Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Collaborative Art Making: Live Arts Festival and Visualizing the Dance

by Joe Nalven

The San Diego Dance Theater under the leadership of Jean Isaacs continues to amuse, enchant, and otherwise provoke the avid consumer of the arts. Yes, many in San Diego pay attention to sports, movies and the beaches; but when the spinning worlds of recreation slows to an appreciation of the moving arts, the attentive find themselves in Jean Isaacs' programming. 

The sultry tango / practice session with students of Colette Hebert

bkSOUL / Collective Purpose Love H.E.R. practice session, April 15, 2014 - a synthesis of the spoken word poetry and dance
Led by Grace Shinhae Jun, bkSOUL embraces several movement 
and oral traditions and redefining hip hop in the process.
From Half & Half / practice session

From withviv practice session

How does Jean Isaacs see these new works in the context of the type of dance theater she's espoused and developed:

Jean Isaacs:  This festival is for niche audiences, those that want innovative programming, not more of the same. The idea is one of attending the show with a sense of adventure: What will I see tonight?

In general, the Live Arts Fest dances attracts a more youthful audience; however, the Aging Creatively evening on April 16 features our seniors and  they will fill the house to support programming that showcases folks that look like them. 

Here are some of the many live arts being offered: The first evening features bkSOUL's Love H.E.R.; it has spoken word poetry, hip hop, and modern dance. Other, compelling performances -- all of them are really compelling, but there are those that give one pause: The Animal Cracker Conspiracy features puppets for adult audiences (not pornography, but adult -- we struggle with language at times); this performance is by two of San Diego Foundation's Creative Catalyst artists, Bridget Rountree and Ian Gunn.

bkSOUL / Collective Purpose Love H.E.R. practice session, April 15, 2014 at White Box venue

From withviv practice session
Who is viv with viv?

We're heading into unknown territory here....
Can we make excellent dance through joy and collaboration?
We're hungry to find out.

vîv began as eight artists rethinking
how we practice and train together
how we create work together
how we build community

We've started PEER Practices, a new kind of dance class.
We've taken action and commissioned OUROBOROS, the work that we want to perform.

We're building new ways of making a life in dance.

Carlos Villatoro / practice session / flamenco
Carlos Villatoro with dance group / Flamenco / White Box
There are also two Latino-inspired performances, the Latino evening features flamenco, tango, and salsa dance in a party atmosphere; also, Grupo Minerva Tapia will be joining us from Tijuana. 

Charles Weidman's Lynchtown is a classic modern dance piece from the 30s. There are so many good things to see.

You really need to see the entire list of performances:  

The Live Arts Festival. starts Tuesday, April 15th and runs through Sunday, April 27th. 

The performances will be at White Box, Liberty Station2590 Truxtun Road, Studio 205, in Point Loma, San Diego, 92106.  

April 15: "Love H.E.R." - bkSOUL (grace shinhae jun) and Collective Purpose

April 16: "Things Lost" - San Diego Dance Theater

April 17: “Latin Night” - Medley of Latin Dance Artists

April 18: “The Collector” - Animal Cracker Conspiracy

April 19: "Half & Half" - Minaqua McPherson & Vivana Alcazar-Haynes

April 23: "Ouroboros(6) and other works" - vîv, San Francisco, CA.

April 24: "Push Process" - Lavina Rich

April 25: "Seeing Through" - Terry Wilson & Sadie Weinberg

April 26: "Indivisible" - Anjanette Maraya-Ramey

April 27: “In Proceso, Lynchtown, and Aura” - Minerva Tapia Dance Group

bkSOUL  / Collective Purpose Love H.E.R. practice session, Singing the song

From Half & Half / practice session

Learning Salsa / Latin Night / White Box

From Half & Half / practice session
Reflections of a Visual Artist

There are so many interesting ways to capture movement, especially dance. The advance of camera technology and related software adds to the 'ways of image capture and its transformation.'  Even photorealistic images are transformations despite the illusion that we are see the 'real' thing in such photographs.  Of course, as one moves along the continuum towards abstraction (or a scaled view of a photorealistic image that seems like an abstraction), we pass through a variety of stylizations.  Software and camera apps make an easy (or, at least, an easier) jump in this direction.

The images I've selected originate either in my Nikon D50 converted infrared camera or my Samsung ST200F point and shoot.  The latter has painting apps built into the camera.  So much technology for so minimal a cost.  Selections of more expensive cameras bring hardly noticeable lag time in image capture as well as being able to stop the action in low light with little noise. Being aware of what one wants in an image helps determine which camera (and at what cost) to use. Image editing programs compensate in crafting image making in ways not doable inside a camera or as easily or as well (or perhaps the watchword is 'not yet.' 

Jean Isaacs Trolley Dances offer a different set of challenges than performances at White Box. Environmental context (in and out of doors) vs. a theater setting; performances often within a surrounding audience vs. audience set apart in a theater setting; lighting characteristics of outdoor settings as well as indoors vs. spot lighting crafted by theater technicians. 

San Diego image makers, if they so choose, are lucky to find collaborative image sources in the Jean Isaacs/SDDT performances.  These are the moveable feasts of the visual artist.

from withviv practice session

And, of course, there are any number of ways to further explore the imagery with collage/montage.

Same window / Different dancers                                          Joe Nalven

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