Monday, June 25, 2012

New York Live Arts writing students' projects

Ashley Thursby
Melissa West
(Photo: Anjola Toro)
Anabella Lenzu
Sofia Strempek
(Weiferd Watts Photography)

New York Live Arts students 
from my Spring 2012 Writing on Dance series
present their final projects

This season of Writing on Dance, I challenged a group of nine students--all women, all dance or performance artists--to explore questions and experiments designed to complicate, expand and enrich the way they engage with and write about the art of dance. How do we come to know a dance, connect with its ideas and energy and turn on energy in our own writing? How can we allow dance to discover us as we watch it? How can we worry less about form and formality in our writing and simply start anywhere that feels intriguing, delicious and powerful? How can we identify--and defy--the barriers to freedom in our writing? How do we, as writers, curate experience for our readers and open the multi-verse of dance to their enjoyment?

These questions have no set answers, but they launch individual and rewarding journeys.
It was the age of questions, not knowing what you wanted, knowing what you didn't want. -- Agnès Varda (Les plages d'Agnès)
For this teacher, the eight-week series proved to be an exercise in flying without a net--focusing less on dance writing as formal arts journalism; sharing some strategies I use in teaching intuitive development and working with Tarot and sacred symbolism. The students were encouraged to take these mind games and materials wherever their experiences led them and, with the group's gentle support, analyze their own results. For these talented and accomplished women, the program provided community as they followed their own curiosity and questions to the next challenge and the next and the next. Now that they have a stronger sense of the "more" that awaits them as writers, I'm confident that you'll want to keep up with their developing work.
EmmaGrace Skove-Epes
Kate Ladenheim
Philippa Crowne

Jessica Parks
Katrina De Wees

Big thanks, as always, to the folks at New York Live Arts--especially Ben Kimitch, who coordinates Writing on Dance--for extraordinary enthusiasm and support.

Please follow the links provided below to the writers' individual blogs or cloud sites to learn more about them and read their final Writing on Dance projects.


People walking in the same direction
by Anabella Lenzu

A Latina /European choreographer exploring the New York City dance scene

Dance for your ego. Is dance inclusive or exclusive? I hear myself -and other choreographers- say they want their work to be accessible to the audience, but in reality the material that we put forth is just for an elite sector of the audience. There is a thin line between what you want to create and what you want to offer to the people. The words "service in dance" is in decay.
Read more.

Originally from Argentina, Anabella Lenzu is a dancer, choreographer and teacher with over 20 years experience working in Argentina, Chile, Italy and the USA.  Lenzu draws on her diverse background to create thought-provoking and socially-conscious dance-theatre in the interest of improving our human condition. She is also a published author for various dance and arts magazines.

Dear Arts—Deal with it…
by Ashley Thursby

Louisville, Kentucky has a strong arts scene, but for how much longer? After the Mayor’s recent budget proposal cutting the Louisville Ballet by 80%, the board members are faced with another roadblock. Having ended the fiscal year in the black for the first time in years, the ballet company felt on track, yet doing everything right has not paid off for this arts organization. Read more.

My name is Ashley, artist, dance teacher, writer, Pilates instructor; the usual combo-career of sorts that allows me to do what I love 30 weeks out of the year—ballet. Although blogging is new to me, I intend for it to be an outlet for my voice as an artist. I consider myself a living, breathing advocate for the sustainability of arts both in general and for my current home in Louisville, Kentucky.

by Kate Ladenheim

A response to Lightsey Darst's The Poorest Art: Dance and Money (The Huffington Post, June 1 and June 4, 2012). Read more. 

Kate Ladenheim is a freelance dancer and the artistic director and choreographer for her dance company The People Movers. Kate also writes a personal blog and teaches yoga.

yvonne rainer at dia:beacon
by Melissa West

yvonne rainer at dia:beacon is a brief textual analysis of Ms. Rainer's recent concert at Dia:Beacon. Melissa West closely interprets the work as it was performed and discusses Rainer's work in the larger context of performance and media studies. Read more.

Melissa West is an independent mover/choreographer/poet and hooper based in Staten Island, NY. She is a recipient of the 2012 Premier and Excellence in the Arts grants from the Council for Arts and Humanities on Staten Island.

An Easy Bloom
by Philippa Crowne

An investigation of John Jasperse's re-staging and re-thinking of his 2001 piece, Fort Blossom revisited.
Read more.

Philippa Crowne
started writing about dance in high school in the HighFive Trac class at Dance Theater Workshop with Brian McCormick. Under the direction of Leah Cox and Maria Simspon, she recently completed her senior thesis at Bard College on the legacies and repertoire of Merce Cunningham and José Limón. Philippa continues to write and see dance in New York City.

Moving Portraits
by Sofia Strempek

Company Stephanie Batten Bland’s recent performance at the Baryshnikov Arts Center was a voluptuous, visually compelling showcase of two of her works, Terra Firma and A Place of Sun. Read more.

Sofia Strempek graduated from the University of Utah about a month ago with a BFA in modern dance and a minor in English Literature. Her work has been published in the dance journal/blog loveDANCEmore and in the Daily Utah Chronicle. All of Sofia’s writing and graphic design can be found at

Uptown, downtown...another town
by Jessica Parks

Uptown, downtown...another town is a descriptive commentary piece about Gallim Dance's recent performance of Sit, Kneel, Stand at the Joyce Theater. Parks uses colorful language that stimulates the imagination and provides the reader with verbal imagery of the work. Read more.

Jessica Parks is a New York City based dance artist working in the realms of choreography, dance writing, teaching and performance. She is co-artistic director of The Umbrella Co., author of the blog So She Danced and a member of Urban Dance Collective and Heather N. Seagraves and Dancers. Through her work Jessica hopes to share dance with as many people as possible and inspire and continue to be inspired by those around her.

A Conversation with Larissa Velez-Jackson
by EmmaGrace Skove-Epes

A Conversation with Larissa Velez-Jackson is an excerpt of a transcribed conversation I had with multimedia dance and performance artist Larissa Velez-Jackson, after being introduced to her work through her piece Star Crap in Progress (the solo). In the conversation, Larissa and I discuss audiences and our expectations of them, feminism, dragging, queer art, affect, and performance. Read more. 

EmmaGrace Skove-Epes is a Brooklyn-born choreographer, dancer, and sometimes singer. She currently dances for choreographers Jesse Phillips-Fein, Dana Salisbury, and Nadia Tykulsker/Spark(edIt) Arts. Her own choreography has been shown at HERE Arts Center, Judson Memorial Church, the Paradise Theater, Spoke the Hub’s Gowanus Arts building, and Triskelion Arts.

by Katrina De Wees

On Thursday May 17th I attended A Matter of Practice, curated by Lydia Bell a recent graduate of the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance. The evening was a part of Food for Thought at Danspace Project, a benefit series supporting the St. Marks Church food program. The exchange was glorious, emerging curators, food for the hungry and live performance! Read more.

Katrina De Wees is a multimedia performance artist, educator and emerging curator based in Brooklyn, NY. She currently works as a museum educator and arts administrator at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Her dance inspired, and art reflective writings may be viewed at

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