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Bates Festival Newsletter

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Newsletter Vol. 11, Winter 2011
Newsletter Writers and Editors: Laura Faure and Nancy Salmon



This season BDF celebrates its 30th Anniversary as one of America's leading
contemporary dance laboratories. We also mark the 25th year of leadership by director, Laura Faure, who has grown Festival programs that reach deeply into the community and across the globe serving students, educators, dance makers and Maine audiences.

Rennie Harris PuremovementIn 2012 we celebrate with a season that showcases some of today's most engaging artists while also honoring those with whom we have a long history. Our Performance Season will feature innovative dance making that reflects the issues of our times.

Opening the season on July 13 & 14 is the return of Rennie Harris Puremovement
with a hot young troupe of dancers who will be joined by several company alums. In recognition of their 20th anniversary RHPM will perform excerpts from their award-winning repertoire of greatest hits. The recipient of an honorary degree from Bates College and a frequent visitor to the Festival, Rennie Harris sits at the top of the hip hop heap!

Kate WeareNext up is Kyle Abraham/, July 19 & 21. Born into the hip hop culture of the 70s, Abraham creates provocative interdisciplinary works that delve into issues of identity. AIM will present the Maine premiere of Live, The Realest MC, based on the story of Pinocchio and the quest for realness. The Boston Globe says, "Watched carefully, Abraham's group choreography displays an intensely naked understanding of humanity; watching Abraham dance alone is deeply moving."

On July 27 & 28 we will welcome back Kate Weare Company whose stunning and nuanced work received raves from our audience in 2009. KWC presents their latest work, Garden which uses an arresting, sensual vocabulary to explore primitive issues of origination, collective identity and safety amid the uncontrollable natural world.

KeigwinIn collaboration with the Bates College Museum of Art, BDF has commissioned a new work by veteran Festival choreographer, Larry Keigwin to mark our 30th Anniversary. Inspired by the Museum's exhibition of astrophotography, Keigwin + Company will present the world premiere of Starstruck, on August 2, 3 & 4 in celebration of our long shared history. Mark you calendar to attend our 30th anniversary Gala on August 4.

These lively and engaging works are sure to challenge your imagination and enliven your spirit. Complimenting these performances will be a variety of free performances, lectures and events. Stay tuned for more information coming in March on our website. We look forward to seeing you this summer.


Marc Bamuthi JosephIn collaboration with the Bates Arts Collaborative, BDF will host a special campus-wide engagement residency with renowned spoken word/dance/theater artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph and The Living Word Project. The residency culminates in two public performances April 27 & 28. red, black & GREEN: a blues (rbGb), is a full-length, multimedia performance work about environmental justice, social ecology and collective responsibility in the climate change era. Joseph, one of America's most vital voices in performance, is joined on stage by vocalist/visual artist, Theaster Gates, drummer/beatboxer, Tommy Shepherd and dancer/actress, Traci Tolmaire. Combining dance, text and visuals in a new mode of kinetic performance, rbGb puts forward the idea that valuing your own life, and the life of your community, is the first step to valuing planet Earth.


When an anniversary comes around it feels like an opportunity to take stock and freshen things up! To that end we have just completed a redesign of our logo, which headlines this publication, and completed a makeover of our website. We are delighted with this playful, colorful, new look and welcome your response to it.

In October we also moved into our new, permanent offices in Pettigrew Hall, adjacent to Schaeffer Theater and our colleagues in dance and theater. This beautiful suite of offices, filled with light, was renovated to our specifications. Centrally located on the Alumni Walk, it will serve as our year-round base of operations and facilitate greater collaboration around our new dance major.


Youth Arts ProgramThe Youth Arts Program (YAP), our community arts day camp, collaborated with local organization, Lots To Gardens (LTG) which promotes sustainable, urban agriculture. During the three-week program YAP kids and their families were introduced to urban gardening, local food production, healthy food, and good eating and exercise (dance!) habits.

YAP 6-8 year olds enjoyed a trip to a LTG community garden where they learned about composting and helped weed and harvest. YAP 9-12 year olds had a kitchen tour of the Bates College Dining Commons led by Dining Director, Christine Schwartz. As children and youth became more aware of healthy eating habits, many wondered which of their daily snacks and lunches (provided by Bates Dining) were most healthy, according to YAP director, Dana Reed. The Dining Commons added a tray of raw veggies to the lunch menu. One day when the veggie tray was missing, Yappers were upset because "we need to eat our vegetables." For their Festival Finale performance students and their faculty created a production entitled, Healthy Hoopla featuring dances based on food themes, a Rap song, and colorful sculptures about healthy eating. Many children and their families also enjoyed dinner in the Bates Dining Commons on the evening of the performance. Many thanks to Lots to Gardens and the Bates Dining Commons for making this creative learning opportunity a success!

Thanks and congratulations also go to Bates College alum and youth advocate, Julia Sleeper, who helped identify immigrant students to participate in the Youth Arts Program for the past two years. We are pleased to collaborate with her new venture, Tree Street Youth, an afterschool and summer program that provides homework help, tutoring, and recreational activities to local youth.

Watch a video of their process: Youth Arts Makes Healthy Hoopla

UN/STABLE LANDSCAPE: Horses and Dancers Enliven Chance Encounter Farm

UN/STABLE landscapeFor three weeks last summer choreographer, JoAnna Mendl Shaw and The Equus Project joined forces with Carl Flink and Black Label Movement to create UN/Stable Landscape, a site-specific performance installation at Chance Encounter Farm in Pownal, Maine. This magical event used the pastoral landscape to explore how horses and dancers interact. Nearly 300 audience members found their way to Pownal and, despite heat and rain, most were captivated by this unusual performance. As one audience member notes, "I have seen hundreds of dance performances in my life, and this was one of the most sublime, exciting (yet quietly so), and expansive in its use of the landscape, the horses and dancers. The trust between animal and human was heartwarming and undeniably a pleasure to watch." BDF has supported several creative residencies by JoAnna Mendl Shaw in recent years and was thrilled to host this deeply moving and successful event.


BDF relies on contributions from foundations, corporations, and individuals to supply 40% of our operating budget. Please consider becoming a donor. NOW you can give online at: Support BDF

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.


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