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Bates Festival Newsletter

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Newsletter Vol. 6, Spring 2008
Newsletter Writer and Editor: Laura Faure

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

2008 SEASON SNAPSHOT

• Young Dancers Workshop: July 3 - July 19

• 3-Week Professional Training Program: July 19 – August 10
• Youth Arts Program: July 21 - August 9

July 15................ Keigwin + Company, Lecture Demonstration
July 18 - 19................ Keigwin + Company, performance
July 22 .................... Global Exchange: Sharing Across Cultures, Panel discussion with international visiting artists
July 24..................... Movement (R)evolution, Film & Lecture with Joan Frosch
July 25 & 26............. Africa/NOW, performance featuring Nora Chipaumire and Gregory Maqoma
July 28.................... Zoe Scofield & Juniper Shuey, Lecture/Demonstration
July 29.................... Musician’s Concert, featuring music from around the world
August 1 & 2............. Zoe Scofield & Juniper Shuey, performance
August 5.................... Moving in the Moment, Improvisation concert
August 7 & 8............. Different Voices, performance by international and emerging choreographers
August 9.................... Festival Finale, performance featuring students of all ages

Individuals looking for a rewarding vacation destination need look no farther than Maine. If you’re thinking of coming our way this summer, the Maine Office of Tourism can assist with travel plans.  Visit their website at www.visitmaine.com or call 1-888-624-6345.

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2008 PREVIEW

Laura Faure, Festival Director

This summer we continue our tradition of fostering a creative community of contemporary dance. Bringing together leading dance practitioners, composer/musicians, educators, students and audience members, the 2008 Festival offers a sampling of the best up and coming and established contemporary dance makers.

Highlighting the season will be a newly commissioned work by one of New York City's hottest companies, Keigwin + Company. A long time member of the Festival community, we have co-commissioned Keigwin's latest work, The Elements, a series of four suites each with its own mood, inspired by the natural world. This Maine premiere will be paired with Keigwin's spicy and entertaining look at romance, Love Songs.  New to our stage emerging stars Zoe Scofield & Juniper Shuey present their latest work, the devil you know is better that the devil you don't, that has been called a "feral ballet" by the Seattle Times.Featuring arresting visual design, seamlessly woven video and exquisite dancing, the devil… is a haunting work.  Zimbabwean-born artist, Nora Chipaumire, performs her powerful solo Chimurenga, aprovocative and politically relevant work that illuminate the struggles of human identity in an increasingly borderless world.   Sharing this evening, entitled

Keigwin photo by Tom Caravaglia

Africa/NOW, is South African choreographer Gregory Maqoma who will perform an excerpted version of Beautiful Me, anintelligently provocative exploration of kinetic African identity. Our annual Different Voices concerts features veteran choreographer and filmmaker Victoria Marks presenting an excerpt from her quietly subversive work, Not About Iraq. Also on the program will be new works by Ananya Chatterjea, women's rights activist, artist and scholar; Nugent+Matteson Dance, former dancers with David Dorfman Dance; Chris Aiken and Angie Hauser, gifted improvisational performers; and emerging choreographers Christopher Williams and Heather Maloney. Complimenting these performances will be a variety of free performances, panels, lectures and events including a weeklong focus on contemporary dance in Africa. Joan Frosch faculty member for African Studies and Latin American Studies at the University of Florida will show her award-winning film Movement (R)evolution, moderate our Global Exchange Panel,  offer an Inside Dance lecture and write contextual notes.

Scofield/Shuey - photo by Justine Avera

Throughout the festival dance professionals, educators, and students will be busy learning together and creating and sharing new works. (Visit our website for full details.)
  

As you peruse this issue the arc of activity connecting one Festival season to another, and the Festival to the larger world of contemporary performance will become visible. We welcome your ongoing interest and support. Please join us this summer and keep in touch. And, please, visit us online at: http://www.batesdancefestival.org.

 

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25th ANNIVERSARY HIGHLIGHTS

Bebe Miller - photo by Arthur Fink

Where to begin?  Maybe by sending you off to http://abacus.bates.edu/dancefest/highlights.php to see highlights from our 25th via a slide show and video clip.  Our 25th Anniversary season was ambitious, filled with remarkable artists offering up their very best in our honor, and blessed with extraordinary good luck. It seemed entirely appropriate to gather together those artists and friends who have been instrumental in making the festival what has become today. What a thrill to have Liz Lerman, Rennie Harris, Doug Varone, Bebe Miller, David Dorfman, Seán Curran, Danny Buraczeski and PearsonWidrig Dance Theatre share the stage for our Gala concert. For this event we moved from our intimate 300-seat house to the 900-seat Lewiston Middle School auditorium and sold it out! For that matter all but one of our performances sold out reaching the largest audience in our history.  

Following the Gala concert was a fabulous party hosted by Bates College Dean of Faculty Jill Reich and organized by Alison Hart and a cast of thousands.  From the luminaries that lit the path to the site, to the 25-year retrospective video, to the enchanting music and delicious food and wine, to the collections of friends, dignitaries, and colleagues -- this was a truly magical night.        

We began the season, as is our habit, by showcasing the work of an up and coming company. Rubberbandance Group from Montreal gave a stunning performance of hip hop dance set to classical music. They also presented a lecture/demonstration for our Young Dancers and gifted, rural teens from Bowdoin College's Upward Bound Program. The teens were thrilled by their virtuosity and generosity.

Next up was David Dorfman Dance performing underground, their fierce and provocative tribute to the 60's activism of the Weathermen. To complement the cast ten local dancers joined the company for an intensive week of rehearsal and two performances. The post-performance discussion revealed strong and widely ranging reactions to the subject matter that made for lively debate. Underground was accompanied by an insightful lecture and program notes by dance scholar Suzanne Carbonneau (available on our website).

The season continued with engaging performances by Bridgman Packer Dance's video dance work, Trilogy commissioned by BDF and featuring live music by Robert Een, Glen Velez and Ken Fields; False Testimony by BoanDanz Action; our Different Voices concert with faculty and emerging artists Kathleen Hermesdorf & Albert Mathias, Amy O’Neal and Ellie Sandstrom, Lucky Kele and Michel Kouakou, Claudia Lavista and Omar Carrum, Adriana León and Alejandro Vera. Contact master Nancy Stark Smith and gifted improvisers Jeff Bliss, Ray Eliot Schwartz and others performed an engrossing evening of improvised works. Our remarkable group of resident musicians Peter Jones, Tigger Benford, Robert, Een, Mike Vargas, Carl Landa, Gilles Obermayer, Shamou, Terrence Karn and Albert Mathias kept us rocking through all the classes, jams, parties and their annual concert.  The Festival Finale featured repertory works by Marianela Boan, David Dorfman, Michel Kouakou, a very moving production entitled, Peace Piece by our Youth Arts kids replete with elaborate hippie costumes, 60's music and a beat poet (non other than David Dorfman),  and a reconstruction of Swing Concerto by jazz master Danny Buraczeski.

Paradise Pond, photo by Arthur Fink

The crowning event of our season however was Paradise Pond, conceived by Laura Faure and created  by PearsonWidrig DanceTheater in collaboration with composer Robert Een. With over 100 youth, community members, dancers and musicians taking part, the piece unfolded on and around Lake Andrews on the Bates College campus at dusk. It included 15 distinct sections that took place on boats and floats, in trees, on pottery wheels, under bushes, and inside a giant lit cube. Paradise Pond attracted over 1400 audience members over two nights.  As the crowd strolled around the pond encountering surprising events conversations bubbled up among strangers. Many returned the second night with cameras in hand to capture to exceptional beauty of the piece. At the end, as illuminated lanterns floated high into the night sky, the crowd stood mesmerized.  This was truly a transformative experience.  Paradise Pond illustrated the power of the performance to transform our experience making it the perfect culminating event of our 25th year.  (See Reflections on Paradise Pond below for a performer's perspective.)

An art event like this will far out last the actual happening as it becomes part of this place and is absorbed into the lives of the hundreds of people who participated and witnessed. I am truly grateful for the residue of optimism in the wake of this graceful statement on human interaction with this environment, this place.  - -Carol Dilley, Professor of Dance

It was an amazing evening--"truly spectacular" indeed--and I too felt privileged to be there.  I wish everyone who loves Bates could have seen an already magical part of our campus thus transformed.
-- Elaine Hansen, Bates College President

Other highlights of this adventurous year included the publication of a lovely book of interviews, Growing Place: Interviews with Artists, 25 Years at the Bates Dance Festival, conceived and edited by Festival faculty member, Heidi Henderson. Growing Place is now available for purchase through our website. Our fabulous video team of Peter Richard and Shawn Hove burrowed into our archives and created a retrospective video highlighting 25 years of Festival performances that was shown at the Gala performance and party.  Local radio producer and former dancer Jessica Lockhardt created a terrific 30-minute radio piece demystifying modern dance that now resides on our website. Along with all this we hosted a myriad of informal showings and lectures, and created a space for all manner of creative encounters, spontaneous play, deep discoveries and new connections.

Outside our wonderful bubble of BDF the world took notice! Friends gathered from around the country to celebrate with us and even the press perked up its ears. We received great coverage in The New York Times Summer Arts Supplement, Boston Globe Summer Supplement, Dance Magazine, Maine Public Broadcasting, Port City Life, and many local and regional publications.

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REACHING AROUND THE GLOBE - ARTIST PROFILE: Gregory Maqoma


Gregory Maqoma - photo by John Hogg

At BDF two of our core goals are to foster artistic development and exchange by connecting artists from across the global dance community and showcasing the diversity of contemporary dance to Maine audiences. In 1994 we began hosting international artists at the festival providing them with opportunities to study, create and perform new works and build meaningful relationships with the U.S. artists and audiences. Since that time we have hosted extended residencies (three weeks) for over sixty artists from abroad. With some, like Vincent Mantsoe and Kota Yamazaki, we have built ongoing partnerships and hosted multiple residencies to support collaborative projects with U.S. artists.

This year we will host South African choreographer Gregory Maqoma whose company Vuyani Dance Theatre is planning a US tour for 2009. In 2005 Gregory came to Bates to collaborate with Faustin Linyekula and Vincent Mantsoe on his trilogy, Beautiful. This summer he returns to perform a solo version of Beautiful Me on our Africa/NOW program, July 25 & 26, shared concerts with Zimbabwean-born artist Nora Chipaumire.

In the process of arranging this residency we learned that Gregory and Nora had always wanted a chance to work together. We were thrilled. What better place than Bates! The artists will have three weeks at BDF to explore possibilities for a new collaboration.  Gregory will also set a work on Festival students to be performed on the Festival Finale August 9, teach his contemporary African technique, and participate in our Global Exchange Panel, July 22.

Gregory Maqoma is the founder and artistic director of Vuyani Dance Theatre in Johannesburg. He did his training in South Africa and Belgium. As a choreographer, teacher, dancer and artistic consultant, Gregory has taught and presented work in the U.S., Netherlands, United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Mexico, Finland, Burkina Faso, Austria, Nigeria, France and South Africa. He has won several awards, accolades and nominations in South Africa and internationally including FNB Dance Umbrella Choreographer of The Year, Standard Bank Young Artist of The Year, Rolex Mentor and Protégé Award Finalist, Daimler Chrysler Choreography Award Finalist. Apart from working and producing work for his company, Gregory teaches and choreographs for other companies and institutions like the Pretoria Technikon, Moving Into Dance, The Dance Factory, Jazzart Dance Company, Siwela Sonke, International Theatre School in Amsterdam, Adzido Pan African Dance Ensemble in London and gives international workshops on African dance and culture and choreography.

Gregory's residency at Bates is part of our ongoing activities as a founding member of The Contemporary African Arts Consortium (TACAC), a landmark program designed to initiate and sustain a dynamic exchange of arts and ideas between artists, arts organizations and public communities throughout the United States and the African continent.

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REFLECTIONS ON PARADISE POND
by Annie Hewlett

Annie Hewlett far left, photo by Arthur Fink

Lake Andrews has its share of regulars and residents. Lewiston families and pets frequent the walking path around the pond’s perimeter and invigorate the amphitheater with summer concerts and picnics. A flock of ducks has found a seasonal home in the cattails and waters of the pond. During the winter the students and academics of Bates College skim across Andrews’ icy surface. For 5 weeks this summer the pond community swelled to include the scores of people involved in creating PearsonWidrig DanceTheater’s new work Paradise Pond, commissioned to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Bates Dance Festival.

With a cast of over a hundred, including international artists, students and staff at the festival, and community members from all generations, Sara Pearson and Patrik Widrig enlivened the site with a delicate and powerful energy as the world of Paradise Pond developed. During the creation phase activity could be detected daily from dawn until dusk in the area surrounding the pond. The work truly adapted to the idiosyncrasies of the site, including Maine’s famously extreme and unpredictable weather (Sara and Patrik were prepared with raingear for twenty during a four day wet spell), as well as the ups and downs of sharing rehearsal space with a flock of ducks. (“dancing in duck crap” was common insider-speak for rehearsing certain sections of the work.)

In the world of Paradise Pond, Sara controlled the movements of the audience and the performers with what she identified as the call of a Minnesota loon. The quivering, high-pitched call and response signaled beginnings and endings embedded in the work, and cued the audience to move to different places within the performance site.  One section of the piece became a fifteen-ring circus, scattering the audience around the perimeter of the pond. Over a dozen simultaneously occurring dances brought focus to specific sets and stages within the site. These small dances were well structured and complete in their own right, each sourcing a different aspect of the water, trees, animal life, or architecture for physical and thematic material.

The integration of site and performance material created the meat of the piece, but the web of human relationships that grew from and supported the work gave the world of Paradise Pond congruency and vitality. Sara and Patrik seemed to expand their cast and crew with each new person they met. The conviction with which Sara could exclaim, moments after meeting someone, “You will be PERFECT for this section!” or “You can help us in EXACTLY the way we need!” allowed the process to live in a fine balance between utter spontaneity and careful, calculated planning. Sara and Patrik seemed to be at all times incredibly specific in their vision for the work, but with an openness and patience that supported the unexpected. Thus, the work developed with honesty and momentum, sweeping up people and ideas until the moment it premiered.

I found myself fully swept up by the third week. Part of my role was to create foreground interest in the opening section of the piece. This required that I set myself in position before the audience started to assemble, and stay still for over 40 minutes in order to preserve the image that Sara and Patrik had in mind. This is the longest I have ever stayed in one place, awake, in my entire life. Details became huge as I lay within feet of the assembling audience; I heard someone close to me take the first bite of his apple, heard a child whisper a secret to her brother, I witnessed an incremental transition from sunset to starry dusk, and I charted the path of a gust of wind as it rippled the water of the pond. What a gift it was to be choreographed into an extended stillness, a powerful state through which to sense the world of Paradise Pond.

Paradise Pond became a world internally driven by cause and effect, human relationship, chance, and some sense of a master plan. Performers, crew, and audience members coexisted in this world in the places created for them or the places they found. We all represented a small piece of something much greater, a cog in the works of a machine finely tuned to respond to the call of a Minnesota loon. I don’t know if Sara, a native Minnesotan, knows this, but her loon sounds exactly like the one we have here in Maine. Paradise Pond became a world both spectacularly grand and personal at the same time. Sara’s Minnesota loon was my Maine loon, and the call of this loon initiated the actions of the scores of people that made the world turn for that 90-minute period on an August evening at Lake Andrews.

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FUNDER PROFILE: Shapiro Family Foundation

The Bates Dance Festival receives support from a variety of sources – individuals, corporations, and foundations.    We are pleased to recognize the generous support of the Shapiro Family Foundation that has awarded annual support to the Festival since 1995. In 2007 a $4,000 grant from Shapiro helped to support artist residencies that integrate dance creation, teaching, performance and outreach by leading contemporary dance artists.

Harold Shapiro formed the foundation around 1988 after selling his business in Dalton, Georgia and moving to New York with his wife Myra. Although it is a small foundation, it has always been his intent that decisions about funding be made by the entire family, which includes his daughters, Karen and Judith. The foundation's choices reflect the families individual interests -- Harold's work for peace and civil rights in Israel, Myra's work as a poet, Karen's work as a producer of film, TV, and theater, and Judith's work as a flamenco dance teacher and performer. All recipient organizations are those with whom the family has a personal connection.

"I first attended BDF in 1987. The intensity of the learning experiencecoupled with the friendly, creative atmosphere made me remember why I loved to dance. We came from all over the world, and for three weeks we never stopped dancing or talking about dance. I couldn't wait to return the following summer! In all, I think I came to the festival four times. The only reason I stopped was that my dance career changed course after taking a flamenco class at the festival. Although I barely participate in the modern dance world now, I will always be grateful to BDF; moreover, as an educator, I strongly support BDF because it provides a nurturing, multi-ethnic environment (all too rare) for dancers of all ages and at all stages in their development."
-- Judith Shapiro, Shapiro Family Foundation

Director Laura Faure notes, “Ongoing support like that of the Shapiro Family Foundation is invaluable to our ability to initiate and renew creative relationships with important contemporary artists who share their creativity with our global community of students, educators, peers and Maine audiences.”

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TELL IT!
Participant Feedback

BoanDanz Action, photo by Arthur Fink

Last summer Amy O'Neal of Seattle spent three weeks immersed in classes and rehearsals as part of our Emerging Choreographers Program.  With her dance partner Ellie Sandstrom she continued development of Mockumentary, which received major support from the Creative Capitol Foundation. They performed an excerpt from Mockumentary on our Different Voices concert, August 2.
Amy said "I really appreciated the weekly faculty/artists dinners.  A highlight for me was sitting in a circle with most of my American dance mentors and heroes and getting to publicly thank them for their inspiration over the years.  I feel very lucky for that opportunity." 
And from returning faculty members who have recently made the US their home: 

"Bates has been the most important place in my artistic and personal life in America." – Cuban choreographer Marianela Boan, now living in Philadelphia

"BDF is not only and agent for inspiration and creation, it also connects lives beyond borders, oceans and languages.  Throughout the years at BDF I have met so many amazing colleagues, musicians and composer. These connections have resulted in an incredible amount of work. "  -- Gilles Obermayer, New York

Seven dance educators from U.S. performing arts high schools were awarded fellowships to participate in our 2007 Teacher Training Program, generously supported by the Surdna Foundation.  Here’s what three had to say:

 “The three weeks you offer each summer are intense, yet filled with so much information, inspiration, training, encouragement and excellence.”  -- Sandra Foster-King, San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts

"I am so thankful that the environment is very encouraging and supportive and made it easy for me to grow from the point at which I entered the experience.”  -- Tad Williams, Oceola County School for the Arts, Kissemmee, FL

"Until I attended BDF I had never before experienced an atmosphere where the freedom to grow both personally and professionally presented itself on a daily basis. I was able to resurrect my passion for modern dance and was overcome with a new sense of discovery and direction. On this level alone, the value of Bates proved priceless!”
-- Melissa Davis, Lehigh Senior High School, Lehigh Acres, FL

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ADVISORY COUNCIL NEWS
We are very pleased to announce the addition of three new members to our Advisory Council, Aimée Petrin, Alison Hart and Chelsea Fournier. As a group they will bring energy and fresh ideas to our work while providing the perspective of a younger generation.

Aimée M. Petrin is the Executive Director of Portland's PCA Great Performances -- now in its 77th year! An active member of the performing arts field, Petrin serves on regional and national grants panels, artist showcase juries, advisory groups, curating excursions, and panel discussions. She has served for the past two years on the Association for Performing Arts Presenters Anniversary Conference committee and is on the advisory committee to National Arts Leadership Institute, the professional development program of the Performing Arts Exchange. She is the former Board Chair for Arts Presenters of Northern New England and past Northeast representative of the National Performance Network. Petrin previously served for nine years as Programming Manager of the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington, Vermont.

"As a performing arts presenter who is passionate about dance, I am buoyed both professionally and personally by the work of the Bates Dance Festival. I am thrilled to be able to assist in this effort in whatever way possible and be associated with such a sparkling gem."

Alison Hart is a Fellow in Performing Arts Management at the University of Texas Performing Arts Center in Austin. She recently completed her Master of Public Affairs at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. She has also worked with numerous arts related student organizations at UT including the Policy Coalition on Culture, where she led a group of UT graduate students on a successful trip to the Texas Capitol to advocate for the Texas Commission on the Arts. In 2006 Alison interned in the Government Affairs Office at the National Endowment for the Arts. From 1999 to 2003 Alison served as the Registrar and Assistant to the Director at the Bates Dance Festival. Alison returned to the Bates Dance Festival in 2007 to direct public relations and special events for the Festival’s 25th Anniversary season.

"I believe that the Bates Dance Festival is one of our nation’s most valuable resources for dance in America.  I joined the Advisory Council so I can take part in forging deeper connections between the Festival and the Lewiston/Auburn community, the Maine community, and the national and international arts community."

Chelsea Fournier is a 24-year old native of Lewiston, Maine who currently resides in Portland while completing education at the University of Maine School of Law.  Chelsea grew up immersed in the dance world of Maine as a dedicated student at The Dance Center of Lewiston-Auburn.  Two highlights of her dance career were attending the Young Dancers Workshop at the Bates Dance Festival, and volunteering as an assistant with the Youth Arts Program over the years.  Chelsea received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Bridgewater State College in MA, where she was also actively involved in dance classes and performances on campus.  She continue to study dance and is passionate about being involved and involving others in local art and performances.  In the fall of 2008 she will join the business law department at Preti, Flaherty, Beliveau & Pachios in Portland.

"I am excited to become a member of the Advisory Council, and hope to bring fresh ideas on how to connect and engage people of all ages with the performances, events, and classes at the Bates Dance Festival."

We also said farewell to council member, JoAnn Haeberle who served ably since 2005 and provided valuable assistance with the 25th Anniversary celebration. 

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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. Go to the "Support BDF" page to download a gift form 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 dance performances, 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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