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Bates Festival Newsletters

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Newsletter Vol. 3 Spring 2005

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

FROM THE DIRECTOR

The support structure that the Bates Dance Festival provides to artists - emerging, established, homegrown and international – comes to life during five weeks each summer. Bates is a place where leading dance practitioners, outstanding musicians, students and audience members return year after year for refreshment and renewal. The 2005 Festival season begins July 9 and runs through August 14.

Yet even now, at this moment, the life of the Festival continues. BDF-commissioned artists are creating new works. Dancers from across the country and around the world are applying to our school and for the first time have access to an online pre-registration process. Lewiston-Auburn school guidance counselors are introducing at-risk youth to our Youth Arts Program. Meanwhile, our partnership with the academic dance program at Bates College is proceeding in a mutually beneficial direction.

This is an excellent time to check in. The arc of activity connecting one Festival season to another will be palpable as you peruse these pages.

It takes year-round cultivation and many friends and supporters to sustain a vibrant center for contemporary dance in Maine. We welcome your ongoing interest. Do plan to join us this summer, and keep in touch.

-Laura Faure, Festival Director

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Young Dancers WorkshopJuly 9 - July 23
3-Week Professional Training ProgramJuly 23 - August 14
Youth Arts ProgramJuly 25 - August 13
2005 Performance Series July 16 – August 13

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 A WORLD OF DANCE

In 1994 the Bates Dance Festival initiated the International Visiting Artists Program (IVAP) to provide gifted emerging and established artists from selected countries around the world with an opportunity to participate in our unique American dance community. To date we have hosted artists from South Africa, Cape Verde, Mexico, Cuba, Portugal, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Vietnam and Indonesia. This summer Bates throws open another exciting window onto world cultures.

Vincent Sekwati Koko Mantsoe of Johannesburg and Kota Yamazaki of Tokyo will collaborate on the earliest stages of a new work BDF is co-commissioning with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. The artists' mutual desire to work together was sparked by their meeting at BDF in ‘03 and Yamazaki's recent work connecting the Butoh tradition with African dance and history. We are proud to say it was our program that first introduced Mr. Mantsoe, who has gone on to choreograph for Dance Theater of Harlem, among others, and Mr. Yamazaki's work to U.S. audiences and presenters. Other IVAP artists coming to Bates this summer include Faustin Linyekula of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Gregory Maqoma of South Africa who will also collaborate on a new work, and  Mugiyono Kasido of Indonesia who will teach a workshop on contemporary Asian dance. An artist from Mexico will also join us.

While in-residence, IVAP participants will have an opportunity to study with over sixteen major U.S. artists. They will present a workshop and evening talk about their work and their cultural context on July 28, and perform in our Different Voices concert on August 12.

While we are particularly interested in working with artists from economically challenged countries that have fewer opportunities for exchange, we welcome artists from diverse cultures around the globe. We frequently work with peer presenting organizations and other colleagues to support international work.

Support for the Bates Dance Festival's IVAP program has come from Arts International, Asian Cultural Council, Dance Theatre Workshop's Suitcase Fund and Mekong Project, New England Foundation for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, Saison Foundation, and the U.S. Information Service. Other sponsors are currently being sought to sustain and expand our International Visiting Artist Program.

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TELL IT! – 2004 Participant Feedback

Kristin Van Loon and Arwen Wilder of the Minneapolis-based, choreographic duo hijack wrote of their experience in the Emerging Choreographers Program, “We so enjoy the atmosphere that you design…the opportunity to live and work near all those amazing people: students, teachers and international artists. It was fabulous just to step outside our bedroom doors and have a street full of brilliant dance-makers to talk to...We took class with Cynthia [Svigals], Kathleen [Hermesdorf], and Nancy [Stark Smith]. The range of classes meant we got three really wonderful stimulating and thought-provoking experiences every day to fuel our rehearsals and inspire and take care of our bodies. Sorting out all these points of views on movement, life and the body was a great way to be choreographing…Living dance, talking about it, making it, listening to Suzanne [Carbonneau] talk about it, developed an incredibly loving and intelligent audience. It is hard to imagine finding that combination of informed and supportive people in any other context…At Bates we reflected on our work so far and our goals for the future. It was really valuable to us.”

Dance educators in our 2004 adult training program had this to say: “I took in some of the most important performances and lectures of my dance career, and I communed with so many beautiful dancers from all over the world. Your vision and foresight is and will continue to be the fuel that keeps the field of dance moving into the future by quantum leaps.” – Margira Ross, Garrison Forest School, Owings Mills, MD

“The conceptual knowledge has deepened my curriculum and given me a new avenue for discovery. My students immediately noticed a difference in my teaching methods and have embraced the new knowledge.” – Melissa Lodhi, Booker High School, Sarasota, FL

“Bates College is a beautiful environment for the festival…the benefits continue to permeate my day as a dance educator and will continue to last a lifetime!” – Lily Cabatu Weiss, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Dallas, TX

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BIG PICTURE: DANCE AT BATES

This year for the first time, Bates College is offering academic credit for the Bates Dance Festival as a recognized part of a Bates education. The BDF has officially been included in the Bates College academic calendar as a Short Term credit in dance, DANCs30. Says Carol Dilley, Assistant Professor and Director of Dance, “The dance program is taking the exciting step of recognizing the Festival as part of the core curriculum for dance studies at Bates College. Its' part of the continuing development of a unique program in which an academic dance program and a dynamic dance festival share work in partnership to expand the potential of both. We at the College are excited about this development for it makes the Festival accessible to Bates students providing contact with a community of dancers that is much larger and more diverse than anything they have access to during the rest of the year at Bates.”

We are pleased to announce that BDF has been awarded a competitive grant submitted jointly with The Bates College Dance Program from the National College Choreography Initiative (NCCI), a program of Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance. NCCI support will enable choreographer Seán Curran to be in-residence at the Festival for three weeks to develop a new work and then return during the '05-06 academic year to set the work on Bates College dance students. Residency time will include a master class for the Youth Arts Program serving local at-risk youth and interdisciplinary contact with other departments.

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WHO'S NEWS

Introducing the BDF Artists Committee! The following dance luminaries have agreed to stand and be counted as supporters of the Festival: Suzanne Carbonneau, Jane Comfort, Rennie Harris, Paula Josa-Jones, Stephan Koplowitz, Liz Lerman, Vincent Mantsoe, Bebe Miller, Eiko Otake, Judith Smith, Nancy Stark Smith, Doug Varone and Jane Weiner. We thank each distinguished member of this impressive group and look forward to working with them.

We extend a warm welcome to Allan Shapiro and Jill Reich, who joined the BDF Advisory Council in 2004. Allan is a television producer for the popular show Nightline and is based in Takoma Park, MD. Jill serves Bates College as Vice President for Academic Affairs. We appreciate their significant and ongoing contributions.

We bid a fond farewell to Marcus Bruce, William Hiss, and Richard Pilkington, who have rotated off the Council. Their work with us was important and will be remembered.


Bates Dance Festival Advisory Council
(top row left to right) Gregory Brackett, Elizabeth Hansen, Jackie Misenheimer, Paula Marcus-Platz, facilitator Elinor Buxton, Kim Konikow; (bottom row) Marcus Bruce, Peggy Muir, Marcy Plavin, Barry Dean, Dervilla McCann, Carol Dilley of the BDF Advisory Council gathered on August 10, 2004 in Perry Atrium for an introductory planning session to reinvigorate, define, and focus the work of the Council. Photo: Michael Philip Manheim

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ON THE RECORD
by Adrienne Byrd

In the words of BDF Director Laura Faure, “the festival is a moving continuum of thoughts and ideas.” Its records are also pieces of dance history. Though the full experience of the Festival can only truly be captured in the moment, the BDF collection in the Edward S. Muskie Archives at Bates College contains a wealth of information on paper and in video.

The purpose of a dance archive is reflected in the mission statement of the Dance Heritage Coalition, a group that assists individual dance organizations: “to preserve, make accessible, enhance and augment the materials that document the artistic accomplishments in dance of the past, present, and future.” The first year I came to BDF as a student, Laura mentioned some of the many programs and ideas she had for advancing and improving the Festival. I approached her after she mentioned archiving the video collection and told her that I could help. The next summer, I came to the Festival as a project archivist and part-time student.

“With very little funding but with the dedication of Adrienne, the Bates archival staff and Festival interns we have made great progress in establishing the collection,” states Laura Faure. “The opportunity for two small grants from the Maine Historical Records Program of the Maine State Library gave us a way to begin the process. Adrienne's encouragement along with interest and support from former Bates College Special Collections archivist Kurt Kuss made it possible for us to begin cataloguing the records” in August of 2000.

I worked side by side with Kurt Kuss and we invited Pat Rader of the Dance Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts to advise during the process. Pat offered invaluable encouragement and guidance regarding the establishment of the archive.

Each summer from 2000 – 2004, BDF student assistants Zoia Cisneros and Betsy Miller accomplished a great deal of work in reviewing and cataloguing videos as well as working with the artist and promotional materials. The BDF Collection is still being processed each summer during the festival and, beginning in 2006, Bates College students from Dance and other departments will help during the school year.

Laura Faure: “My hope is that we have been able to preserve and capture a written and video history of the activities at the Festival over its 23 year life. Given that dance is such a potent live medium that is never the same on paper or tape this is the best that one can hope for as a record of what is taking place. I hope this archive will serve as an important record of contemporary dance in America during the end of the 20th century and be a resource for the field.”

The Bates Dance Festival Collection guarantees that all aspects of important works are preserved for posterity. The collection covers the full history of the festival, beginning with a few videos and promotional photos of artists from 1983-1987. With Laura's arrival as director in 1988, the documentation of the festival increases dramatically. The videos and DVD copies are the largest part of the collection from 1988 to present. The scope of these tapes and copies cover classes, lectures and public performances. Artist biographies and photos, programs and concert guides for all performances, along with publicity materials such as magazine and newspaper clippings, posters and advertisements are all included in the collection.

One of the beauties of dance is that, once performed, a piece becomes immediate history; it will not be exactly the same again. The video, film and paper records allow us to ensure that the work performed and created at BDF will not be lost. Students and scholars can read reviews of past performances, research the technical notes, or learn an important choreographer's phrases.

Note: the full collection is not yet available to researches. Some administrative and creative personnel files are restricted. Requests to view items should be made to the Bates College Archivist.

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NATIONAL ARTS RESEARCH BRIEF

Gifts of the Muse: Reframing the Debate About the Benefits of the Arts, a new report from the Washington, D.C.-based RAND Corporation, suggests that providing individuals with repeated positive experiences with the arts over time is a necessary first step before other, more public benefits of the arts can be realized. For the full article, visit: http://fdncenter.org/pnd/news/story.jhtml?id=96700015.

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MEMBERSHIP

BDF relies on contributions from foundations, corporations, and individuals to supply forty percent of our operating budget. Please consider becoming a Member – call 207-786-6381 today or send an email to dancefest@bates.edu for more information.

Founded in 1982, the Bates Dance Festival is a summer program of Bates College whose mission is: to bring an artistically and ethnically diverse group of outstanding contemporary dance artists to Maine during the summer months to teach, perform, and create new work; to encourage and inspire established and emerging artists by giving them a creative, supportive place in which to work; and to actively engage people from the community and region in a full range of danceperformances, workshops and discussions. The Festival receives some in-kind support from Bates College and pays an annual fee in exchange for services.

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