The Steffi Nossen Dance Foundation, based in Westchester, NY, is producing A Choreography Showcase this Sunday, November 24th at the Emelin Theatre in Mamaroneck, and ACD will present on the bill, Heart Song — a love duet danced by Heidi Sutherland and Christopher Taylor.
The dancers have rehearsed for the past month and are ready to set the stage on fire! This piece, originally premiering in 2011, explores the universal statement of love and passion. The rich, melodic musical score supports the flow of energy between the two dancers, grasping for each other in a soft and tender dance, combining technical prowess with sentiment.
Steffi Nossen School of Dance has been a cornerstone of dance education and performance over generations. This showcase which curates a collection of dance works, brings together notable professional choreographers from across the region along with pre-professional dancers in a performance highlighting new work in a variety of styles and representing a variety of cultures.
Heidi and Chris are dynamos and the process of setting this duet on them has made my heart sing!
Fall has always been a fertile time for me. The harvesting of artistic endeavors with the crisp autumn air seems to be the perfect mix. October 10th was a day to remember. With fits and starts to the day, the final showtime at 7:00p at the Bowtie Criterion Cinema in Greenwich went off without a hitch. Well… there were some hitches, but what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, shall we say. Describing the events leading up to “pressing play” will remain in the vault, but I will share this one funny incident. Well, not so funny to me at the time, but it proved to be a talking point after the show.
The projectionist was using his laptop with my portable hard drive plugged into it. He said he put it in airplane mode, but did he? While in the middle of one of my films, Ancestry.com downloaded and covered the screen with all the details of the projectionist’s profile. 911! He was out of the room managing other films at the time, so I texted him, “hurry quick!” About a one and a half minutes went by until he rectified the situation and got things back to normal. It seemed like an eternity to me. The biggest joke going around afterward was, “imagine if he had erectile dysfunction in his genetic make-up!” Okay, don’t sweat the small stuff. It all went well in the end and everyone seemed to enjoy the evening, despite the hiccup.
Our new partner, Greenwich’s Neighbor-to Neighbor, attended and spoke prior to the film about their organization and how there’s real need even in affluent Greenwich. ACD in association with Peace Community Chapel, stipulated in our event that our film night would donate half of the proceeds to them. It was a real eye opener to have their director describe in detail about food insecurity in the town. We all were so humbled and grateful to know that what we were doing was serving the greater good of humanity.
Behind the Lens, already having had three runs in NYC prior, gained a few films in the line-up, somehow completing a big cycle for me, with my final film, “Crooked Dreams,” taking front and center in my schedule this Fall. I took out my documentary on the making of a dance, leaving room to fill in the space with the newer films I’ve created. Blending the old with the new seemed to round out the evening, and I owe everything to my executive editor, Faith Marek, without whom I couldn’t have pulled this off. We spent hours and hours editing, and enjoying dinners together, as we witnessed the days getting shorter in the process.
It may seem from the outside looking in that I have all my ducks in a row, that I’m highly organized, and endowed financially to be able to produce the way I do. A big NO! My brother once gave nicknames to all my family members when we were young. My nickname was “beautiful mess.” Indeed, that’s me. All the stars have to be aligned to produce a film, but trust me, I continually was off in outer space getting caught in one black hole after the next to make them. My karma has been to have no umbrella, but good visibility in the rain — to have no idea where I’m headed, but to end up in the right place — to have only two nickels to rub together, but to end up abundantly pleased. The messiness of life has stirred-up my inner terrain a large percentage of the time — the advantage; however, is that it colors all that I’ve created, and with this Fall of 2019… all is at its peak!
Mitzi Adams, Artistic Director of Adams Company Dance, will present “Behind the Lens,” a 90-minute film screening of a compendium of their independent art dance film shorts at the Greenwich Bowtie Criterion Cinema, October 10th at 7p. From the Baryshnikov Arts Center to the shores of Silver Sands State Park in CT and everywhere in between, Adams and filmmakers Amelia Golden, Benjamin Moss, Joel Stephen, and Faith Marek, weave dancers into their unique settings to create film shorts that are visually stunning, whimsical and emotionally stirring. Adams Company Dance, now in its 28th year, shares a unique look into the ways in which dance connects with the human experience. With three new films in the line-up, this night will have something for everyone!
This event is in collaboration with Peace Community Chapel’s on-going missions to help fight hunger in Lower Fairfield County, CT, with 50% of your tax-deductible ticket price going toward this mission. This year Peace Community Chapel will focus on a new goal of helping Neighbor to Neighbor, of Greenwich, CT.
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.
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!
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.”