Adams Company Dance reached year twenty-seven! Each year breeds some form of artistry made manifest by the superb dancers that have joined into the weave of my choreographic fabric. Reflecting on the masterful work of so many dancers that have worked with me, and the talented photographers that have captured the beautiful moments of my work, I’ve been lucky to have a gallery of images to remind me of our special times together. This upcoming Fall season, we look forward to launching ACD’s combined event with Peace Community Chapel’s coat drive. Stay tuned to our announcements on that! In the meantime, enjoy a small sampling of beauty of these artists below…
To Dance Is To Be Human
Dancers: Chris Jackson, James A. Pierce III, Ryan Schmidt, Milan Misko, Catherine Barrone, Julie Fiorenza, Sarah Wiechman, Heidi Sutherland, Annie Heinemann.
Feature photo: Claire Hancock, Paulo Gutierrez
Photographers: (top to bottom) – Cathryn Lundgren, Jack Martin, Judy Lieff,
Bill H., Amelia Golden. Feature photo: Noel Valero
My featured image is of my post-production mess from our film project on July 20th in Greenpoint, Brooklyn at Triskelion Arts — a three hour project to channel my pent-up emotions regarding the Trump administration. In my Jiffy-Mix style, we whipped up a menu of choreography, images, acting, and site specific Godspell-ish meanderings. Satirically driven, the footage we shot will be made into a film short that at the very least, will let out a little steam that’s been building within. It won’t be Michael Moore in its breadth and scope, but will hint at the very things he and everyone else has been vocalizing about regarding the inane events of our day. We’re in a freefall, so while falling, I thought I’d take an afternoon to catch up with my artist-side. Four dancers came together, along with Joel Stephen, our camerman/filmmaker, and Don Adams, our line producer, to make a hot day a littler cooler! More on this project soon!
My messy notes
Dancers: Annie Heinemann, Paulo Gutierrez, Jeremy Neal, Heidi Sutherland
Adams Company Dance Performing on June 30th at KoDaFe in NYC, 7:30pm at the AILEY CITIGROUP THEATER!
An international dance festival held each summer by iKADA Contemporary Dance Company, KoDaFe in NYC brings together dancers from all over the world to connect through movement. Their shows are both Friday, June 29th & Saturday, June 30th. Catch Heidi on Saturday night’s bill! Artistic director, Mee Jung, who pioneered this festival, brings her own beautiful company to the stage, and shares it with a diverse group of companies, who are sure to delight!
Heidi Sutherland performs with ACD in, “It’s Easy to Drown,”a new solo inspired by the delicate nature of the human spirit and how easy it is to drown in life, yet resolves to achieve hope and strength to overcome. Heidi is an accomplished dancer who works with Synthesis DANCE. I was lucky to have found her last summer, 2017, including her in several projects since then. I can’t say enough about Heidi’s fierce bundle of talent, and vibrancy for dance! Hope you can make it! Go HEREfor tix!
I recall in 2006, walking in on my first day as Associate Professor of Dance at Western Michigan University to my new office, which I was sharing with two colleagues, where I noticed on the shelf of the Jazz Teacher, Tony Calucci, the book, “Unsung Genius: The Passion of Dancer-Choreographer Jack Cole. I plucked the book off his shelf and said, ” hey, I know Glenn Loney… I work with him.” Tony’s response: “You know Glenn Loney??” “Yes, I do, I said.” I immediately felt a kinship with Tony, and it was that book conversation that ignited our longtime friendship.
After meeting Glenn in 1993 in Tenafly, NJ at my first Jin Shin Jyustu seminar (if my memory serves me correctly), I knew there among us was a very outspoken, witty, professor. We spent many times together in classes, until he decided to start coming to me for sessions in NYC in my first office on 72nd and Columbus, which I believe was in 1994. He would bring me volumes of old dance magazines, and periodicals that had mostly been out of print, that he thought should go to me. Dance Scope was one of them. Remember that one? Glenn and I had fun together over the years discussing theater, dance, his travels, photography, politics, religion, life after death, etc… our conversations ran the gamut, and Glenn was never at a loss for words. In fact, it was all I could do to have him sink into the table for some solitude for five minutes! Toward the end of his life, though, Glenn often was too tired to talk, and many sessions were all about the silence and the energy, after a short-debriefing on his condition. We had an understanding, though, and words really didn’t matter so much. Prior to that, in 2016, when he was still in full force, ACD honored Glenn with a lifetime achievement award at the Bryant Park Hotel at our screening: Behind the Lens. L.A. Times Dance Critic, Debra Levine, moderated. She had been working on a book about Jack Cole, and had interviewed Glenn about his work, knowing that Glenn was the foremost authority on all topics, Cole.
Glenn was tickled to have been honored, and told me how he placed the award on his mantel in his living room. He was so grateful, and it made me feel so good to have pulled off that night. I knew no one had ever honored him before in such a way, and though I don’t carry a big name to bestow such an honor, it was a huge deal for Glenn to accept it in a public arena. He had no problem taking the mike that night and reflected on his work, Jack Cole, and even managed to sneak in a few digs about the current political climate at the time!
Week to week, Jin Shin Jyutsu was what helped keep Glenn going, but cancer got him in the end. He burned the candle at both ends, but most brilliant minds historically do that — there’s simply not enough time to get all the things done that need to be done! He claimed that many times over. It amazed me that even when he was at his worst, he’d find the time to mail his package of theater paraphernalia to me, when he no longer could bring it to the office. It was filled with interesting articles from the New Yorker, playbills, reviews he had written, articles he wrote, quips, memes, photos, personal notes, tickets, and itineraries, and an occasional scarf, tote bag, and poster. Wow, Glenn! And, I know he also did this for others, as well. How in the world did he continue to do this over the years? He thought it was important for all of us to know a little bit of what was outside of our normal lives. He’s stated something like, …well you people in the suburbs don’t get to see all of this and know much of this, so I thought it would be interesting to you… Indeed it was, Glenn! Though there’s a hole in my practice without Glenn, he’s filled my heart with so much joy, and filled my head with so much knowledge, that I am satiated for all time with his memory. May he be remembered in our society as a man who exemplified greatness in all he did to bring the arts to a higher level! RIP, my dear friend!
Glenn’s archival reviews:
“Not only is Mitzi Adams a gifted choreographer, but she is also a life saver, being a master of Jin Shin Jyutsu, an ancient-Asian system for “hands-on” balancing of body-energy flows.”
“My favorites, however, were Mitzi Adams’Mother’s Day and Still. . . Without Wind. Dedicated to her late mother and ‘based on our dreams’, the first work was danced appropriately enough on Mother’s Day. With only a simple bright-red child’s chair as prop and partner, Adams subtly evoked the various ages of mothering, caring, and loving. It was beautiful, sensitive, and touching.” Glenn Loney The New York Theater Wire
A new dance emerged in my Jiffy-Mix style in the chilly month of February — a month that typically has me searching under the snow and hard ground for fertile ideas. Heidi Sutherland was willing and able to join me for what was to become a gem of a solo. We started it in a very tiny studio at Ripley Grier on 8th Avenue, where many-a-dance has been created. Within an hour and a half timespan, she sewed the movement into her skin and bones, and beautifully grew into what became part I, featuring emotional piano music by Pure Composition — btw, through a site I found that allows for a quick purchase of a music license. Part II started at Trisklelion Arts in Brooklyn on February 5th, where Heidi took her craft to a new level, with inspiring music by Tom Rosenthal. I came across Tom’s music while working out one day at the gym. A cool image showed up in my Vimeo feed and I clicked on it. I immediately started to move as I listened to the poignant lyrics, not caring if anyone might’ve caught me in between their grunts and lifts. A prolific songwriter/musician from the UK, Tom was kind to give me permission to use his piece. In another quick turn- around — about and hour or so — Heidi learned what I poured out with such alacrity, I felt she had been rehearsing the piece for a month!
Ok, time’s up!! In walks the videographer, Joel Stephen. Switch gears and start teching. Joel worked on Dream Spelland Ebb and Flow, and was thankfully available for this project. His eye for detail and top-notch camera work, allowed for smooth operations from camera’s rolling to the final credits. His laser focus instilled a great confidence in me. I set the lighting quickly, had one dry-run, and voilà — a dance was born! With three takes, each having a wide and close-up version, there was much footage to sift through. Heidi was a trooper and kept up such an athletic pace, I hardly could believe she made it through three run-throughs, each one dancing more vigorously than the next. That’s a true professional, and I am so grateful to her quick-study commitment to all the movement, and her passion to perform! She nailed it for the camera, and danced the story of triumphing over adversity — the story I keep telling over and over, ad nauseam!!
After a four hour editing session, Joel and I came to our final mix. What a breeze! LOL!! It’s the intricate work of editing that’s far from Jiffy-Mixing. Not bad timing, though, for all that we had to do.
So, why is it easy to drown? Go figure. It’s all of our stories, right? Like that old afghan that lays on the back of the couch, we’ve all sewn in our patches of hardships over the years to create our tapestry. Somehow, it soulfully keeps us warm and reminds us of where we’ve been… and just how lucky we are to still be able to pull it over our shoulders on a cold night in the winter. It’s easy to drown in pain, sorrow, debt, and tears, and I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve swum up to the crest of the wave, only to be swept away again. Each time the hanging out to dry process seems to get shorter and shorter with every passing year, but the distance to the water, where we might slip in… remains a close cousin — it’s easy to drown, but relative to our inner-strength, we become consummate swimmers in the waters of life.
(While writing this blog, I learned that Heidi’s dog, Gizmo, passed away. May she rest in peace and float forever in God’s love — oh and did I forget the mention the car accident that my husband and I were in this week? We’re in one piece, but the car was totaled. #5 not our fault on I-95 in the past 10 years — it’s easy to drown and this was one of the easy stories!)