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!
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.
With many obstacles before me from last July til now, I finally was able to finish my film, “Something Fake.”Though we shot the footage last summer, my editor had moved from Connecticut to NYC, so finding the time to get together with her proved to be a challenge. In fact, the slow burn to the finish line probably got me a bit weary to create a shorter version, which I’m sure would’ve gone over better in the end than what I produced, but c’est la vie!
The symbolism of the piece unraveled in the editing sessions, where the emergence of the story occurred. The sections I choreographed were not purposely supposed to depict the Republicans and Democrats, but with the overt colors of red and blue from my film shoot, I couldn’t help but use that platform to construct ideas based upon the divisiveness of Congress; the red, hot topic of Russian collusion; and the inane ‘wall,’ depicted through the outdoor fence I found outside the theater. The flowing, red cloth in the film, seen in other works of mine, took on an entirely new meaning — Russian collusion. The staring eye through this thin red veil, reveals the evil eye of corruption.
Under my direction that day, the scenes I worked out were loosely inspired by the Helsinki Summit where President Trump ‘misspoke.’ Google it. At the time, it seemed to me that there was no other evidence needed to indict our President. Treason seemed palpable, but as the calendar pages turned, my coup de gras Helsinki Summit film theme, became lost in the shuffle of our 36-hour news cycle. More importantly, though, is the common thread of injustice in our government; and, as the bar for democracy is lowered, the level of farcical humor in our media is raised. As the children of our future will be learning about our current administration through social media, YouTube, and perhaps, artistic endeavors… keeping it all straight in the age of fake news will be their obstacle to sift through. If viewing this film can pair our day and age with a seed of truth, then I guess what I’ve done could be pivotal for future generations. And if not, art for art’s sake apparently is still in vogue!
Hats off to Joel Stephen for capturing an insider’s view to the madhouse process of our Jiffy-Mix event this past August! I went on a recommendation and was so happy I took the lead. Joel wasn’t shy with his camera work. In fact, he got practically every nook and cranny of the theater, with every angle, and even got onto his belly at one point ignoring the dust-laden floor! I gave him license to create with very few notes, and I am thrilled with his final film, Ebb & Flow.He appropriately calls himself a “Dreamer, Shaper, Thinker, Maker.” I wanted music that I thought would work well with his ideas, so my first impression was to inquire with singer/songwriter- extraordinaire, Nicole Renaud, to see if she would want to collaborate again, to which she replied, Yes! Her piece, Red, was what came to mind, and she generously sent me the instrumental version, which paired so perfectly with the film. Thanks to all the dancers for their hard work on that hot, summer day in Queens at the Secret Theatre! Enjoy our film short!
Want to see more “Jiffy-Mix” photos from the day? Click here.
A whirlwind of energy propelled our day on August 30th, at The Secret Theatre in Queens, NY, where seven dancers came together to stir up another one of Adams Company Dance’s Jiffy-Mix creations! This event was coined as our ACD Summerstock Fundraiser, in association with Peace Community Chapel (PCC). Using my Jiffy Mix model (short time-framed dance making, in an effort to reduce production costs, yet a chance to give dancers an opportunity to work), dancers are utilized for their talents, given a paycheck, and an opportunity to perform a new work that is professionally videotaped in front of a live audience. We were thrilled to have reached our goal and then some, through GoFundMe!
50% of the donations went toward ACD’s “Keep Dancers Working” Jiffy-Mix project; and the other 50% of the donations ACD donated to Peace Community Chapel’s “Summer Stock” Fund Raiser, which aided in putting food in the bellies of the homeless by helping to stock food pantry shelves in CT & NYC-based food pantries. A win-win for all involved!
Back to the theater… we aimed at starting at 1:00p and ending at 4:00p, but by the time we loaded in and got started, it really was about 1:20 or so. Yikes! I had a self-imposed goal of creating an 8:00 minute piece in about two and a half hours -how was I going to do that when I just lost so much time?
Well, with inspiring music and eager, talented dancers ready and willing, I was able to light a match under my butt and away we went. I really had little clue as to what I was going to do. In fact, I only really had the opening sequence, where I was hoping to set a tone, but from there, I was flying by the seat of my pants. It’s daring and exciting to be in this circus-like atmosphere, where we’re walking a tightrope without a net. I had themes in my head swirling around about disjointed dreams, iconic retro-style images from the 40’s and 50’s, a temptress-like woman who seduces the characters in her dreams, and yet becomes a lost dreamer–all seemingly poignant, child-like and slightly mad all at the same time. Stuff comes out when you’re put in a dark, steamy theater, complete with Grecian columns teetering on the edge of falling down at any moment. In fact, during the taping one of the columns did fall! How apropos! Nothing is firm, or steady around my process. It’s a risky, scrappy, undertaking of organized chaos–Jiffy-Mixes tend to be that way. I’ve grown to allow for the unrehearsed product that comes out just the way it’s supposed to be — a batter coming together with all the right ingredients to make up a quick batch of irregular dance muffins. How imperfectly perfect!
Dream Spell ended up being created and performed twice in front of a live audience all within our time frame allotted. Not only did we capture it on tape, but we also have a film being made about the process of the day. I sat with my editor and sorted through all the footage the next week until our dream landscape came to be a finished piece. Taking a step back and actually really watching what I had created, I was taken by the dancers abilities to throw themselves into the material — movement I threw at them! I honor them with all my heart, and value the day that passed like a blink of an eye. My dreams came true to reach our goals, but then again… I always knew that dreams do not solely consist of illusions!
Friday, October 14th, 2016 at 7:30p
Venue: The Bryant Park Hotel Screening Room
Location: 40 West 40th Street
New York , NY, 10018
Mitzi Adams, Artistic Director and Choreographer of Adams Company Dance, will present “Behind the Lens,” a 90 minute film screening of her award-winning documentary, “Except At Night: The Making Of A Dance,” and a compendium of short dance films. From the Baryshnikov Arts Center to the shores of Silver Sands State Park in CT and everywhere in between, Adams and filmmakers Amelia Golden and Benjamin Moss, weave dancers into their unique settings to create film shorts that are visually stunning, whimsical and emotionally stirring. ACD is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year!
This event is in collaboration with Peace Community Chapel’s annual coat drive for the homeless. Your tax-deductible donation will go toward this year’s goal of 100 new coats.
Prior to the screening, acclaimed author and dance/theater critic, Dr. Glenn Loney, will be honored with a lifetime achievement award for his many accomplishments.
Adams Company Dance Screening at:
40 West 40th Street
New York , NY, 10018
203-829-4767 (for more info)
The seasons of this past year imparted new information to me, most differently than most years. 2015 brought waves of new energy in, as each season came and went. Beginning with the frosty chill of February, when we made our film, “Hush Little Child,”when the bitter cold was whipping at our feet, we went deep into our creativity. We felt like the mail carriers delivering mail, no matter what the weather, as we trudged through the snowy botanical gardens. The frozen parts of our souls were melting into our editing, as Amelia Golden and I, churned out another film short, complete with symbolic threads that apparently were just beneath the surface of winter.
Next wave was when spring sprung into action. After a bear of a winter, palpable change and transformation were in the air. I was inspired to return to my piece, “Miles,” to contribute again to the IKADA Dance Festival in NYC. Spring allowed me to get my mojo going and invite understudies into the rehearsal process, which made for a fun and productive time. My niece, Alana Kirzner, and dancer, Gierre Godley, (returning to the role), worked their magic with the dance, melding their energies together with beauty and strength.
Summer washed in a wave of energy when our film, “A Dress in the Stream,” was screened at Triskelion Arts Film Lab, at their new, funky location in Brooklyn. We were honored to be among the first participants of their new film lab series. It was an evening of uniquely crafted films, and a chance to hob nob with their creators. This summer also found me housecleaning a lot. Not only did a few dance shoes leave my collection, but I also decided to overhaul my website, as it felt like a necessary thing to do, and long overdue. Those hot, oppressive days inspired me to go deep, and find what I really wanted to keep and what needed to be tossed in the annals of my site. My website had felt like an old shoe wearing out with the many years of its treading the web. So, after finding web developer, Greyson Schwing, I was put to work making all the needed changes.
I also was delighted to work with dancer, Annie Heinemann, in the heat of the summer, entrusting my vintage jazz class to her, for the purpose of bestowing it to future generations of dance enthusiasts. Posterity worked as a great workout for us, as we ball-changed and isolated ourselves into a pool of sweat, which lingered into the fall, when we seemed to have mostly pulled it together for safe keeping.
With the crisp air and the colors of the leaves deepening, more inspiration was in my midst. Dancer, Claire Hancock, (from my blog, Fall in Love With Claire), was able to find time to work out a new piece with me at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, “Drift.”Anyone who is lucky enough to work with this gem of a dancer, knows that whatever she touches, turns to gold. And so, with the knowledge that she was in town for only a couple of short days, we jumped into another one of my Jiffy-Mixes, and I all too soon was lost in awe. Art in any form is art, even without a professional staging, for which we didn’t have the time. So with this project, I respected the process, and how the raw performance, superseded the product.
So, after the arduous task of gathering, building, and tweaking my new website, the autumn saw the launch of MitziAdams.com. It’s a work in progress–we all know, you never arrive, it’s never done, and it’s always more for yourself than anyone else. FB: Like! I also was happy to be on a panel of lecturers again this fall with the dance students at UMASS. My colleague and former dance partner, Paul Dennis, is a distinguished faculty there, and it’s always a good time to share with the younger group of hopefuls, and shed light on the topics of dance survival.
Alas, the final wave of 2015 was Behind the Lens 2, slated for the Producers Club Thanksgiving Week. After some grueling hours in the editing room, I had my film in hand and was all set for my screening night. As a matter of course in the theater, there’s always technical issues that can crop up, but thanks to my tech-savvy husband on board, a click of a few switches, and a shout of “the show must go on,” we screened our film, ironic as it was: Behind the Lens— what goes on behind the lens. It proved to delight the crowd of some of my closest colleagues and admirers– the after party in the lounge saw more tech problems, though, as the the bartender forgot how to measure, but no one seemed to care!
Finally in December, I enjoyed the season of light… no rushing around for me. I was at peace, and so grateful for the waves of dance experiences the year had brought in. Season’s Greetings were year-round for me– very indulgent, indeed! What a wonderful gift to be able to reminisce at the close of the season… Happy New Year!