Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bodies of Text III Next Weekend

The weather is forecast to be beautiful for the Saturday, September 3rd, Bodies of Text performance. This is your last chance to see choreographers interpret artist books. Featuring Stone Depot Dance Lab interpreting Anna Mavromatis's In the Wings and Melissa Diane Dance working from Bonnie Whitfield's A Den Brooklyn Nights, this free performance will begin in Clark Park at the intersection of Woodland Avenue and 43rd/45th Streets in West Philadelphia, with shows at 4pm and 7pm. We invite you to bring your own blanket or chair. Performances will be followed by a discussion between choreographers & book artist (4pm show) and a reception (7pm show).
Stone Depot Dance Lab’s new work is a collaboration with visual artist Nicole Donnelly, who will create large outdoor sculptures for the piece. Anna Mavromatis’ provocative book, In the Wings, which utilizes a curved structure, pattern and multiplicity, provides the inspiration for Stone Depot choreographers Eleanor Goudie-Averill and Beau Hancock and Donnelly to create a unique outdoor performance environment. The piece also uses source material from early motion study photographs by Eadweard Muybridge. 

Melissa Diane (Jacelyn Biondo and Kristen Shahverdian) is a site-inspired, movement-driven performance company. For Bodies in Text III, Melissa Diane presents City Calm Down, inspired by Bonnie Whitfield’s heavily altered book, A Den Brooklyn Nights, in which Whitfield utilizes Thoreau's exploration of isolation in the wilderness in Walden to describe her personal isolation within her relationship as well as in her new city of Brooklyn. The work juxtaposes inside and outside worlds and explores how we act when we are alone and how we interact intimately when with another person. Often contradictory emotions explode in the work as Melissa Diane uses the backdrop of a West Philadelphia location, Whitfield’s book and their own character studies to explore subversive and aggressive behaviors, feminism and what it does to our behavior when we are seen or hidden.

Bodies of Text is a series of collaborative dance performances and art exhibitions tied to the book and its interdisciplinary interpretations. Premiering in April as a part of the 2011 Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, continuing with shows at multiple venues in May and now part of Philly Fringe this September—Bodies of Text is rooted in the idea of Art à la Rue and brings Art to the Street in Philadelphia’s Rive Gauche, West Philadelphia.

In total, Philadelphia dance companies interpret seven unique books, selected from many submissions by Philadelphia Center for the Book members.  This performance is an opportunity for audience members to experience dance in an unusual setting, and reinvents the usual surroundings of the park for passersby. Site-specific works provide the audience with the agency to connect with the performance in their own way. So often dance performance is limited to proscenium stages, expensive concert halls, and obscure or inaccessible venues. In placing this performance in Clark Park and charging no admission creates a welcoming environment for all members of Philadelphia’s diverse community to share in the artistic process of the Bodies of Text project. The audience is invited to bring chairs or blankets for their comfort. The artist books will be on display at the event, and the dances will be followed by a discussion between choreographers and book artists.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bodies of Text III in Clark Park C!

Bodies of Text II enjoyed an amazing run of shows this May at Studio 34 and Christ Church Neighborhood house! One audience member said: "I haven't seen a lot of work in Philly that I've fallen in love with ... so I am moved to share my appreciation!"

Bodies of Text will be back in the early Fall with our third show, featuring choreographers:

Beau Hancock & Eleanor Goudie-Averill
of Stone Depot Dance Lab and
Kristen Shaverdian & Jacelyn Biondo of Melissa Diane.
These outdoor performances will be site-specific and FREE and are not to be missed!

The shows will take place during the Philly Fringe Festival on September 3rd at 4 & 7 pm and will begin at Clark Park C in West Philadelphia!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

- unique collaborations between Philadelphia’s dance and book arts communities –

Featuring collaborations between:
Here[begin] Dance Ananda Connolly
Movement Brigade Rebecca Kelly
Stone Depot Dance Lab Judith Robison

May's exciting installment of choreographic creations will be performed on Friday, May 27th at Studio34 located at 4522 Baltimore Avenue in West Philadelphia at 8 pm followed by a discussion with the Choreographers and Book Artists, moderated by Philadelphia Center for the Book’s Curator, Mary Tasillo. The performances will continue throughout the weekend at the historic Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 North American Street in Old City, on Saturday May 28th at 7 & 9 pm and Sunday, May 29th at 7 pm. These performances are co-presented by Philadelphia Dance Projects and made possible by a grant from New Stages for Dance, a program of Dance USA/Philadelphia. All three works are world premieres and explore different aspects of the natural and the organic world.

Tickets for the Christ Church performances are $15 ($12 for Dance Pass holders and $10 for students) and are available in advance through Brown Paper Tickets ( and at the door.

Stone Depot Dance Lab’s co-director and Bodies of Text Curator Eleanor Goudie-Averill’s new work is inspired by Judith Robison's gorgeous interpretation of Colette Inez’s poem, The Woman Who Loved Worms. Inez created the poem based on the legend of a Japanese woman with “unpinned hair, weevils queuing across her bare and unbound feet.” In the early 1970’s, Robison and fellow dancer, Janet Brodie created a solo dance inspired by the poem. Robinson said that she has found herself coming back to the images presented within the poem throughout her adult life. Many beautiful layers of Tibetan paper make up the book she created almost thirty years later, just as many layers of interpretation have gone into Goudie-Averill’s intricate dance about how legends are passed throughout time. Danced by Goudie-Averill and Katherine Stark, the piece explores the expectations placed on women across cultures and mimes the poem’s kinetic, natural imagery.

Working within the context of the body and how it relates to various states of blue, Movement Brigade artists Heather Cole, Erin Shanti Desmond, and Alie Vidich have created a new dance theater work inspired by Rebecca Kelly’s The Blue Book. Kelly’s work is one of a kind handmade book that was created in the aftermath of 911. It is a true collection of artists’ and writers’ reactions to different states of blue. Working collaboratively, Cole, Desmond and Vidich are inspired by their own personal associations with blue: an emergence of crushing loneliness, the vividness of water pushing limbs, and the inevitable submergence that is essential to living and renewal.Zornitsa Stoyanova of Here[begin] Dance has created a movement performance featuring three dancers: Emma Morehouse, Lisa Rothstein and Greg Holt. Inspired by the elaborate textures and subject matter of Collateral Bee Box, a book by Ananda Connolly, Stoyanova will offer a string of dances mirroring the architecture of the book. Transforming the visual aesthetic of Connolly into a moving image, she explores qualitative and performance state changes that correspond to the textures found in the book. Stoyanova will approach the work in a new way that is unique to any of her previous choreographies. She will generate movement utilizing the skills she learned in her work with the internationally renowned dance maker Susan Rethorst. With this skill set, she will create complex phrase work based on the ways bees move and communicate.

Contact Ellie Goudie-Averill for a full press release and/or photos
(by Lindsay Browning)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

First Installment of Bodies of Text!

For the first installment of Bodies of Text, a part of the Philadelphia International Festival for the Arts, idiosynCrazy Productions and Rain Ross dance interpret three unique books, selected from many submissions by Philadelphia Center for the Book members (more information about the collaborations below).

These choreographic creations, all world premieres, will be performed on April 16th at the Community Education Center (3500 Lancaster) at 8 pm. Tickets are available through PIFA at www.

April's performance will be followed by a discussion between choreographers and book artists, moderated by Mary Tasillo, examining the transformation from printed page to stage, and accompanied by storefront exhibits of artist books and related material. Featured books will be on view alongside the performance.

Rehearsal Footage from the new Duet by Ross:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Along with Idosyncrazy Productions' Shannon Murphy's new piece Blast vs. Blaze (see our first post), April 16th's Bodies of Text Performance will also feature ...

Idiosyncrazy director Jumatatu Poe’s piece, A Big Enough Grief, inspired by Lesley Mitchell's abstraction of Astor Piazzolla's song, Balada para un Loco, in her book of the same title.

Mitchell’s book has caused Jumatatu to reflect on his experiences with grief and the situations that create it. Piazzolla's lyrics illustrate a man's obsessive love for a woman who is out of his reach. A Big Enough Grief examines the longing for those that are no longer within our reach and will also include text by James Ijames and new sound and music by Margel Overton.

Along with Idiosyncrazy's works ...
Rain Ross Dance, in collaboration with book artist Mimi
Shapiro, will premiere another duet, The Flight To Varennes. This choreographic work explores an unforeseen fantasy that could never be a reality, asking the question: does love fall into categories? Ross and dancer Lauren Kelly will perform this exciting and sensuous duet, with an original composition by Dan Roeder.

DONATE TODAY to support Bodies of Text by visiting our Crowdrise site:

Thanks in advance for your support!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Introducing the First Performance: Part 1

Bodies of Text kicks off in conjunction with the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. On April 16, 2011, at 8pm at the Community Education Center at 3500 Lancaster Avenue, three choreographers and three artist books come together in an interdisciplinary performance event.

In this blog post, we preview Blast Vs Blaze, featuring choreography by idiosynCrazy productions’ Shannon Murphy and the artist book Strike by Monica Kane, with movement input by Jumatatu Poe, sound and video work by Steve Surgalski.

Blast Vs Blaze is an investigation of an argument that can never be won or lost.
Shannon Murphy and Jumatatu Poe combat in unlikely ways; their movement, often explosive and aggressive, forever flues their battle without ever coming to resolution. This dance theater duet explores the definitions that keep us separated, keep us fighting, and that keep us from communication.

Shannon Murphy has been researching her families’ history during the Vietnam War and how its lasting effects can be discovered in her own body. She is currently working on a documentary about a group of Vietnam Veterans that reunited after 30 years, and is working with a group of female Veterans of her own generation. Both of these projects have shaken her own understanding of war then and now. She finds herself re-examining the assumptions that had kept her from listening and empathizing with other humans simply because of liberal /conservative titles. This exploration led her to choosing her Philadelphia Center for the Book Collaborator Monica Kane.

Blast Vs Blaze is not a comment on who is right or wrong or good or bad. It is more a question of how we fight for ourselves and who we fight against.

Stay tuned for updates on other pieces in the performance, and more information about the artist books....