All posts by showboxla

itch @ LA Art Book Fair

January 31–February 3, 2013

Thursday from 6–9pm (preview)
Friday from 11am–5pm
Saturday from 11am–6pm
Sunday from 12noon–6pm

The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
152 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012

itch Dance Journal participated in Printed Matter’s the first annual LA Art Book Fair. Free and open to the public, the LA Art Book Fair is a unique event for artists’ books, art catalogs, monographs, periodicals, and zines presented by more than 180 international presses, booksellers, antiquarians, artists, and independent publishers from nineteen countries.

itch can be found at Table 38.

wwwlitchjournal.org
www.laartbookfair.net
www.printedmatter.org

Ishmael Houston-Jones: Doing It

Saturday, November 17, 2012

1–3pm
REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater)
631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

What is your first impulse? Can you trust it? What happens when the judge falls asleep? Can sight be a handicap? Can you know too much? This is a workshop about Composition.

Presented in conjunction with performances of THEM by Chris Cochrane, Dennis Cooper and Ishmael Houston-Jones at REDCATNovember 15–18, 2012.

• • •
ABOUT ISHMAEL HOUSTON-JONES
Ishmael Houston-Jones is a choreographer, author, performer, teacher, and arts activist.  His improvised dance and text work has been performed in New York City, across the United States, in Europe, Canada, Australia and Latin America. Houston-Jones’ Nowhere, Now Here was commissioned for Mordine and Company in Chicago in spring 2001 and Specimens was commissioned for Headlong Dance Theater in Philadelphia in 1998.  In 1997 he was the choreographer for Nayland Blake’s Hare Follies at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. From 1995-2000 he was part of the improvised trio Unsafe/Unsuited with Keith Hennessy and Patrick Scully. In 1990 he and writer Dennis Cooper presented The Undead at the Los Angeles Festival of the Arts. In 1989 he collaborated with filmmaker Julie Dash on the video Relatives, which was aired nationally on the PBS series Alive From Offf-Center (Alive TV). In 1984 Houston-Jones and Fred Holland shared a New York Dance and Performance Bessie Award for their Cowboys, Dreams and Ladders. In 2010 Performance Space 122 and the New Museum supported the reconstruction of Houston-Jones’ 1985/86 collaboration with Dennis Cooper and Chris Cochrane, THEM. The piece has since been presented at the American Realness festival (New York, NY), Springdance (Utrecht, NL), Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), and TanzImAugust (Berlin, Germany). The reconstruction of THEM received a New York Dance and Performance Bessie Award in 2011. Houston-Jones is currently touring with Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People in And lose the name of action.

Gob Squad

Saturday, September 22, 2012

3–5:30pm
REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater)
631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

The acclaimed multimedia collective of artists from the U.K. and Germany leads a masterclass that serves as an introduction to their working process, and methods of using the individual performer to filter, digest and interact with the wider culture, history and society around us. Company members lead this performance workshop right in the set of Gob Squad’s Kitchen, exploring their unique blend of theater and real life. This workshop is open to students, artists, performance makers and film makers, 16-years or older.

Presented in conjunction with Gob Squad’s Kitchen (You’ve Never Had It So Good) by Gob Squad at REDCAT, September 20–23, 2012.

• • •
ABOUT GOB SQUAD

Gob Squad is a group of UK and German artists who make performances and videos that search for beauty in the everyday, and look for words of wisdom from a passing stranger. The seven core members work collaboratively on each work’s concept, direction and performance of our work. The ensemble explores the point where theatre meets art, media and real life. In addition to theatres and galleries, Gob Squad places performances at the heart of urban life—in houses, shops, underground stations, car parks, hotels or directly on the street. Everyday life and magic, banality and utopia, reality and entertainment are all set on a collision course and the audience are often asked to step beyond their traditional role as passive spectators and bear witness to the results.

For more information visit www.gobsquad.com

Pat Payne: Velvet Hammer

September 24, 2012

Monday at 7pm
Bootleg Theater
2220 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90057

L.A. Lady Arm Wrestlers returns to wrestle in the name of grassroots, non-profit art. Join us as Pat Payne, aka VELVET HAMMER, represents Show Box L.A. during the Fall Brawl of the L.A. Lady Arm Wrestlers event at Bootleg Theater. One part Theater, one part Wrestling. One part Anything-Can-Happen.

Eight women battle it out with strength, wits, bribery, you name it. Our celebrity judges make the final decision, and when a champion is named, the proceeds are donated back to the winning wrestlers organization, with the other seven companies earning whatever they raise from the crowd.

Along with Show Box L.A., this brawl features representatives from Sacred Fools, Ghost Road, Collaborative Arts LA, Opera del Espacio, Son of Semele, Moving Arts and Poor Dog Group. L.A.

• • •
ABOUT L.A. LAW
L.A. LAW is part of the national non-profit Collective of Lady Arm Wrestlers or CLAW (clawusa.org). It is One part Theater. One part Wrestling. One part Anything Can Happen. And all the money raised is donated back to our communities. In the spirit of WWF, Roller Derby, and burlesque, the Los Angeles chapter is part of a growing national movement. These spectacles are a strange brew of performance art, burlesque, sport, and grassroots fundraising, where women create wild personas, theme songs and entourages, and solicit money from the audience.

press: Swap/Meet #01

Experimental, Improvised Dance Energizes in ‘Swap/Meet’ at Bootleg Theater

“Though Show Box LA has only recently become the proud recipient of a handful of financial awards from public and private sources, local audiences continue to reap the rewards of this forward thinking not-quite-an-institution. This past weekend, the multi-faceted amoebic structure brought Abby Crain and Margit Galanter, two movement-based artists from San Francisco, into Southern California to make their Los Angeles debuts, sharing a program with Wolfe. They’re the pilot production of “Swap/Meet,” the new Show Box LA initiative that “connects dance communities through performances, workshops and exchanges,” as stated in the evening’s program at the Bootleg Theater.

Promotional materials mention the investigative nature of the work on display and the strong part improvisation plays in these artists’ oeuvres… the opening up of the creative process can be illuminating and compelling to witness.

Three cheers for Show Box LA moving forward! Let’s keep our eyes open for the next launch!”

-Benn Widdey, LAist.com

+++

Swap/Meet #01: Los Angeles/San Francisco

August 24–26, 2012

Friday–Saturday at 7:30pm & Sunday at 3pm
Bootleg Theater
2220 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057

Featuring Abby Crain, Margit Galanter and Meg Wolfe
Swap/Meet #01 brings together the dance worlds of Northern and Southern California, featuring LA’s Meg Wolfe and Bay-Area artists Abby Crain and Margit GalanterShow Box LA launches its latest initiative at Bootleg, kicking off Swap/Meet with work that demonstrates a commitment to investigative practices and improvisational forms. Abby Crain presents a group work This is nothing new. These are some things we are chewing on, and this time you can watch. Margit Galanter presents her solo, Relay: Living Things Shine On. And Meg Wolfe performs a new solo work, calling it something else for now, created with long-time collaborator, composer Aaron Drake.

In conjunction with these performances, Margit Galanter offers her workshop BEING SCENE at Bootleg on Saturday, August 25, 2012.

Presented with generous support from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

• • •
ABOUT THE ARTISTS

ABBY CRAIN is a dancemaker and performer with roots in both the Bay Area and the New York performance worlds. She has presented work in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.  She danced with Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People from 2001 to 2009, with David Dorfman Dance from 2001-2003, and has worked extensively with Sara Shelton Mann. She regularly teaches and makes work with Margit Galanter under the moniker ARTWORKOUTS with can be viewed at artworkouts@wordpress.com and is engaged in an ongoing collaboration around movement, language and performance with Bay Area poet, David Buuck.

MARGIT GALANTER’s fascination regarding the construction and value of movement has drawn her to collaborative embodied research for decades. Margit is a movement investigator and dance poet living in Oakland, CA, and she presents and teaches inter/nationally – places like Mills College, Naropa University, city streets, PS122, Movement Research, SOMAFest, and Pieter Performance. Her work is highly influenced through her ongoing artistic research strands and her long-term practice in movements as diverse as Lisa Nelson’s “Tuning” Scores, Steve Paxton’s Material for the Spine, Wild Goose qigong, Amerta Movement (Javanese movement meditation developed by Suprapto Suryodarmo), The Feldenkrais Method, and Open Source Releasing technique. In the Bay Area, she collaborates with Abby Crain through Art Workouts, as well as media artist Kadet. Her practice, Physical Intelligence, encompasses her unique perspective, helping people experience the innate clarity and vitality one can uncover through the potency of movement.
www.margitg.wordpress.com
www.physicalintelligence.org

Noted by the Los Angeles Times as one of the “Faces to Watch in 2012”, MEG WOLFE is a LA-based choreographer/performer, co-editor of itch Dance Journal, and the founder and artistic director of Show Box LA. Her full-evening work, trembler.SHIFTER,  was a 2011 National Performance Network Creation Fund Project, commissioned by REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater).  Her work has been presented on the west coast at REDCAT, Segerstrom Center for the Arts/Off Center Festival, CalArts, Highways Performance Space, Anatomy Riot, Sea and Space Explorations, among others. Her projects have been supported by funding from the National Performance Network Creation Fund, the Center for Cultural Innovation ARC Grant, the Durfee Foundation ARC Grants, Danspace Project Commissioning Initiative, and Meet the Composer Fund; multiple residencies at the Djerassi Resident Artist’s Program; the Hothouse Residency program at UCLA, and others. Based in Los Angeles since 2004, Wolfe’s prior work occurred in NYC in the works of Vicky Shick, Sigal Bergman, Molissa Fenley, Clarinda Mac Low, and Susan Rethorst.
www.megwolfedance.org

Margit Galanter: Being Scene

Saturday, August 25, 2012

11am–2pm
Bootleg Theater
2220 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90057

In this workshop, we’ll investigate our creative practice threads while dealing with the explicit challenges of presence, communication, and collaboration. We’ll work in the rich arena of multisensoriality, receptivity, stillness, and one’s own unique performativity. Solo action <-> group action, tuning, and warming-up as a compass for compositionally brilliant presencing. One of the mysterious challenges of performing is to see and be seen at the same time, and with that, sensing while acting. Being Scene is a forum for sensuary live installation experiments, highly influenced by the mosaic of somatics and sensory perceptual research.

Presented by Show Box L.A. in conjunction with Swap/Meet #01 at Bootleg Theater, August 24–26, 2012

• • •
ABOUT MARGIT GALANTER
Margit Galanter’s fascination regarding the construction and value of movement has drawn her to collaborative embodied research for decades. Margit is a movement investigator and dance poet living in Oakland, CA, and she presents and teaches inter/nationally – places like Mills College, Naropa University, city streets, PS122, Movement Research, SOMAFest, and Pieter Performance. Her work is highly influenced through her ongoing artistic research strands and her long-term practice in movements as diverse as Lisa Nelson’s “Tuning” Scores, Steve Paxton’s Material for the Spine, Wild Goose qigong, Amerta Movement (Javanese movement meditation developed by Suprapto Suryodarmo), The Feldenkrais Method, and Open Source Releasing technique. In the Bay Area, she collaborates with Abby Crain through Art Workouts, as well as media artist Kadet. Her practice, Physical Intelligence, encompasses her unique perspective, helping people experience the innate clarity and vitality one can uncover through the potency of movement.

For more information visit www.margitg.wordpress.com

Foundation for Contemporary Arts Support!

The Show Box LA team is thrilled by the news that we’ve been awarded a grant from Foundation for Contemporary Arts towards our presenting programs in the coming year. It’s a great honor to be recognized by FCA for our endeavors here in Los Angeles, and join the list of wonderful organizations that they support.

Thank you FCA!  And thank you to our dynamic community of artists, friends, family, and supporters!

“Foundation for Contemporary Arts is thrilled to support these worthy arts organizations, who provide crucial services and presenting platforms to artists across the country,” said Stacy Stark, Executive Director of Foundation for Contemporary Arts.

Founded and guided by artists, FCA’s mission is to encourage, sponsor and promote innovative work in the arts created and presented by individuals, groups and organizations. For forty-nine years, FCA has provided grants to hundreds of artists and arts organizations enabling significant opportunities for creative exploration and development, and in fact predated the creation of government agencies such as the NEA.

itch Dance Journal has a new website!

itch Dance Journal has a new website!

Now and future lovers of itch, We are delighted to announce that we have a new website. The talented and whimsical Tanya Rubbak, itch Dance Journal’s design guru, has been hard at work. Check it out!
www.itchjournal.org

Practice participation in the ever-unfurling culture of corporeal inquiry and art making,
from LA and beyond: insert your thoughts, your body, your voice.

Love from the itch team:
Arianne Hoffmann, Taisha Paggett, Tanya Rubbak, Meg Wolfe, and Sara Wolf

submit    *    volunteer    *     subscribe    *    distribute    *    sponsor    *    donate

Wild Mind

May 5, 2012

Saturday at 3:30pm
Electric Lodge
1416 Electric Avenue, Venice, CA 90291

A conversation with David Roussève, Cari Ann Shim Sham* and Sri Susilowati
Dr. Anna B. Scott/Gesture & The Citizen joins Show Box L.A. to produce Wild Mind, a conversation about dance, innovation and society. Featuring with choreographers David Roussève and Sri Susilowati, along with filmmaker Cari Ann Shim Sham*, Scott leads a discussion of memory and screens, dance on film, and other topics that arise from the mediated gesture. GestureandCitizen/WildMind1 is an opportunity to chat with Dr. Scott and her guest speakers about readings that have been selected in advance. The goal is to create a rich experience in which speakers and audience are ready part in a conversational “dance” together.

 

Annenberg Foundation Support!

Annenberg Foundation supports Show Box L.A.!

We are thrilled to share the news that we have received a grant from Lauren Bon and the Metabolic Studio (a program of The Annenberg Foundation) in recognition of Show Box LA’s inspiring work and practice in the arts.  By funding the intangibles that precede creativity, support is offered to catalyze an artist’s practice.

Receiving this funding is a generous show of support for the work we’ve done so far, and great encouragement for what we focus on next.

Stay tuned!

2.26.12: 2hours4every3minutes

2hours4every3minutes

Curator Darin Klein about the itch performance, 2hours4every3minutes, at Tilt/Shift LA:

“Our final program in conjunction with Tilt-Shift LA was all that I hoped it would be – and more. Not knowing the precise details of what would unfold within the gallery tonight, I had nonetheless been promising (and advertising!) an “intimate and intense” evening…”
read more here:

http://darinkleinandfriends.blogspot.com

and some of his snapshots from the performance:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/darinkleinandfriends/

Photos by Walt Senterfitt.

itch #14 is out

itch #14: The Brakes. The Breaks

features writing/visuals from Taisha Paggett, Mikal Czech, Hana van der Kolk, LuQ, Julie Tolentino, Olive Mckeon, Rosie Trump, Sue Roginski, Christy Funsch, Vanessa Dewolf, Julie Mayo, Stephanie Skura, Diamondback Annie, Marcela Fuentes, M. Fielder, Alison d’Amato, J. Dellecave, D. Sherwood, Kate Mattingly & Macklin Kowal, Stacy Dawson Stearns, Sarah Day, Sara Wolf, Sara Wookey, Maya Maverik, Kevin Gralewski;  layout/design by Tanya Rubbak.

2.12.12: itch at Tilt-Shift LA

itch journal is pleased to be participating in two events as part of

Tilt-Shift LA: New Queer Perspectives on the Western Edge

presented by Darin Klein & Friends
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
2685 S La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 838-6000
Sunday, February 12, 12-6pm: ‘Zine Fest 2012!
Peruse and purchase publications from local creators and purveyors: 21st Century Queer Artists Identify Themselves, Double Break Gallery and Shop, Glaciers of Nice, itch, JIMMY, Night Papers, prvtdncr & bodega vendetta, Public Fiction, Christopher Russell, spunk (1993-96), Starrfucker, and more. Plus free reading material from The Miracle Bookmobile!
Saturday, February 18, 6-8pm: itch
Experience an intimate and intense dance performance by members of the itch community, whose interests and practices converge in a happenstance yet curiously fortuitous bricolage. itch is an evolving art project qua artist forum cum journal/‘zine published in LA.
Come visit us for these events, and check out the exhibit – running from Jan. 28 – February 25, 2012
Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm
special program hours
and by appointment
In the introduction that accompanies this exhibition, Darin Klein writes:As queer artists, we navigate a city that may have been built on illusion but is being held together by individualized histories. Our bodies and our intellects seek harmony with or rebel against the disparate confluences of our surroundings while gleaning information and inspiration. Our art proposes pragmatic solutions to, fantastic alternatives for, or straightforward documentation of the world as we experience it at the western edge of western civilization. …Because the ground we stand on is unstable—literally and metaphorically—the fortification of our psychological landscape is of utmost importance. There is no singular viewpoint on important issues that are certain to affect entire communities where nature and man threaten to wipe out the bedrock of our collective and varied efforts and hopes. Piece by piece we work to ensure that each of our voices is heard, confident that our contributions must strengthen the foundation of a future historical dialogue as it will pertain to queer artists living and working in Los Angeles right now.

(An itch event)

(You are cordially invited)
2hours4every3minutes: a performance cycle
Featuring: Greg Barnett, Taisha Paggett, Meg Wolfe… and you?
 
As part of Tilt-Shift LA: New Queer Perspectives on the Western Edge
 
Saturday, February 18, 2012
6-8pm
 
Free
come late/leave early/stay for the long haul
BYOB
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
2685 S La Cienega Boulevard (south of Venice)
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Contemplating the notion of queer performance and perusing this opportunity for real-time interaction, itch offers 2hours4every3minutes, a performance cycle.
What is it our bodies are willing to confess to that cannot otherwise be articulated? What information gets translated over time and what simply disappears? How do we share (the spotlight)? What unexpected danger/magic/disaster/confusion, etc., do we encounter when we really allow “everyone in the room” to speak, and who really takes up the invitation? What is this atrocity/beauty we call performance?
In the first hour, Greg Barnett, Taisha Paggett and Meg Wolfe rotate through a series of 3 minute performances, each one feeding off of and building from the previous experience. In the second hour, the 3 minute performance cycle opens to anyone who wishes to bring their body into the conversation. Over the course of 2 hours, the arc of the performance will be built from the shared labor of the bodies in this intimate space, bodies whose participation as witness or mover is of equal value. Mic check, mic check: how might you participate?
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles Presents
Darin Klein & Friends
Tilt-Shift LA: New Queer Perspectives on the Western Edge
above photo: Suzanne Wright

Los Angeles Times – 2011 Best in Dance

2011 year in review: Best in dance

From The Los Angeles Times year in review:

Miguel Gutierrez, a New York based dance and music artist, enjoys being both inventive and profane. His local solo debut in July, at the Alexandria Hotel (co-presented by Show Box LA and Blankenship Ballet), promised to be a step apart, and it was. “Heavens What Have I Done” was slyly subversive, chopping through boundaries between artist and audience and aiming for truths about love. Gutierrez transformed himself into an opera diva with white makeup and bouffant wig. He propelled himself around the Palm Court Ballroom with abandon, a fearless artist.

Read the full article here

Anatomy Riot #45

January 22, 2012

Sunday at 7pm
6608 Lexington Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038

In Loving Memory/Everything Must Go!
Don’t be sad it’s over, be glad it happened.

It is with great sadness and unexpected joy that we announce the death of Anatomy Riot, “AR”, 45, of Los Angeles, CA. AR was a wanderer, making her home from bars to ballrooms over the 6+ years. Hard-working, easygoing, unassuming, and community-minded, AR was loved by many; and is survived by Meg Wolfe, Show Box L.A., and 250+ performance children, countless intersections of legitimate and illegitimate body-specific investigations. AR is survived by the spirit of _____. AR is survived by you.

FEATURED PERFOMERS
Linda Austin
Gregory Barnett & Kate Gilbert
Kate Bergstrom
Stacy Dawson Stearns
Maureen Dunn
Simone Forti & The Sleeves (Terrence Luke Johnson, Sarah Swenson, Douglas Wadle)
d. Sabela grimes
Arianne Hoffmann
Marcus Kuiland-Nazario
Pat Payne
Jose Reynoso
Nancy Sandercock
Anna B. Scott
Meg Wolfe

• • •
Show Box L.A./Anatomy Riot #45: Everything Must Go / itch Dance Journal will be featured as part of the Native Strategies series. Write to nativestrategiesla@gmail.com for more information.

Kyle Abraham

Saturday, October 22, 2011

1–3pm
Blankenship Ballet at The Alexandria Hotel
501 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA  90013

The opening warm-up sequence focuses on the fluidity of the spine, articulation, and core body strengthening and then builds up to challenging, creative and invigorating phrase work. Participants experience a personalized post-modern movement vocabulary full of intricate gestures and fearless floor work.

Presented in conjunction with performances of Radio Show by Abraham.In.Motion at REDCAT, October 19–22, 2011.

• • •
ABOUT KYLE ABRAHAM

Kyle Abraham, professional dancer and choreographer, began his training at the Civic Light Opera Academy and the Creative and Performing Arts High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He continued his dance studies in New York, receiving a BFA from SUNY Purchase and an MFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Over the past few years, Abraham has received tremendous accolades and awards for his dancing and choreography including a 2010 Bessie Award for Outstanding Performance in Dance for his work in The Radio Show along with a 2010 Princess Grace Award for Choreography, a BUILD grant and an individual artist fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant, a Pennsylvania Council for the Arts Fellowship and 2009 was honored as one of Dance Magazine’s 25 To Watch. Abraham was heralded by OUT Magazine as one of the “best and brightest creative talent to emerge in New York City in the age of Obama.” His choreography has been presented throughout the United States and abroad, most recently at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Danspace Project, Dance Theater Workshop, Bates Dance Festival, Harlem Stage, Fall for Dance Festival at New York’s City Center, Montreal, Germany, Dublin’s Project Arts Center, The Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum located in Okinawa Japan and The Andy Warhol Museum in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. Abraham’s most recent work, The Corner, commissioned by Ailey 2, is currently touring internationally with great reception .

For more information visit abrahaminmotion.org

Papy Ebotani

Saturday, October 8, 2011

1–3pm
Blankenship Ballet at The Alexandria Hotel
501 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Presented in conjunction with performances of more more more… future by Faustin Linyekula/Studios Kabako at REDCAT, October 5–8, 2011

• • •
ABOUT PAPY EBOTANI

Papy Ebotani is a member of Faustin Linyekula/Studios Kabako, and lives and works in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He started out as a rapper and musician before becoming a dancer for Jean-Marie Musungayi’s Diba danse. He has been a performer with Faustin Linyekula and Les Studios Kabako since July 2001. He has trained with a wide range of dancers and choreographers, among them Fred Bendongué, Céline Bacqué, Toufik Oudhriri Idrissi, Hanna Hedman, Sylvain Prunenec, Pep Ramis and recently Meg Stuart at Tanzwerkstatt Berlin. Papy has also been invited to make and present work at numerous international residencies and festivals. Currently he works with Kenyan dancer and choreographer Edwin Kebaya. He has taught numerous workshops in Brasil, Brussels, London and la Réunion while continuing to teach in Congo.

Photo by Agathe Poupeney.

press: Wrapping Up Miguel

Here are the links to all the reviews, previews and interviews from Miguel Gutierrez’s visit to L.A.! Enjoy!

Los Angeles Times Culture Monster
Year in Review, Best in Dance 2011

The Miguel Gutierrez Interview, aka: Words on Work, Ghosts, and Sourcing at the Mothership
Interview with Stacy Dawson Stearns on Show Box L.A.

‘Heavens,’ it’s Miguel Gutierrez at the Alexandria Hotel
Los Angeles Times article by Susan Josephs

Miguel Gutierrez, finding a path outside the mainstream
Los Angeles Times Culture Monster blog post by Susan Josephs

Miguel Gutierrez

The Miguel Gutierrez Interview, aka: Words on Work, Ghosts, and Sourcing at the Mothership

Interview by Stacy Dawson Stearns

As old models of colonialism and capitalist greed persist with their predictable soft-shoe in the realms of mass media, the multiverse of contemporary dance and performance continues to erupt with resistant strains of expression and thought. These eruptions are gifts for those fighting to stay alert and nurture pockets of live exchange despite the constant call to fork over for the latest installment of ‘blah blah blah it all ends now’. New models abound in which traditional tasks of creator/performer/producer have shifted away from the work of simply becoming hot commodities into multi-faceted modes of research, risk-taking, transmission and administration. What does this mean? It means there is room in arty-world these days to fuck with the system. It means folks have cool thoughts to think and ways to share them. And even better. . . .  they want to share them with you. 

Miguel Gutierrez is such a new model maker, bringing a bit of a challenge to the situations he meets through his dance work. He does not have much use for boundaries except to push, break, deceive and beguile them. Whether Miguel is divining exquisite ensemble dances such as Last Meadow, or inviting audience to become participants in DEEP aerobics, his works are part of an expanding body of active inquiry into the nature of material and immaterial life.

Recently I had the pleasure of conducting an interview with Miguel about some aspects of his work that speak to me. We at Show Box LA want to share it with you in anticipation of Miguel’s performance and workshop this coming weekend. Don’t miss it!

+++

Stacy Dawson Stearns:   Hi, Miguel! The Left Coast is anxiously awaiting your mini-tour. I am thrilled to be in this role of interviewer. My hope is to release some of your soul aroma among the LA scene, and also to act as diplomat from this City of Angels in the ongoing efforts to bridge the coastal dance/performance scenes at the street level. We all are happy that big houses are bringing in NY hard-hitters out West with more frequency- 

Miguel Gutierrez:     Yes I wish that the “big houses” would bring me more, or ever for that matter…

SDS:   (agreed, consider this a wake-up call to the suits, ahem…) -but there is something more somatic, more instinct-driven that needs to occur across the miles besides presenter/artist partnerships. There are maker communities who want and need relations. Let’s make contact. 

MG:     Yes!!!! 

SDS:   I would like to start with your statement that you are “working against the idea of dance as a non-verbal ‘language’ “.  We dance artists often rely on the concept of dance as an alternate language in order to stimulate an audience to get their feet wet. It seems this accessible idea gets bandied about because the audience is seen as a unit that needs translation before they can go deep into a live experience and relate. Can you tell us more about your views on this? Is this dismissal of the standard concept of dance-as-language an invitation to engage on pre-linguistic or subconscious levels? Does this view reflect an interest in phenomenology or meta-physics?

MG:     AH- Ok, this is a long complicated question for me but it’s a good and important one. I guess I am interested in looking at dance from a variety of frameworks that, while possible to use language to describe, are not about placing language at the forefront of our understanding. One of my main reasons for saying that I don’t like the idea of dance as a language is that it relegates dance to being a kind of secondary, coherent relationship of signs and signifiers that rely on “primary” language to decode them. It also suggests that dance is only the operation of abstract action, when for me dance (and its extension into what I call the “choreographic”) is a mode of experiencing environment, action, bodies, internal thoughts and feelings (which can be verbalized or just observed in the somatic sense). I think it also bogs us down as art or dance makers when we exclusively think that our job as creators is to create a coherent and recognizable dance “language” (like Merce Cunningham, Trisha Brown or Stephen Petronio, whose physical “vocabularies” – another word that bugs me – are instantly recognizable, which satisfies that capitalistic, commodity loving aspect of ourselves and of culture). More interesting to me is the interrelationship of actions, elements of performance (sound, light, situation, space), and qualitative experience of movement. I also have a lot of questions in performance and dance about the role of “understanding” what I see. At this point in my performance-watching career, I am most intrigued by things that I don’t understand, that I can’t immediately relegate to my pre-determined experience through knowable language. Of course, the role of language to create reality is a longstanding discussion in philosophy, but I believe it is possible to “understand” or “feel” things without words. So in this sense there are certain ideas of “pre-linguistic” value that I’m thinking about. Knowing that you’re gay before you know what that means, being attracted to someone or something, feeling the urge to pick up an instrument, or walk across the street without knowing why… these are all simple examples of how you can “know” without using language to know.

SDS:   You are interested in philosophy and intersections between neuro-science and dance as it pertains to human perception. Do you engage in discourse with academic scholars or scientists around this topic? If so- can you share some of that experience? I sense that you do not shift yourself to “fit” into the predictable modes of elbow-padism. Are you a breath of fresh air, or a menace in these scenarios? 

MG:     I have been trying – somewhat feebly — to find sympathetic thinkers in other fields. In a recent residency at MANCC (the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, a choreographic research center located at FSU in Tallahassee) I was able to meet with Richard Shusterman, a philosopher and Feldenkrais practitioner, Charles Ouimet, a neuroscientist, and a group of “ghost hunters…” to discuss some of these ideas. Ironically the person who was the most open to my ideas was Dr. Ouimet I think, but I don’t think that that’s necessarily a commentary on his field as a whole. I think that many people in many fields are looking at these ideas – meaning the role of perception, history, language, and body to experience and “create” reality. What I’ve found from these interactions is that even though there are crossovers, MANY OF THEM between these fields, there are specific architectures of thought and history in each of the fields, and it can be daunting to approach that. I am looking to this stuff, not because I fancy myself a scholar or scientist, or because I think that I need to “justify” my experiences in dance, but just because this is where the events in my life took me to, and I’ve needed different language to look at what I’m trying to do with my work, and very often, or maybe MOST of the time, I rarely see dance written about in the way that I experience it. The more I learn the more humbled I am by the extraordinary legacies of research that people are doing all over.

SDS:   The humble feeling. I feel it is important to allow the somatic state that accompanies that word to live in the body while approaching boundaries in thought disciplines, yet I wonder if movers occasionally take a back seat in the think tank because we allow the humbling to reinforce hierarchies that place value on one mode of expressing thought over another….I notice this tendency in people who deal with fleshly concerns and sweat, so I begin to wonder what might happen if intellectual conversations occurred away from tables- skin to skin- or at least in a relationship of breath and movement.

MG:     I totally understand the frustration here. Something that I’ve thought about in relationship to my research is how, in the most reductive sense, intellectual research (philosophy, medicine) lives in an archetypally “masculine” domain – the rational, hierarchical, the knowable – and body based research (healing, somatics, dance and psychic experience) is often relegated to the “feminine” domain – irrational, multiple centers, mysterious. I find these poles useful as a way of measuring when I feel like something is being de-valued because of its apparent association with one of these domains, say, when a scientist ignores the experience of a bodyworker as quackery, or when a somatic-loving dancer resists medicine as a western evil.

as for stepping away from the table, I am definitely interested in situations where “research” and intellectual experience is not a “chair” based experience. I feel like that’s what I’m doing in my workshops and classes. but it is daunting to imagine getting a person steeped in academia to roll around on the floor. Richard Shusterman is an exception to be sure, but then he’s also a Feldenkrais practitioner so that makes sense. This again speaks, though, to the difficulties of getting people to move beyond the “architecture” of the way things are dealt with in their respective fields.

However, all of this has emboldened me to realize that the knowledge that I’ve acquired as a performance-maker, dancer, and person interested in all of this stuff is invaluable and valid. I may not be able to quantify it in the same terms as a doctor, philosopher or scientist, but I know that it holds its own weight and meaning in the world.

SDS:   I share a passion for this subject matter and direct my attention to intersections of somatic intelligence and the hard and softer sciences. The Dalai Llama has made significant progress in opening dialogues with the science community regarding the nature and experience of consciousness. Are you interested in perception and consciousness as a tool for human relations? If not, can you characterize the nature of your fascination?

MG:     Yes I’ve read a little of that work that the Dalai Lama has done. I guess I just think that it would be interesting if these fields didn’t work in isolation from each other, and I really wish that people in the fields of philosophy and science would interact more with dance artists who are interested in this work. Similarly, I wish that somatic practitioners and neurologists and philosophers could interact more. To be honest, I’m not totally sure what I expect to happen from these interactions. At MANCC we had a panel discussion with Shusterman, Michelle Boulé (a dance artist who’s worked with me for over ten years but who is also incredibly eloquent in talking about her work as a BodyTalk practitioner), Dan Wagoner, choreographer, and Betty Davis and Christine McVicker from Big Bend Ghost Trackers. It was sort of tough to moderate this panel, hahahaha. But I would like to do it more, I would like to find ways for these people to all talk to each other since they are all dealing with conceptions of Mind/Body that are challenging. I guess something that all of these fields share is that they are isolated from a larger cultural conversation about perception (although where the fuck is that conversation happening at all in the larger culture actually)

SDS:    Maybe it is only happening here…(it could happen more if everyone threw the TV out of the hotel window and started asking the mirror for “Bloody Mary”. Sorry did I say that out loud?)

MG:     I think that our understanding of “reality”, healing, life/death could be richly informed by an intersection of these conversations.

SDS:   Maybe you are like fascia, running the length of these related subjects. Can you put any of the Florida conversation on a bumper sticker for us? Do neuro-scientists believe in ghosts?

MG:     some do I think. Dr. Ouimet had had some kind of paranormal experience.

SDS:   Do ghost hunters somatically sense presences?

MG:     Absolutely. 

SDS:   Do ghosts haunt bodies as neurological events?

MG:     Well there are those who think that all of this stuff (ghosts, spiritual phenomena) is just right brain hyperactivity.

SDS:   Does the conversation start to revolve around physical sites of cognition or measurable data, or does it meander toward the ineffable feeling of being alive? I imagine that people might be afraid to utter things that could de-legitimize their work. . . .

MG:     Well I haven’t spoken to SO many people so it’s hard to say. After the panel in Florida, though, I had an interesting conversation with Shusterman, where he felt like the Ghost Hunters were wacko, and I found myself defending them because I said, look, they are talking about personal experience, something which they feel as a somatic truth. And for me, this is quite close to what he’s talking about when he defends the role of the body in philosophical traditions by arguing that we have to look to the subtle senses to perceive things more acutely.

I also need to sophisticate my own relationship to my work and to dance to understand how to continue with it, so that it doesn’t merely become about my ego and about my aging body and what I can and cannot “do” as a dancer anymore. I know that my work is ultimately dealing with grandiose philosophical questions and I need to amass information so that I’m not just asking pompous and ponderous questions as if I’m the first person who’s ever asked them.

SDS:  I want to challenge you to let that last concern go.

MG:     haha! ok!

SDS:   Of course you are not the first person to ask the questions, nor will you be the last. What is of note is the bravado with which you are laying crucial concepts out for trans-disciplinary discourse. Sure, amassing info is logical (no one wants to get caught with their pants down in the middle of a debate), but the nature of philosophy is so similar to that of dance: these disciplines animate questions rather than seek absolute answers. I admire your inertia and frankness. As audience and as a maker of work, I am tired of pondering the personal, emotional, historical contexts of choreographers. When folks dare to discuss something that could potentially go beyond their “reach”, it is an invitation. The choreographer becomes a lens somehow. 

MG:     Absolutely. A choreographer, any artist for that matter, is proposing a set of values, though, and I think that, as my work continues to evolve, it becomes important for me to understand what those are, how they are shifting and why. This is because I want to be interested in what I’m doing and I have to often trick myself into staying interested. I know that that sounds strange but it’s true. 

SDS:   We have been discussing dance and language here. The piece you will share with the LA audience is, in fact, mainly text and song based. How does this piece sit within your personal lexicon of work? Does the rejection of dance as a “language” bristle or shift when you perform text? I am interested in the relationship of embodied instinct and the mental/intellectual organization that occurs when we sequence and encounter spoken and sung words. Without feeling obligated to explain or reduce the mysteries inherent in the creation of solo work, can you share some of the elements of expression you are dealing with in this piece? How does this solo compliment or challenge your group work?

MG:     Thanks for this question. It’s hard for me to answer it, though. I have a longstanding relationship to writing (poetry and prose) and to song making. I often think of dance as the mothership and these other elements in my work (sound and text were there early on in my work and then re-emerged starting in 2005) as extensions of my interest in body-based expression. somehow when I talk or when people talk in the work or when I’m making song I think of it as choreography. InLast Meadow, my group piece from 2009 (which I’m very sad never made it to any California venue), words are layered, smeared, difficult to understand, frustrating, meaningful and meaningless. In this sense words/talking became more of a sensual texture than ways by which meaning was construed (although enough meaning is conveyed through the words so as to guide and then frustrate the viewer.) I always think of myself as a dancer who makes performance. Nevertheless this has created problems for me (to myself) at times because I want to be considered a poet or a musician/music maker as well. In this sense I think of someone like Jenny Holzer, whose writing was so central to her work, although she never accepted the title of “poet” which is sort of absurd cuz her writing is fucking incredible.

I don’t want to explain too much about the piece before I do it but I will say that in terms of solo vs. group practice it IS different and I am always interested and frustrated in the difference because I want to believe that the group practice is an extension of the solo practice but I’ve come to believe that they interrelated, though neither one necessarily stems from the other. The solo practice is great because I can do it whenever I want, without waiting for permission to start. And the fact is, I always need to be working on something or I go crazy.

SDS:   This is good stuff. Let’s not go any further. Thank you, Miguel. See you soon!

+++

Stacy Dawson Stearns is a contributing writer for Show Box L.A.

Photo by Alex Escalante.

Miguel Gutierrez: Ineffable Intangible Sensational

Sunday, July 17, 2011

12noon–3pm
Blankenship Ballet at The Alexandria Hotel
501 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA  90013

“I am currently looking at the intersections between neurology, cognitive science/philosophy, somatic processes and improvisation. I am interested in and troubled by the way that these fields work in isolation from each other to find similar results, and I wonder if dance/choreography can be a place to unite the discoveries that have been made. Working from the proposition that dance is a mode of perceptual inquiry, and working against the idea of dance as a non-verbal “language,” I am interested in movement explorations that prioritize sensation, non-rational action, and that trigger automatic, unprepared physical response. What does movement “do” and how does it operate as a framework for complicated, nuanced, embodied meaning?” —Miguel Gutierrez

• • •
ABOUT MIGUEL GUTIERREZ
Dancer and choreographer Miguel Gutierrez creates solo and group works with a variety of dancers, music, and visual artists under the moniker Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People.  Gutierrez’s work has been presented in various American venues, including Dance Theater Workshop and The Kitchen in New York, DiverseWorks in Houston, and the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington, Vermont, as well as at international festivals. He has received three New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Awards, is a 2010 Fellow in Choreography from the Guggenheim Foundation and a recipient of a 2010 Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant for Artists; he has also received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Capital, the Jerome Foundation, the Rockefeller MAP Fund, the National Performance Network Creative Commissioning Fund and New York Foundation for the Arts’ Fellowship and BUILD programs. He teaches regularly around the world and has worked with a wide variety of extraordinary contemporary dance artists, such as Joe Goode, John Jasperse, Juliette Mapp, Sarah Michelson, Jennifer Lacey, Deborah Hay, and Alain Buffard. Miguel was the curator of the Dance and Process series at The Kitchen from 2005–06. WHEN YOU RISE UP, a collection of his performance writings, is now available from 53rd State Press.

For more information visit www.miguelgutierrez.org

Miguel Gutierrez: HEAVENS WHAT HAVE I DONE

July 15–16, 2011

Friday–Saturday at 9pm
Blankenship Ballet at The Alexandria Hotel
501 S Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA  90013

“His political and creative restlessness—his refusal to settle and to settle down—makes him one of our most provocative and necessary artistic voices.”—Dance Magazine

LOS ANGELES PREMIERE

Set to music sung by renowned soprano Cecilia Bartoli,  HEAVENS WHAT HAVE I DONE unfolds from a rambling monologue addressing the artists’ ascension to success, the hypocrisies of an unstable world, artistic critiques, and dreams and desires of a more personal nature.

Created and Performed by Miguel Gutierrez
Lights by Lenore Doxsee
Set by Miguel Gutierrez and Jason Simms
Costume by Machine Dazzle

• • •
ABOUT MIGUEL GUTIERREZ
Dancer and choreographer Miguel Gutierrez creates solo and group works with a variety of dancers, music, and visual artists under the moniker Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People.  Gutierrez’s work has been presented in various American venues, including Dance Theater Workshop and The Kitchen in New York, DiverseWorks in Houston, and the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington, Vermont, as well as at international festivals.  He has received three New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Awards, is a 2010 Fellow in Choreography from the Guggenheim Foundation and a recipient of a 2010 Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant for Artists;  he has also received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Capital, the Jerome Foundation, the Rockefeller MAP Fund, the National Performance Network Creative Commissioning Fund and New York Foundation for the Arts’ Fellowship and BUILD programs. He teaches regularly around the world and has worked with a wide variety of extraordinary contemporary dance artists, such as Joe Goode, John Jasperse, Juliette Mapp, Sarah Michelson, Jennifer Lacey, Deborah Hay, and Alain Buffard.  Miguel was the curator of the Dance and Process series at The Kitchen from 2005–06.  WHEN YOU RISE UP, a collection of his performance writings, is now available from 53rd State Press.
www.miguelgutierrez.org

Amii LeGendre: Beyond Vertical

Saturday, April 30, 2011

1–3pm
REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/Cal Arts Theater)
631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

This class is a fusion between a modern dance technique and contact improvisation. This class explores supported (safe) dancing on the floor, in the air, and upside down. The class begins on the floor with flow-based exercises focused on opening joints, tuning into breath and sensation, and finding meaningful pathways for safe motion out of and into the floor. Standing alignment work with a focus on core support, spiral, and joint release support eventual disruptions into designed falling pathways and upside-down work. The goal is to seek, adore, and make peace with disorientation in full-scale phrase work and contact dancing. The class stresses upper body strength and attention to one another and to the space in order to support wild disorientation, and to ultimately dance a fluid athletic vocabulary.

Presented in conjunction with performances of Faith by Pat Graney Company at REDCAT, April 28-May 1, 2011.

• • •
ABOUT AMII LEGENDRE
Amii LeGendre is on faculty at Bard College, where she teaches dance technique and choreography. She received her B.A. from Connecticut College and her M.F.A. from University of Wisconsin. She is the artistic director of LeGendre Performance Group, which she found in 1994, and has performed her work throughout United States and in Canada, Ecuador, Peru, Hong Kong. She served as faculty at Cornish College of the Arts from 1998–2005, and has been a guest artist as part of the Bard Prison Initiative. She has received residencies from SUNY New Paltz, Connecticut College, Vassar College, Wesleyan University, Purdue University, Texas Woman’s University. Her research focuses on site-specific performance, contact and performed improvisation, and performance and activism.