A.M. Collaborative is a program that the DanceATL Education/Mentorship committee has facilitated for the past 5 months, connecting 20+ artists of different disciplines together in a creation process.
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Meet the artists! Click here to learn more about the 2020-21 artist participants!
Click one of the tiles below to jump to their work
Please note that some pieces have content warnings including descriptions of violence, mutilation, cannibalism; transphobic language; discussions of diet culture; and nudity. These warnings are labeled at the top of the corresponding projects.
The Pandemic of Loneliness
Jacob Lavoie, Janie Young, Cynthia Church
Advisor: Onur Sumer
With appearances by:
Music: Mission (with excerpts from “The Crunch” by Charles Bukowski) arranged by Tim Church
Videography by artists
Video Editing: Jacob Lavoie
Costumes: Artists’ own
Around the same time that the Collaborative was forming, Janie read an article in the Atlantic quoting a survey that one-fifth of Americans reported always or often feeling lonely. Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy went so far as to call it a public health crisis–and this was in 2018, well before the pandemic exacerbated our collective need for close confidantes and physical affection.
This idea of loneliness as an American epidemic captured our imagination. It became our springboard for the project. Our approach from a movement perspective was amplifying “the body as a truth-teller.” In the same way that shifting eyes can give away a lie and crossed arms form a protective barrier, we wanted to use regular movement–perhaps heightened or stylized for effect–to illustrate the experience of loneliness. We also knew that we wanted to lean into the story aspect of performance, perhaps even with spoken word, but without necessarily a plot-driven narrative like you’d see in a traditional musical or ballet.
The title The Pandemic of Loneliness is a nod to both public health crises: the Covid-19 virus and loneliness itself.
Originally we planned to create a live dance piece choreographed by Jacob and Janie, incorporating use of wearables and original, elevated costuming conceived and designed by Cynthia. We were interested in exploring the use of props and media elements. We considered many options in the early stages, such as the use of additional dancers and site-specific work. Cynthia shared a piece of original music, created by her partner, that evoked the theme perfectly and gave us the storytelling foundation we craved.
When the showcase pivoted to an all-digital format, we pivoted as well. The objective remained the same, but the final product would be different–a video, with more of a performance art slant than a straight dance piece. It was almost a happy accident. For our purposes and theme, the adjustment worked–perhaps even better than the original plan.
The goal became to create a living collage, using video, images, and sound. This would be shot from our own spheres (homes, workplaces, etc.) without professional videography and with less polished movement. We wanted to capture the idea of “existing” in our spaces. The intention was to use our personal perspectives on loneliness and isolation, both pandemic-induced and otherwise, to capture a universal experience. This could be accomplished by incorporating anything–spaces, activities, times of day, objects–that personally evoked loneliness to us. Hopefully, through our individual portrayals the audience will tap into their own experience and our experience as humans on this planet during this time. We intended the look to be a little wild–piecemeal and raw. Like the feeling of loneliness itself.
Incidentally, our group never met in person throughout the entire process. Everything was conceived, built, and finalized on Zoom calls and emails.
Living in Between
Jenna Latham and Megan Long
Choreography: Jenna Latham, Megan Long, Collaboration with dancers
Dancers: Kaitlin Davis, Jenna Gamerl, Devon Szklanka
Videography: Megan LongMusic: Awake The Light by Borrtex, Time Passing I by David Hilowitz, Away by Meydan (Licensed by Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)) All songs were pulled from freemusicarchive.org
Frankie Mulinix and Leo Briggs
Content Warning: Contains descriptions of violence, mutilation, cannibalism; transphobic language; and discussions of diet culture.
After the Riptide (Easter, 2021) – Frankie Mulinix
I asked that we stop by the water
I asked that we find a body of water to put my body into
My uncontainable uncontrollable body
inside that body which displaces herself to make room
To find my edges
where the cold grips my skin
and chokes the breath out of me
I want to float, to pretend I am weightless
My body into that body
I want to fill my insides with rocks and walk into that body
Feet touching dirt –
Make me wet –
until that body goes over my head
I want to breathe here
I want to breathe in this body
I want her
I look back and you are a speck on the shore.
are just a speck
René Nesbit and Christina Venditti
Slow Burn was performed by Olivia Gelfand and Mila Barbuto at Global Dance Theatre as a part of the Through Deep Waters showcase, an event supporting charity: water on February 13th, 2021.
Your Body Your Home
Content Warning: contains nudity
“How could I not be only myself, (this dream of flesh), from moment to moment?” Mark Strand – From: Blizzard of One: Poems
Your Body Your Home is a work created to investigate the body. It is a path to self-discovery, acceptance, and connecting body, mind and soul. It’s an invitation to look at ourselves and as a reflection, see the other.
The goal is to observe, explore, and see each part of the body separately as a puzzle, investigating and getting to know each part of it. And then put these pieces together and observe the whole. The artist hopes to bring into question what the human body means to us. “What is this body of flesh?”
To view the entirety of Your Body Your Home, click here.
Bodies In Motion Documentary
Keith Reeves and Michael Boatright
Full length documentary
An Exploration of Perception
Choreographer’s note: This is a work in progress. The video below is in silence. Feel free to listen to either of the music clips below while watching.
Collaborative work between: Hannah Myers, Jacque Pritz and Taige McMahon
VISUAL ART: Below are 4 works of fine art that inspire me visually. I find that together these artworks share a distorted/disfigured motif. Additionally, each work focuses on body parts that we sense with: ear, nose, eye, mouth. As such, the dancing, with support of video editing and sound, will combine these senses and complete the series with the remaining sensation of feel/touch.
Mythological Creatures by George Condo
Untitled by Lee Bontecou 1959
Portrait of Isabel Rawsthorne by Francis Bacon 1966
Untitled by Linda Vachon
SOUND: Usually I find sound before movement. This project has been an exception. Sound for this work is currently still in the creative process. Many times, throughout our choreographic playground, movement was invented and rehearsed in silence. As a result, an internal rhythm was created by Jacque (the performer) and myself (the choreographer). It has been an interesting journey working in silence, and it urges me to find a fresher path to guide my artistic intentions. Taige McMahon is an accomplished composer who has provided me with sound clips that will eventually shape a cohesive backdrop for the dance film.
SHORT STORY: I found inspiration and connections to our theme in this short story as well. The text is candid. It illustrates how his perspective changed drastically over time. He once enjoyed and found inspiration in language and now he’s cynical. How did he get to this point, and why? This story is also strangely comedic.Bullet in The Brain by Tobias Wolff Link: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1995/09/25/bullet-in-the-brain
Source: Psychology Today
ADDITIONAL INSPIRATION: The Rorschach Test was my preliminary source of inspiration. I found the high contrast, black and white color palette to be very striking. Conceptually, the inkblot test also influenced my ideas. It was originally designed in 1921 to test for mental illness and later became a personality test with differing opinions of accuracy. Yet, in both instances after stimulating the senses, in this case visually, an emotional response was given. The patient would be asked what they see and why? Perhaps the audience could ask themselves the same questions after viewing the film.
QUOTES: John Beagles, an artist and lecturer in Edinburgh, Scotland wrote this quote about the artist Francis Bacon’s work:
CHOREOGRAPHY/COSTUME: My dancer is Jacque Pritz. She performs 3 different phrases, alone in a stark and blank room. The geometric design of Jacque’s costume and the arbitrary floor design create a vivid image. Yet she is slightly warped and appears as a cartoon figure, and sometimes without color. Her motions range from quick and sharp to fluid and slow. The camera is sometimes blinking, with Jacque momentarily disappearing. I plan to film more clips of texture that will be sprinkled throughout the film to give the audience additional sensations associated with “feel.”
Past and Presence
Jessica Brooke Anderson and Catherine Messina
Past and Presence is a collaborative improv experiment between visual artist Jessica Brooke Anderson and dance artist Catherine Messina. Created in 3 episodes of raw unedited footage from multiple camera positions, the two collaborators interact with a rotating collection of Jessica’s recently inherited family artifacts, exploring the relationship between past and present and what it means to listen to the stories kept inside these inanimate archives.
Past and Presence: Episode 1
Past and Presence: Episode 2
Past and Presence: Episode 3
alone but not lonely
ma is an emptiness full of possibilities
In this exploration, space is not considered an absence that separates, but rather a resource for relationships. Over the last year we have been put to the task of creating space between humans, whether it’s the 6 feet of social distancing, or the vast distances between friends and family that we would have normally travelled between. I want to explore ways through movement to show how the emptiness between us, while physically separating the movers, provides the opportunity for creation and beauty.
Choreographer, Curator, & Producer: Loren McFalls
Editor: Lorin Dent
Music Credits: Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka, & Johann Sebastian Bach
Dancers: Cat Long- Philadelphia, PA
Charlotte Angermeier- Atlanta, GA
Christine Mantey- Philadelphia, PA
Dawn Franks- Philadelphia, PA
Ilana Volain- Philadelphia, PA
Lindsey Huster- Philadelphia, PA
Loren McFalls- Atlanta, GA
Meli’sa Grier- Philadelphia, PA
Stephanie King- Los Angeles, CA
We are One
Ania Bartelmus and Pendu Malik
The title of our piece “We are One” explores three different dance vernaculars that are percussive. Ania is the professional Flamenco dancer, while Pendu fuses some West African dance moves with African American Stepping. These styles all share similar traits such as the social aspect of groups gathering, singing, percussion and high energy. Often times, styles such as these are seen as “folkloric” dance but many forget that there is a lot of technique and training in these dances that can equate to someone training in ballet. We wanted to celebrate our similarities as people using our styles of dance in a time where there is so much division and racism. Our final product will address systemic racism and how we continue to divide ourselves instead of focusing on our similarities because in reality we are one. We hope you can enjoy our similarities in this piece more than notice what is different.
Known as a total percussionist, Jerry Fields performs regularly in Atlanta and throughout the southeast on drum-set, timpani, marimba and various world percussion instruments. A Summit Jazz recording artist (Ted Howe Trio), Mr. Fields is featured on the group’s critically acclaimed recording Ellington as well as Elton Exposed. A world percussionist at heart, Jerry has performed with Ania “La Candela” for several years and as well as a number of flamenco artists including Guitarists: Arturo Martinez, Ricardo Diaz, Jose Manuel Tejeda, Luis Linares “el Tiburon”, Christian Puig and John Lawrence. Dancers: Antonio Vargas, Manolo Punto, Barbara Brenton Antonio Hidalgo and Ulrika Frank. Singers: Alfonso Cid, Marija Temo and Javier Heredia. Jerry is also actively performing with Indian, Greek, Kleezmer, Arabic and African ensembles.
I would like to explore what I am referring to as the “corn maze phenomenon.” The corn maze phenomenon is experienced as we move through our daily lives and engage in repeated actions expecting a change. Throughout our lives, many of us perform the same actions and daily tasks with room for small alterations. Over the past nine months, the days have begun to blur together. If someone were to perform the same task each day with smaller noticeable changes, at what point would these small changes build up to signify a significant change? I want to explore what this threshold is and when it is identifiable. This movement exploration will comprise primarily of physical repetitive movements that always have the same outcome.
Jenn Klammer and Andie Knudson
Black man, love Thyself and The Struggle
A. Raheim White
Black man, love Thyself
Love the way your ankles
rock to the beat of your
drop in the knees to your
swaying hips they continue that dip going up ya back
touch ’round ya waist
sensual curves too
All of you
Do rag wrapping into
Flocks of locs flowing into
Third eye growing into beautiful seeds of bliss and smiles
To that grungy mining the earth
towing yo’ turf
Standing yo’ ground on the battlefield of American Soil,
Patriots pay no tributes to the blood,
Beatings, and bruises you’ve suffered but benefit from your detriment so they stuff you inside you.
The black that lies in the darkest abyss of your fears, the place where people pretend not to hear your beckoning call for all to come witness your vulnerability.
You forgot and are afraid of the power of your softness.
But All of you has space here my love.
ALL OF YOU.
From the way “aight” slips from your mouth when we get off the phone knowing that’s black code for “I’ll talk to yo ass later”
To the way you don’t waver when asked of your affections for me.
The feeling I get from catching you exhibit the essence of Earth, strong, solid, assured mixed with Water’s sensitive, receptive, power I bend knees and drop heads on the hour to thank God/dess for your reflection
From the sharp jagged edges to the
soft subtle lips words slip from my tongue to describe how much you mean to me. inconceivably. I literally do not understand This gift.
But what I know in my heart of hearts
Is that when you hurt, I hurt
When you suffer, I suffer and
When you love, Babeeeee, I love.
And I love to love our love.
I love you black man.
I am floating in a place that exists in
Sensitive spaces riding between the line of wanting everything and no-thing
All consuming it is.
I wrestle my restlessness to the ground trying to beat it out body to the flash of my soul, I desire to glow/No BURN brighter as the light I know I am.
Questioning higher aims
Effortfully trying to gain a foothold on MY passing life that seems to fleet by the eye.
Tick-tock-tick-tock ti-ti-ti-tock-tick tock-tock-tock-tock
What do I want? Who am I now? What resources do I have to learn how to embody?
Finding it hard to be me.
Who I want to be.
This Time is fleeting.
Passing you by —— wisshhhhh
Thoughts race in my mind that are not my own. I sit to breathe and meditate.
Honing ideas into patterns known by intelligence that is beyond me: Spirit
They allow innerstanding.
Clarity is shown,
“Don’t deny your infinity, “They say, “you are everything. Recharge, come nearer to me. And we can sing The stories of you. Adventure beckons your soul, It calls you from the depths. Know the only thing you need to do is take that very first step. I am guiding you each sway of the way, yes, know you may fall. But do not deny my power because I am the most magickal of all. All you need to do is ask for assistance, and know That it is here. For I am a reflection of the power that’s in you my dear loving queer. All that you have experienced has led you to this moment. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE, you are the one to own it.”
And with this message, I feel a bit stronger, more capable
Knowing that I have the Force that creates worlds sitting at my table.
I am blessed
Damsel, Creature Story, Wants (I’m a fag for money)
I’m a gentleman. I bake you bread. I sew patches on your jeans.
I build a home of toothpicks. I gather various meats.
I’m cruel. I cradle the record, play it back. I’m a monster
even on the b-side. I cosplay my father. I wear his shoes.
Our home fills with ghosts of I’m sorry, I’m sorry
I’m like this. I google bipolar symptoms. I google borderline personality disorder.
I set my car on fire and start a new life. I keep to myself.
I wear boxing gloves around women. I try only once, at the lake
three miles from my house. I arrive with my body
on an emerald coat hanger, but every kid on the beach is my brother
and I left the oven on. I take care of myself, I lay in the bath for hours.
I am so clean, my old self gasps for breath under the surface. She screams
while I put on my best dress and dance for you, for the camera.
There aren’t any villains here, just me.
In this version, my body (given) is grotesque and inaccurate.
Held at gunpoint, I prove this to my mother.
I hold my breasts between my thumbs before throwing them to the current.
I gouge the villain’s eyes out the same way. I see his beauty
& am not myself. I fumble the zipper at the back of his neck.
Held at gunpoint, I live my little life. I make tea. I leave my dick in the sink.
My desires cast in cellophane, I fondle the soft plastic of my true self.
I move under the green glow of love. The porn mags under the crystal lamp? A gift.
A cock for you on every page. Let’s play dress up. You in my boxers
and me in his skin. Call me your brother. I’ll say it back.
We collide. I let you go at the peak. The cellophane world ripples, comes
alive. Did you hear me? The wind is so loud. I’m telling you – I’m alive.
Wants (I’m a fag for money)
I’m a fag for money. I labor under hot oiled light.
In a blender, I pulse aquaphor, gluttony.
Like the imitation transsexual
I am, I keep
my skin moist. I refuse questions
about my past. My ghosts fidget in their sleep.
I want the kind of love other
people have — I’d kill for it. I have before.