On June 26th, in our good ol’ standby theater, Triskelion Arts in Brooklyn, four tried and true dancers joined me in creating material for our new film, based on one of my old dance pieces, “Crooked Dreams.” Three of the four dancers were chosen from my Master Class earlier in June, so my excitement for new energy was palpable! I was impressed by the talent and sheer risk taking that they did, tossing their bodies into space, and trusting me with odd and unusual choreography. Brave young women — and without questioning! On deck was my general manager and husband, Don Adams, who kept me in line and made everyone feel very relaxed — he’s an invaluable player in everything I do, and I wouldn’t be here without him!
With my lighting guy, David Glista, at the helm of the light board, and my videographer, Faith Marek, raring to go, I made stuff up in a jiffy, and flew by the seat of my pants, in my inimitable style. With just a few quick notes for them on each scene I created, mood, tone, etc… we forged ahead right up until the next group was busting through the doors, impatient for their rental. Typical NYC dancers who can’t wait respectfully, and barge right in!! Okay, well, we might’ve gone over by 1 minute, but I thought I got the shots I needed, so we hastily grabbed our gear, traipsing out with dance clothes and bags dragging on the floor — reconvening in the lobby, where we wiped the sweat off our brows, and had a few sighs and laughs about our dramatic exit!
Heidi Sutherland had a subsequent rehearsal with me a few days ago, where I taught her sequences that will be woven into the mix of the film. What will this be, I ask myself? I really can’t say until I am in the editing room, and the stuff of my Jiffy-Mix comes to life, giving me fresh ideas as to how it all might be part of my Crooked Dreams!
June 11th was an exciting day for me. First off, I ditched Manhattan to teach at a studio in Long Island City — a nice departure from the usual studio haunts that I hang out in. RWS Entertainment has cavernous studios, allowing for great across-the-floor combos and leaping on long diagonals. I was planning to spot new faces for upcoming Jiffy-Mix projects, so I offered it as an audition/master class. The sign-up was overwhelming, and the class was full!
Five of my hearty dancers were there to help demonstrate and be the strong leaders in the band. The talent was fierce, including a handful of athletic men to balance the female presence. It seemed no one was rocked by coming out to this location, and in fact, it was quite easy to get to. Class with an accompanist is my preferred method of teaching, and I wasn’t going to allow for canned music with a Master Class, so I looked into my files, and found Mangue Sylla, a distinguished musician from the Alvin Ailey School. Djembe drums have been a favorite of mine in modern technique classes, as the sound moves through your body from the depths of your soul. I loved playing my claves along with him to accompany the dancers. The three-against-two rhythm is embedded in my hands from a percussion class I took in grad school. Mangue and I grooved on that one for awhile. I loved the interaction between us, as the sound poured throughout the studio, and I lost myself in the music.
My dancers engaged in my technique without missing a beat, (as they get me) throwing themselves into whatever I gave them, offering precise visuals for the new movers. The heat was turned up high and the dancers all broke a good sweat — so I simmered them down afterward with a little Jin Shin Jyutsu Self-Help — a perfect way to bring the high energy to a collected calm before they departed for their next engagement. Lots of hugs, handshakes, and gestures of kindness passed through the door after our two hours together. Many new faces showed up and danced their very best in that class, without a number on their chest, as in most auditions, but with a love of dance in their hearts — a sight to revel in and remember for years to come! And yes, success with finding a few new artists — though I could’ve chosen most all! Check out our latest Jiffy-Mix to see who some of them are!
The evening of May 4th was a magical night! The concert, Going Solo, went off without a hitch. I rarely say that a production went spectacularly, but in fact, it did! Six dancers came together after a whirlwind rehearsal experience, and knocked my socks off! Triskelion Arts in Brooklyn was lit up with high voltage dancing that Saturday, with an audience that enthusiastically supported the event.
The process of rehearsing with so many fits and starts, including two dancers dropping out due to injury and over-commitments, left me scrambling in a search and rescue mission last minute. It seemed the month of April was astrologically challenging us all, but through all the trials, and my dense schedule, the light finally was shed on our event — the special solos, both on film and live, came to life in magical ways. Each and every dancer had their stroke of genius on stage and screen, and whatever sorcery I was doing by pulling all the strings, helped me to unravel some karmic thread, no doubt, as for once, I could say, “it all went to plan.” Thank you, dancers!!
Currently listed on A Growing List of Active Women Choreographers in Dance Magazine, Adams blends solo works from her repertoire along with uniquely crafted films, highlighting the soulful and whimsical voices of the solo dance experience.
Abstract films of solo artists have been a mainstay in Adams’ archives. From the Baryshnikov Arts Center to the shores of Silver Sands State Park in CT and everywhere in between, Adams and filmmaker Amelia Golden weave dancers into their unique settings to create film shorts that are visually stunning, whimsical and emotionally stirring. New and past repertoire of solos dating back to 1998 will be danced live, interspersed with the films — celebrating the solo dance experience, in Adams’ visceral and awe-inspiring works.
Dancers featured in films: Annie Heinemann, Alana Kirzner, Jeremy Neal, James A. Pierce, III, Ryan Schmidt.
This program is supported, in part, by donations from generous supporters of Adams Company Dance & Peace Community Chapel. 10% of all donations made to Adams Company Dance for this production, are tax-deductible and will be donated to Peace Community Chapel, for their on-going missions to support the CT Food Bank. All donations can be made by clicking this link.
2018 has been a year of feeling knee deep in the funk of our current political climate. Just when you thought nothing could get any worse, another story would unfold, making yet another stain in the fabric of our society. Out of this chaos always comes an artful depiction from artists all over the globe. February was when I felt the urge to go to my small corner of the universe, and create a piece for dancer, Heidi Sutherland. The solo we created, It’s Easy To Drown, was created and taped in Brooklyn at Triskelion Arts, then went on to be performed at the Ailey Citigroup Theater in KoDaFe in June. Heidi soared in her performance reaching new heights with her incredible technique and talent. See more of Heidi here.
Putting one foot in front of the other, I imagined how I might allow for a catharsis of the angst I was feeling about the Trump Administration. The collective sludge that started a mud slide of turmoil was gradually pushing me toward making a short film. My ideas came together in an array of scenes crafted for four dancers on a oven-hot day in July, back again at Triskelion Arts. Lights, camera, action and with no time to polish, the footage we got that day went in the can, as the guts to my new film entitled, “Something Fake.” With fits and starts to schedules and then my editor moving, the process of editing was as slow as molasses. Being a Jiffy Mix choreographer, it took all the patience I could muster to work on this project only here and there; however, I’m happy to announce that the premiere will be very soon!
My catharsis continued into late summer when I created a site specific work at the Halibut State Park in Rockport, MA. This time, my dancer-self came out to play, as serendipity met nature in three hours of improvisation, in the most beautiful place in New England. Footage from this day is on the back-burner, but the cooling effect of finding my peace is seen in these stills.
Fall went a little weirder and far from nature as I went into the studio again, making a piece that should’ve been premiered on Halloween, but ended up making its debut in November — again back in Brooklyn at Triskelion Arts. That theater has my footprints all over it, and I’m grateful for the tab not being too steep. Somewhere amidst the #MeToo Movement and the tumult of our times, came a dance trilogy hinting at a darker shade of pale. Coaching the dancers to find their own meaning within the work paid off, as each of them told their own inner story. In fact, I titled the piece, “Short Story.” It begins with a duet, goes into a solo, then ends with a trio– all of which were performed with fierce commitment to the movement. They sweat through several rehearsals before knowing what it all meant, but in the long-run, it’s up for interpretation — the ending, however, leaves no doubt about man’s evil spirit.
So, as the political scene continues to shred all sense of balance, and 2018 comes to a close, I find my strength in dance and the dancers that makes it all happen. It’s in their fluidity, their power, and their artistry that allows me to go knee deep into the magic of dance — and at least for the moment, helps me to rise above it all!
Adams Company Dance will premiere a new work, “Short Story” at Triskelion Arts in Greenpoint, Brooklyn tomorrow. Our videographer, Joel Stephen, will be on deck with two cameras going to capture the dancers while they dive deep into the material. The piece is a trilogy inspired not only by the #MeToo Movement, but also the massive disintegration we are witnessing on our world stage now. The three sections, a duet, solo, and trio, describe the burdens and hardships that we are undergoing in our society, but touch on the resolve we can find if we lean on each other for comfort and healing. Ultimately, the sinister nature of man is revealed at the end — a familiar feeling with where we are right now with our current administration. Please visit our photo album of “The Making of Short Story.”
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