Tuesday, September 27, 2016

SERIOUS MOONLIGHT podcast: Sydnie L. Mosley

Sydnie L. Mosley
(photo: Farima Faye/F.F. Visual)

Sydnie L. Mosley is an artist-activist who is interested in creative work that is both artistically sound and socially aware. Sydnie earned her MFA in Dance with an emphasis on Choreography from the University of Iowa, not long after she received her BA in Dance and Africana Studies from Barnard College at Columbia University. Sydnie’s creative and research interests lie at the intersections of modern dance, movement in the African Diaspora, spirituality, feminism, and literature.​
Her choreographic work with her company SLMDances actively engages audiences, and often reflects the experiences of black peoples and women. Her evening length dances The Window Sex Project and BodyBusiness, their creative processes and performance experiences are a model for dance-activism. ​​​Her dances have been performed extensively throughout New York City and she was listed by TheRoot.com as one of twenty-five “Up and Coming: Young Minority Artists and Entrepreneurs.”​

Sydnie is a recipient of the CUNY Dance Initiative (2016 Artist in Residence), Dancing While Black Artist Fellowship (2015-2016), and The Field Leadership Fund (2015-2017). She produced her most recent evening length work with The Performance Project @ University Settlement (Artist in Residence 2015-2016). She is a 2013 alumna of the Create Change Fellowship with The Laundromat Project, and the Gibney Dance Institute for Community Action Training. In 2011, she became the inaugural Barnard Center for Research on Women Alumnae Fellow.

​A versatile dancer, Sydnie performed most recently with ​INSPIRIT, a dance compan​y, and Brooklyn Ballet. Jennifer Dunning of The New York Times writes of her performance in David Parker’s Nut/Cracked Redux, “I won't soon forget… the woman who stood in the center of a sea of floor-bound bodies, allowing her arms to bloom up and open luxuriously in a gracious, centuries-old convention with radiant pride and pleasure.”​

As a dance educator, Sydnie specializes in teaching modern, jazz and West African dance, amongst other styles.  She teaches babies (really!), K-12, undergraduates, non-dancers and professionals alike, with the motto: if you can move, you can dance! She designed and teaches Dance in the City, Barnard College's Pre-College Program in dance.

Sydnie’s skills extend beyond the creative. She is an independent scholar who earned honors for her Barnard College senior thesis, “​Dancing Black Christianity: Revealing African American and Ghanaian Cultural Identity through Movement in Christian Worship.” She is a new contributing writer to The Dance Enthusiast and has contributed to Dance Magazine. She is also an advocate for dance currently serving on the Dance/NYC Advisory Board, after a four year tenure on the Dance/NYC Junior Committee which represents the interests of dance professionals in New York City ages 21-30.​​​ She served as Vice Chair 2014-2015.

Sydnie currently resides in Harlem, New York City. When she isn’t dancing, she is writing, listening to music, and cooking.

Serious Moonlight--hosted by Eva Yaa Asantewaa and produced with Tei Blow--is a production of Gibney Dance Center's Digital Technology Initiative.

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SERIOUS MOONLIGHT podcast: Jessica Chen

Jessica Chen
(photo: Vanessa Gonzalez-Bunster

Jessica Chen, Artistic Director of J CHEN PROJECT, graduated from the University of California in Santa Barbara and continued her dance training in NYC at The Ailey School and Earl Mosley’s Institute of the Arts, where she received a full scholarship.

She has taught master classes at institutions such as Yale University, Boston University, Mt. Holyoke, DeSales University and Orange County School of the Arts, as well as her alma mater.  As a speaker, she presented “If I Can Dance It, Then It’s Possible” at the 2014 TEDx organized by Semester at Sea and was honored as the Keynote for Cornell University’s 2011 Celebration of Asian American Women.   Her choreography has been showcased throughout NYC including NYLA Studio Series, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Ailey Citigroup Theater and she choreographed and directed a Featured Float in the 2015 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Ms. Chen started a Mentorship Program – Summer Intensive for aspiring professional dancers and curates an annual choreographers’ festival at Dixon Place ‘TRANSLATE (voices of dance).’

J CHEN PROJECT is creating an evening length show title “The Shadow and The Like,” based on real-life tragedy, which addresses the psychological struggles behind a glossy Social Media image.  This show will run at Dixon Place from September 29 to October 1, 2016.


Read more at "Unbreakable Spirit: dancer Jessica Chen" 
by Eva Yaa Asantewaa, InfiniteBody, September 3, 2103

Serious Moonlight--hosted by Eva Yaa Asantewaa and produced with Tei Blow--is a production of Gibney Dance Center's Digital Technology Initiative.

Get your free email subscription
to InfiniteBody.

SERIOUS MOONLIGHT podcast: Cassie Mey

Cassie Mey

Cassie Mey is the Oral History Coordinator and Audio Archivist for the Jerome Robbins Dance Division at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Formerly, Cassie was NYPL's project Cataloger for the Merce Cunningham Audio Collection and she was the Oral History Archive Assistant from 2009-2015. Additionally, she conducted a focus group on “Documenting the Creative Process” in 2013 for the Dance Heritage Coalition’s Artist-Driven Archives project. Alongside her work in archives, Cassie is a lifelong dancer, having most recently performed in Dean Moss’s multimedia work and 4 year project, johnbrown. Over the past 15 years, she also danced with Molissa Fenley , Jillian Peña , and other choreographers, as well as presented her own dance works and collaborations in NYC. Cassie holds an MSILS degree from Pratt Institute and a BA in Dance from Mills College.

Serious Moonlight--hosted by Eva Yaa Asantewaa and produced with Tei Blow--is a production of Gibney Dance Center's Digital Technology Initiative.

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Serious Moonlight dance podcast launches on iTunes!

I am over the moon about Serious Moonlight, a new dance interview podcast I'm producing with Tei Blow for Gibney Dance Center's Digital Technology Initiative. (Big thanks to you, Tei!) Our first shows are finally up on iTunes. (Subscribe, please!) 

Episode 1 is a recording of my final Not The Master's Tools panel of speakers--Katy Pyle, Nia Love, Benjamin Kimitch and Kazu Kumagai. Episode 2 is a chat with Cassie Mey, archivist for the New York Public Library's Jerome Robbins Dance Division. In Episode 3, choreographer Jessica Chen talks about her blooming life and career following a devastating accident. And in Episode 4, dance artist Sydnie L. Mosley of SLMDances discusses her multifaceted work as a performer, dancemaker, scholar, educator, administrator and activist dedicated to social justice.

I hope you'll enjoy Serious Moonlight. Let's dance!

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Serious Moonlight here.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Forward and backward and forward with John Jasperse

Heather Lang and Stuart Singer
in Remains,
a new work by John Jasperse
(photo: Grant Halverson)

Dance is that art where real bodies, usually in real time, put themselves on view and on the line. But linear time passes, and dance slips away--from place, from sight, from memory. (Well, maybe not completely erased, but memory files can get a bit corrupted.) You want to clamp your arms around something so courageous and so poignant. And, no, you can't.

A new work by John Jasperse for BAM Next Wave pointedly evokes these thoughts and feelings. It is called Remains, both a noun and a verb. That still, prone body we first see lying in the middle of BAM Harvey's stage, cheerfully dressed in glitter? Definitely no longer moving. How strange that the audience--silenced by what appears to be the beginning of the dance--is compelled to gaze at a fallen body while house lights remain up, ushers remain at their stations, and a flurry of latecomers find their seats. And even then. And even then.

Like other folks at last night's premiere, I kept craning my neck to watch the puzzling scene around me. Finally, one usher made a circling gesture in the air, and her fellow workers melted out of sight. If I recall, it still took a while for the lights to dim. And even then. And even then.

Velvety black, like night, surrounded that isolated, illuminated body still at rest on the stage.

The stage reappeared. Throughout the hour, the atmosphere stayed largely serene, sometimes devoid of sound. A minimalist set, parallel lines in the floor pattern, lighting and infusions of music introduced lightly-applied coordinates, giving the dancers a place to be, but most of those coordinates could be altered. Even the board-like panels that hugged the space took on different tones and temperatures of yellow. And the well-crafted dancing, loosely sourced in Jasperse repertory and influences, appeared to channel a flow of imagery from centuries of visual art as well. The game was in allowing that flow--so well conveyed in the dancing--and following it, savoring the things you recognize or think you recognize, then letting them go.

This company--Maggie Cloud, Marc Crousillat, Burr Johnson, Heather Lang, Stuart Singer and Claire Westby-- is a blessing to Jasperse, and the opening night audience responded with loving, palpable warmth, much deserved.

Music: John King
Additional music: Javier Peral and Die Antwoord
Visual design: John Jasperse and Lenore Doxsee
Costume design and construction: Baille Younkman
Lighting design: Lenore Doxsee

Remains continues through Saturday with performances at 7:30pm. For information and tickets, click here.

BAM Harvey Theater
651 Fulton Street, Brooklyn

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