The past few weeks at Core Dance have been non-stop! I’ve barely had a chance to catch my breath with all of the events happening around here. American Playground and Two Room Apartment just had its Houston premiere this past weekend at MATCH in Houston. In addition to recovering from this trip to Houston, our Company Manager, D. Patton White, is choreographing a piece that will premiere in Atlanta the first weekend of March - in less than two weeks!. (Click here for more info!)
Two weeks ago, we had a guest artist, Rebecca Steinberg from New Dialect, come to teach “Guided Improvisation.” I took her class on Thursday morning, and it was an eye-opening, very sweaty adventure. We began class with a shaking series, and kept moving for at least half an hour without stopping. It’s amazing how difficult it is to continue this movement, even if you keep the shaking small. We later moved into contact improvisation, with one partner influencing the other with his or her touch. It was especially interesting because later that night, I went to a performance of “One: A Kinetic Journey” and saw this same exercise used in one of the pieces. (Which, by the way, was awesome!)
That Thursday was also our Lunchtime in the Studio event, during which we offer free lunch and Core Performance Company performs for our local community. For this Lunchtime, we featured excerpts from Patton’s piece, July 13, 2016: 4:10PM. This piece was inspired by the sudden and unexpected death of his brother, Claiborne, in 2016. Patton is working on including the audience in the performance, and allowing each member to experience his or her own interpretation of love and loss.
To begin Lunchtime, Patton asked the audience to listen to a piece of music, and to draw while they listened. After the music finished, we reflected on this experience. One young audience member said, “I feel like this music was meant to played here and on this day.”
Then, Core Performance Company performed an excerpt from the choreographed portion of the piece. After a brief reflection after the performance, the CPC Dance Artists each connected with one audience member, and walked with them around the studio. Patton encouraged the audience members to explore the space, and enter on a journey with the dancers. After this experience, a few participants spoke of a realization that we don’t have all the time in the world. Patton expressed that he feels it is important to focus on relationships, because these are what give our lives meaning.
One audience member summed up my own interpretation of the afternoon perfectly. He said, “I found the meaning and the beauty behind the madness.”
Later that day, students from East Atlanta Villages came to the studios. Core Performance Company performed a short excerpt of American Playground, and then led the students in a class. After the excerpt, the students responded to what they saw in the performance. Here are some of the phrases they used to describe their experience:
“It was amazing”
“They were working together”
“Was it all a part of the plan?”
“I want to be a dancer now”
For more information on future events including Lunchtime in the Studio, American Playground, and July 13, 2016: 4:10PM, check out the “Coming Up” page on our website!
Although we had to close up shop for a few days last week, Core Dance has still been plenty busy! Last Monday, Core Performance Company and the Core Dance staff members spent the morning volunteering for the City of Decatur. Our assignment was lawn work: raking, picking up trash, shoveling out old stones, and making the lawn of a Decatur citizen as beautiful as possible. We put on as many layers as we could, grabbed our gardening gloves, and got to work. We carried pieces of concrete, wood planks, and miscellaneous trash to the dumpster. After an hour, I was already stripping off my layers. Although we weren’t in the studio, we certainly got our workout for the day!
The rest of the week was thrown off course by the ice and snow, but on Friday we were finally back on track with the studios open. That morning, I thawed out my muscles with a class with Kristin O’Neal. Dancing to upbeat, Irish music was the perfect way to begin my Friday. Core Performance Company finished out the afternoon by rehearsing American Playground, which will have its Houston premiere next month. (More info here!)
While the dancers prepare for their trip to Houston, I am getting ready for a community meeting for DanceATL, and an audition for the Riverside Dance Festival at Vero Beach. This Saturday, January 27th, Core Dance will be hosting a placement audition for children ages 10 and up for the Riverside Dance Festival. For more info, check out their website: https://www.riversidetheatre.com/riverside-dance-festival/. Following the audition at 4pm in Core Studios will be a meeting with DanceATL, held for all Atlanta dancers, artists, and community members to discuss what the dance community needs at this time.
The next few weeks are crammed for us over here in the office. This Monday, our entire staff and company had a Work Room. This is a full day where we dance together and discuss our programs and company needs. In March, we will all attend a 3 day long company retreat, to extend and deepen this process. Spring Fieldwork begins in Atlanta on January 29th, and in Houston on February 3rd. In Atlanta, our February Lunchtime is coming up on February 8th. And don’t forget, we have classes Monday, Wednesday-Friday at 9:00am. Keep warm, and come move with Core Dance!
Meet Stefanie - a beautiful dancer who has just transitioned from being a Core Dance Artist to our Community Programs Facilitator. We are so happy to have her join our staff this season!
Hometown: Munich, Germany
Education/Training: BA in Business and Management from LDT, Nagold in Germany, BA in Dance and Dance Education
Position: Community Programs Facilitator and Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 200)
Delights: 3pm chocolate
How did you come to Core Dance? I started as a Dance Artist at Core Dance in the fall of 2012 after auditioning for Core in the spring of 2012. I heard about Core through a former Dance Artist.
What is your favorite part about working here? Hmmm… sooo many! My favorite part is that everyone is really seen as a person, as a human with a story, everyone really matters. No one is seen as a machine that is expected to just function. I love that there is room to grow and room to create. What one feels and thinks truly matters. Core is what each individual brings to Core, not just the vision of one single person and everyone else just fulfilling tasks.
What is one of your favorite memories of your time here so far?
Traveling to Israel with the company as a Dance Artist to work with Niv and Oren and also with Vertigo Dance Company. Specifically spending 5 days at the Eco-Village with Core was truly inspirational in so many ways!
To read more about Stefanie, check out her bio on our website:
Happy happy new year! Today, to celebrate new beginnings, and continuing with our staff profiles, I’m going to officially introduce myself to all of our wonderful readers and supporters.
Hometown: Rochester, NY (Sorry Atlanta, looks like I brought the cold with me!)
Education/Training: BA in Dance, English, and Business, with concentrations in Arts Administration and Creative Writing, from Goucher College. I have interned with Garth Fagan Dance, Baltimore Magazine, and Bates Dance Festival. I graduated from Goucher in May 2017, and moved here in September for this super awesome job!
Position: Publications Manager (I manage the website, social media accounts, email, the blog, playbills, flyers, TV slides, and postcards!)
Delights: reading, writing, fancy journals, superb pens with pretty blue ink, planners, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, dance, dogs of any kind, snow, fuzzy blankets, and my kitten
How did you come to Core Dance?
I met our Rehearsal Director, Kristin O’Neal, at Bates Dance Festival in the summer of 2016. She is a wonderful human being! During my senior year at Goucher, I started exploring cities besides New York and LA where dance was thriving, and I stumbled upon Atlanta. I reached out to Kristin after seeing her on Core Dance’s website, and remembering that she teaches at Emory. We chatted about the dance community in Atlanta, Core Dance, and what I was interested in pursuing (writing and dance). She mentioned my name to Sue and Elizabeth, and a few months later, this position coincidentally opened up. I was the School Administrator at Garth Fagan Dance in Rochester for the summer following graduation, and then accepted this position and moved to Atlanta in September.
What is your favorite part about working here?
I really love the environment. Everyone I work with is awesome, and it’s great to be able to get in the studio every so often. Although a lot of my day is spent behind my desk, I also have the opportunity to take class and observe rehearsal. It’s the perfect way to stay connected to my dancing roots, while also learning about the business and marketing of a non-profit organization. I’m very lucky to have this job, especially right out of school. It combines my love of dance and my interests in writing and communications perfectly. Thanks, Core Dance!!
What is one of your favorite memories of your time here so far?
Human Landscapes was my first experience with a performance of Core Performance Company, and it was so memorable. I loved meeting so many different people at the performance and watching their reactions to the performance. It was a crazy week, but it was more than worth it when it all came together.
To read more about me, check out my bio on our website:
Welcome to "Meet the Core Dance Staff" - Sharon C. Carelock edition! Over the next few months, I am going to introduce our wonderful supporters to our staff and dancers here at Core Dance. Each individual is unique, and I'm excited to hear everyone's stories. Keep an eye out for many more introductions!
Sharon C. Carelock
Hometown: Marietta, GA
Education/Training: AA in Liberal Arts, Oxford College of Emory University; BA in Dance/Theater, Emory University (Emory College); MFA in Dance, Florida State University; dance festivals where I’m on the crew with Greg Catellier (Come on dude! We’ve only done Bates and ADF. When’s the next one?)
Position: Production Coordinator
Delights: my husband, Bryan; baking; putting together a good outfit; reading; listening to music; making shows
How did you come to Core Dance?
I met Sue in 2009. She needed a sound board operator for the production THREE at 7Stages. From there I started taking morning classes at Core Dance and became an Artistic Affiliate with the Company, stepping into roles in some of the works. In 2011, I said to Sue, “Hey I think I want to do what you do at some point in my life. How do you do it all?” She responded by making me her intern. I left the position in 2012 to go to grad school, then came right back to Atlanta when I graduated. Sue helped me choreographically by commissioning my work Un[Caged] for Off the Edge: Edge in Unexpected Spaces. That’s when I met Jennifer Tarrazi-Scully, my predecessor and a formidable woman who was more than willing to talk all things production with me. Before she left, Scully encouraged me to apply for this position, and I got the job.
What is your favorite part about working here?
We meet artists from many different parts of the world and walks of life. Because I am in production, I generally have to work intimately with them to help bring their visions to fruition. Some of the tasks are daunting, but it’s worth it, well satisfying really, when everything comes together, and I had something to do with that.
What is one of your favorite memories of your time here so far?
So many to choose from…
I guess I can talk about my recent trip to Israel. I saw a lot of dance, at least 50 works, so I got a good definition of what is considered Israeli contemporary dance. What was more interesting was being in the cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, walking around, taking in the culture and atmosphere, and eating the food. Those “outside the theater” experiences gave me a bit of an understanding of who the people are and enriched the memories of what I saw onstage.
Israel was great (thanks again to Core Dance for the opportunity). However, I’m really fond of the moments when the staff and company get together for meetings or gatherings. I think we have a cool diverse group of individuals, and I really appreciate what each person brings to the organization.
To read more about Sharon, see her bio on our website: http://www.coredance.org/sharon-carelock.html
Yesterday, I woke with a sore neck and droopy eyelids. (My neighbors have a puppy who just can’t seem to sleep from 2-6am). I was hoping that a class with guest artist Amanda K. Miller would loosen up my muscles and get my body ready for the day, but I didn’t know what to expect from the class entitled “Amanda Science.”
We began in a circle, and Amanda clarified that this was not in fact, a class, but rather an experiment. She instructed us to imagine a hole in the top of our head that allowed air to flow through our bodies. We then imagined holes all over our body, and used the “warm space” from behind our backs to warm up the rest of the space around us. I learned that this space that extended from our back also contains our “Angel Wings,” and we have “Dragonfly Wings” extending from our front space. We explored imagery of spider webs, swimming, lungs on the back of our knees, and more abstract ideas throughout the entirety of the hour and a half experiment. The whole time, we were trying not to be ourselves, and not to choreograph or place our body parts. We allowed our movements to come naturally, and followed the paths that our bodies felt. Although my release felt more mental rather than physical, I definitely left the studio feeling more energized, and ready to take on the day.
While Amanda has taught the morning classes on Thursday and Friday, Polly Motley has continued her ChoreoLab with the Core Performance Company, and today is the last day of her two week workshop. This week, they have continued to work with the ladders and falling and climbing. On Wednesday, they discussed how to prepare others for a fall, and how to determine if a person is deciding to fall. And of course, all of this has to be done safely. Polly praised the dancers for their improvisation and partnering skills, and was very impressed by their risk-taking abilities. After watching the dancers leap off ladders and balance them on their shoulders, she said exactly what I was thinking: “Y’all are brave!”
If you’re curious, come stop by our studios TODAY at 2:30pm for an open rehearsal of Core Performance Company and Polly Motley!
Guest artist, Polly Motley, has been working with the Core Performance Company since this past Wednesday, and I finally had a chance to pop into rehearsal today. From the description of her class, “Singing Body and Voice,” I guessed that there may be some vocal work thrown in with movement, and I was proven right!
“They’re having a ball, and keep surprising themselves!” Kristin, the Rehearsal Director told me, referring to the vocal ranges of the dancers. Polly has been working with the dancers individually to find their highest and lowest note, once even shaking Rose so that her voice vibrated as she hit her highest possible note. Yesterday, the dancers made high pitch noises and let these noises reflect in the joints of their body, allowing their voices to warm up their bodies. (When Kristin said this, I pictured a robot jolting and singing “beep-boop,” but the dancers were much more graceful than that.)
Although I was expecting the singing and speaking exploration, I wasn’t quite prepared for the multiple ladders spread throughout the space. They range from small, medium, to large, or as Phae said today, “That’s a big ass ladder!”
Before the class, the dancers were asked to bring the lyrics of a song they connect to, or a song from their childhood. On Wednesday, Polly had the dancers assign each step of the ladder to a section of that song, and they sang or spoke their song based on the scale they create by going up and down the ladder. This sounds complicated, and I haven’t yet figured out how it works, but I’m excited to see it unfold throughout next week.
Polly also instructs the dancers to avoid the floor once they ascend a ladder, so they have to figure out creative ways to get from one ladder to another. They play with balancing their own body weight on the ladder, and even balancing the ladder on their body parts. And along with balancing, comes falling. Yesterday, Anna fell from high off the fifth rung of the large ladder into the waiting arms of her fellow dancers. Although I’m not afraid of heights, I’m not sure I could have dared that feat.
Next week, Polly will continue working with the dancers, and will offer class to the community on Monday and Wednesday morning, 9-10:30am. Stay tuned for more gravity-defying acts
And of course, please join Core Dance this Sunday for our Fieldwork Showcase at 5pm at the Schwartz Center at Emory University. BUY TICKETS HERE
Last Thursday, Atlanta community members of all ages entered our studios for Lunchtime in the Studio. Students, toddlers, parents, and grandparents laughed, chomped down on chips and burritos, and thoroughly engaged in an excerpt of “Human Landscapes,” performed by Core Performance Company. My favorite part of the afternoon was watching the Dance Artists interact with the youngest audience members. It was obvious that we had some future dancers in our studio! I also loved seeing how the piece transformed when it was cut short, and presented in an intimate setting. In the B Complex, I almost felt that I was watching the dance from a distance, but on Thursday, I was up close and could see the chests of the dancers rising and falling as they exerted themselves.
This audience was diverse, and I loved the way that they expressed how they perceived the dance. In the talk-back, one student from Youth Villages was overcome with emotion when they tried to express how they felt about the performance. When they began speaking, I started to feel emotional! It was obvious that everyone in the moved was extremely moved by the dancers and the overall experience. Yolanda Gallman, from the Youth Villages, wrote to us afterwards, saying “Thank you for dance expression that speaks life… You are the real world changers!” This statement really touched me, because I feel the same way about Core Dance. I have only been here since September, but I already feel the influence that this organization has on the community and on the world.
On Friday, all Core Dance staff and Dance Artists participated in a Work Room. A Work Room includes a class in the morning, followed by an entire day of creative process and evaluation. We revisited all of our recent events, including the summer intensive, American Playground performance in Israel, Civil Twilight in Little Rock, Human Landscapes, and Lunchtime in the Studio. It was my first official Work Day, and I loved the process. It felt so amazing to dance and improvise with all the staff and dancers in one studio, and this bonding experience transferred over to the work day. We accomplished a lot, and I am excited to see how our evaluations transfer over to our events in the future. This day made me even more grateful to be working for this unique organization.
Although I love coming to work, I am definitely excited to head home to upstate New York (despite the snow storms), and spend time with my family. As the holidays approach, and you begin looking for ways to give back to your community or arts organizations, we ask you to please consider donating to Core Dance. You can donate directly here to our annual campaign: http://donate.coredance.org/campaigns/4707-support-core-dance. We are also participating in Giving Tuesday, a global event, on November 28th. For more information, please see their website, www.givingtuesday.org.
Thank you for your support of Core Dance. Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!
In just a few weeks, after we return from Thanksgiving break and begin to don our heavy sweaters and scarves, our Fieldwork participants will perform at the Fieldwork Showcase at Emory University. These artists have been workshopping every Monday evening; performing their works for the other participants and providing feedback and observations. This past Monday, I stopped by to get a glimpse of what an evening at Fieldwork looks like.
Kristin O’Neal, the Rehearsal Director of Core Dance, is choreographing a charming dance solo, and PhaeMonae Brooks, a Dance Artist with Core Performance Company, is creating a movement, poetry, and song piece. Amanda Sieradski is creating a piece with poetry and dance, while the facilitator, Ann Ritter is fine tuning her own poetry.
It's pretty amazing how these artists can combine their talents to create a single work!
I loved watching these artists move and groove around the studio. Kristin's solo had me smiling the whole time, and I was tempted to get up and dance along with her. Amanda's piece made me listen closely to the words of her poem; they were very hard hitting with repetition and rhythm. Phae's poetry took me through a journey, and she would occasionally sing, filling the studio with a beautiful tone. Each of Ann's poems took me to a different time and place, and for a time, I forgot that I was sitting on the marley floor of a dance studio.
Four other artists will also be performing at the Showcase, and I can't wait to see what they create. After you return from Thanksgiving break, stuffed with turkey and preparing for the cold months, come join Core Dance at the Fall Fieldwork Showcase, Sunday December 3rd at 5pm.
Fall Fieldwork Showcase
Sunday, December 3rd
Dance Studio at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts, Emory University
1700 N. Decatur Rd
Atlanta, GA 30322
Buy Tickets Here: http://tickets.arts.emory.edu/single/PSDetail.aspx?psn=111436
As I’m writing this, the rain is pattering down on the sunlights in the office. Ah, Georgia weather. But just a few hours ago, the Core Performance Company took to Decatur Square to soak up the afternoon sun rays. They sat with their eyes closed, and skipped and hopped around the square, fully embracing the day. A few community members stopped to watch, while one young dancer even joined in! Who says you have to know how to walk in order to dance?! It was a wonderful moment of peace and pure joy.
Today is Germana Civera’s final rehearsal day with the company, and it is a bittersweet ending. We are sad to see Germana return to France, but we are excited for the future traveling of Human Landscapes, and are thankful for this magical month with her. I sat in on “Check-Outs,” where everyone speaks about a moment, or something they found memorable in the day. For your reading pleasure, here are what the Core Performance Company members said about their experiences with Germana:
Scott: “It was really special for me to reflect on all of our time together so far and to look at the container of experiences, information, memories, all of the things that I have learned and obtained from this process.”
Phae: “It was memorable to remember that Germana is pretty much the reason why I’m here. And to remember how I had not improved in forever, and then today the weirdness that came out of me, and having that almost same similar weird thing happen the first day with you. And you saying again, again, again.
Stefanie: “Remembering how long that process has been, starting almost a year ago. And just a growth that has happened over this time, but also the growth that has happened in between the blocks. That’s really memorable. So thank you for that. This whole week has been very transforming. We’ve never really had that. Usually when we are done with a work, we part ways.”
Kristin: “I think overall today what was meaningful was seeing every age dance on the square.”
Rose: “I think everything happens for a reason, and I feel like today has been a really special accumulation of everything we have been through. In the CRP, the unknown of where we all go with this, can be really terrifying but the fact that we’re all here together discussing this brings a calming acceptance of that unknown. That feels very valuable for me personally right now because I don’t know what’s going to happen next with my physical body. So I feel grateful for today.”
Rose S: “Today, the sun dance was memorable. And in class just re-finding the strength in softness of moving.”
Josh: “I’m sad. Esta triste. Time has been so different this whole process and then today, on the last day before a break usually you’re kind of slow and anticipating it. But again, just the way we all work together, it was like the day was over, and oh my God that was it! I just love that I’m doing something that I love with people who I appreciate being around because it makes time feel different.”
Patton: “It was meaningful to go through this process with you and everybody. It was meaningful to watch Andrew play with your hair and massage your ears and take care.”
Sue: “I really appreciated the amount of beauty in the day. And I particularly was struck by the simple beauty when people started to move out of this last exercise or practice. It was so striking. I will hold that until we meet again.”
Inka: “Every second of today was meaningful.”
Germana: “Today is a great day. Everything has been very meaningful. Sometimes I start the day and I don’t know. Since yesterday I was tired, and then today has been, wow, with everyone dancing in the morning. The tenderness, the lightness. Thank you.”
Andrew: “Germana said she was old yesterday, but she has these baby hairs! The youthfulness is still there. During CRP, my proximity to Germana, and feeling her breathing change when questions were asked and talking about different subjects. That what was memorable today.”
Anna: “I actually woke up this morning and was remembering the first time we met you. I was remembering the wave with the handshake and the eyes, and just thinking from that day to now, how crazy. And I was thinking about the ora walks today, and this last exercise. It’s just crazy when I finally feel like I was getting a glimpse into the deepest layers. I saw myself from the outside, and had this weird “that’s something” and now it’s ending. But it’s just the beginning. It’s funny that that happens on the final day. My last one was watching Rose K wake up from the ground in the last exercise.”