill refinement; gross and fine 
     
    I am looking forward to continuing my work with the Monarch school students. It is a laboratory for me as an educator and dancer to listen very closely to the emergent needs of a class of individuals, and to provide a conduit for creative expression, social interaction, collaboration and movement pathways.  These students are filled with language that inspires me to keep setting and reaching personal goals. And we have fun and sometimes we have intense moments. This is all valuable to me. I am glad to be a part of the students' weekly movement program at Monarch. I am also deeply grateful and my artistic process has been enhanced and shaped by being a part of CORE performance company.
     

    Read Leslie's 100 Creatives interview here,

    Thursday, May 08, 2014

    On Cultural Exchange


    On Cultural Exchange

    D. Patton White, CORE Company Manager

    CPC in America! question
    Exactly 10 years ago, I was one of 6 CORE Performance Company dancers working in Berlin with Tanztheater Rubato, a duo company made up of husband/wife dancer/choreographers Dieter Baumann and Utta Hell.  We were there for 6 weeks of work which concluded with the premiere performance of the new dance, America! question.  As a dancer, it was a very exciting time for me.  I was getting the opportunity to do what I am passionate about doing—dance—and getting to do that in a very different place than I was familiar with.  Imagine, instead of driving to work I walked down the 6 flights of stairs to the street (where Christopher Isherwood had once lived) and headed to the U-bahn—the  Berlin subway/elevated train—and took it to the studio called Halle. 

    Experiencing Toulouse
    Jump 10 years later and I was again experiencing the good fortune to be participating in another cultural exchange.  Once again CORE was collaborating with a duo company made up of partners-in-life dancer/choreographers, this time Association Manifeste’s Isabelle Saulle and Adolfo Vargas in Toulouse, France.  And this time I was part of the creative leadership team—one of four ‘directors’ of the new work, Je Suis/I am (Saulle, Vargas, myself and CORE Artistic Director Sue Schroeder).  Again I am getting to do another thing I am passionate about—to choreograph/design, and in another very different place than I am familiar with.  I have been given the opportunity to forcibly improve my understanding of and ability to speak French.  I have the pleasure of experiencing life in a smaller and much older urban area than where I currently live.  And once again I was able to enjoy life without a car.

    Beyond these every-day things, I am struck by the other incredible gifts that international and inter-cultural exchange/collaborations provide the players.  In both of these instances, our exchange has been with western/European cultures.  Within the realm of contemporary or modern dance, this means that we get to dialogue with the descendants of the European ‘line’ of modern/contemporary dance which had a very different focus on theatricality.  Influences from Mary Wigman, to Bejart, to Maguy Marin were present, as well as an entirely ‘new’ way of approaching performance—informed by a heightened sense of real-ness.    As someone who finds inspiration in all aspects of culture, the opportunities for architecture, visual art, sounds/music, religious history, as well as geographical and climactic realities to filter into the creative process are all exciting.  Isabelle and Adolfo bring vast experience as both performers and creators to the studio, and it is present throughout the process.  The subtle but powerful presence they exude in the simplest exercise reminds us that technique is not simply pyrotechnics, but a deep connection to the internal self.   An attention to authentic relationships, with no room for imitation emotions, brings a richness to the creative process. 

    I don’t believe that just any American company would have benefitted from either cultural exchange in the way that CORE has.  I believe that in both instances we were ideally suited to undertake the challenging work that is cross-cultural collaboration.  Each relationship had its own unique parameters but the culture of CORE, with an appreciation of transparency, individual expression and non-violent communication proved to be a healthy incubator in which new work could be nurtured and developed. 

    The collaboration with Manifeste is in its infancy, at this point, so I look forward to being a part of the adolescence and the full maturity in the coming months and years – look for the premiere performances in Atlanta and Houston in the Fall of 2014.  I look forward to learning and sharing, and to dipping my toe back in to the performance pool.  All that, and the opportunity to improve my abilities in the French language, too—even if it is to simply know that the Toulousienne response to ‘Thank you’, is ‘With pleasure’—just as I feel about this experience.
     

    Wednesday, May 07, 2014

    Wonderful Wednesday

    We had a wonderful final TTI Wednesday here at CORE! We had the pleasure of spending a full day workshoping with incomparable Ann Law. We spent the day expanding our teachers 'tool box' and creating full 5-day lesson plans with partners. Our brains were full and minds were fed with a generous amount new knowledge and insight. One concept that stuck with me was the idea to teach as you. Not to try to be someone else or teach something you're not completely passionate about. Teach what you love, love what you teach!

    Until next year, TTI!

    xo
    Anna

    Monday, May 05, 2014

    Gettin' ready

    Erik is getting' ready to dance...


    Anna & Josh gettin' ready for our  run through of Heart of the Matter

    Patton's feet gettin' ready for our company meeting

    Dancers in a meeting, gettin' ready for the week!




    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

    Monday Funday

    We were happy to have Sue back in the studio with us today as we continued work on Vivaldi Dances in the Park!

    Friday, April 25, 2014

    Today was...

    Today in rehearsal we laughed, we cried, we danced on a journey...
                             of Baroque
                                  of spirals
                                           of pirate walks
                                               of seven ages in
                                                  "All the world's a stage"



    We worked deep on the purpose and meaningfulness of movement (and stillness) and we continue to do this work that is ever-growing.

    I can't wait for when we're live with the musicians on stage!

    We continue to do our best to be curiouser and curiouser...
                                        Our imaginations are exercised more and more
                                                 every time we move
                                                        every time we are still
                                                             every time we listen
                                                                 every time we dance

    Amanda is always reminding us to pick up our feet!

    Amanda's hiding place revealed...  well, the third panel reads "nuttin's sacred"