March 15, 2022
Volume 4 Issue 2
By: Leo Briggs
Now in its third year, the A.M. Collaborative is a staple of DanceATL’s programming. The artist matchmaking initiative launched in 2020 as a way to connect artists across disciplines in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program provided a much-needed space for Atlanta’s arts community to engage in collaboration and risk-taking.
This year’s cohort of 15 artists encompasses every form, from dancers to musicians, filmmakers and puppeteers. In addition to pairing the artists and providing a performance venue, A.M. Collaborative also provides curators as mentors and resources for each group of artists.
Multidisciplinary artist and educator Lizzy Storm is one of this year’s participants. She was inspired to join by her classmate Darya Fard, another artist in the collaborative. “I wanted to explore movement further in my personal practice, so I joined the group for inspiration and camaraderie,” Storm says.
Storm’s collaborator, Sharon Carelock, was also drawn to the structure, accountability and community that A.M. Collaborative provides. “I knew that I was not going to be able to make this project by myself,” says Carelock. “A.M. Collaborative offered a community of artists, who shared my passions and determination to put art out into the world.”
For Storm, the pairing of a visual artist with a dancer was natural. She says, “I work with movement in my abstract works, where the pieces result from the movement of forces in the fluid materials of ink and water on paper, or the action of my body gesture, often repeated, to create the forms in my works.” She found new avenues to conceptualize her practice by working with Carelock.
“I have been challenged by my collaborator to complete a series of movement-based prompts twice a week,” Storm says of the collaboration. “It has been a welcome addition to my studio practice, just a quiet moment where I can expand on existing ideas or invite in totally new ones.”
The curators also provide a crucial feedback role to the artists. They are a team of multidisciplinary artists, some of whom have participated in the program before. “The curator wears many hats,” says Nadya Zeitlin, who has served in this role for three years. “Our main role is overseeing the collaboration and checking in with artists about their process, which keeps the motivation sharp. Upon request, curators can provide feedback on the work in progress, facilitating discussions and brainstorming sessions between partners if they feel stuck.”
The performance component of the program has also continued to evolve over the past three years. The inaugural show took place on Zoom in spring of 2021. “Last year’s performance was able to be held in person,” says Samantha Spriggs, the DanceATL Operations Manager. “That allowed our artists to engage with their audiences in a deeper way, in addition to having greater capacity for showcasing their collaborative works more fully. However, we recognized that our use of a traditional black-box proscenium setting limited at least one of last year’s collaborations in terms of being able to share what they wanted.”
This year, the performances and exhibits allow for a more freeform structure that incorporates all types of performance and artwork. Using funding from Arts & Entertainment Atlanta in addition to partnering with Fulton County Public Arts Futures Lab and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID), A.M. Collaborative will have a weekend-long installation at the Futures Lab that will incorporate works from several visual artists, some of which will involve live performance elements during the opening reception and showcase.
In addition, two film projects will be shown on a loop during public viewing hours and screened in full during the showcase performances. No Tomorrow, the venue just two doors down, will also host additional live dance performances and film screenings during the Saturday evening showcase.
Finally, the weekend includes an Alumni Showcase on Sunday at the Broad Street Boardwalk in partnership with ADID. “For us, this is an effort to build the dance audience in Atlanta by access to free public performances in visible spaces,” says Spriggs. “We also want to continue offering a platform to our past artists and amplify the work they are doing and making in the community.”
Saturday, March 18 | 7PM | Underground Atlanta A.M. Collaborative Final Showcase
Sunday, March 19 | 2PM | Broad Street Boardwalk A.M. Collaborative Alumni Showcase
Leo Briggs (she/he/they) is an independent Atlanta-based choreographer and performer. They are invested in furthering queer and trans liberation in their choreographic work, community engagement, and teaching practice. They graduated summa cum laude from Emory University’s Dance & Movement Studies program in 2019, where they were a recipient of the Sudler Prize in the Arts. Leo was a 2022 Arts & Social Justice Fellow at Emory University and a Meli Kaye Artist-in-Residence at the Decatur School of Ballet.
More from Leo:
Full Radius Dance: turning tradition on its head
Dancing down memory lane: Celebrating 60 years of Beacon Dance and Decatur City Dance
Patton White brings tranquility, grounding, openness for all bodies on Facebook Live
The body as a political vessel: a conversation with Okwae A. Miller