Last week, Core Dance held an evening salon event and premiered excerpts of if... a memoir. Our dancers presented the work in process while the audience snacked on delicious food from White Bull. After the performance, the audience had a chance to ask questions and reflect on the piece. Ben, our Communications Intern, took a moment to write about their experience at the salon. Read on to learn about what they thought!
Despite the cozy environment of the evening, the call to action was clear - we need to make a major change in our relationship with the Earth.
If… a memoir opened with falling bodies and subtle movement. The choreography later escalated in an improvisational fashion. Flashing overhead, images and video footage by cinematographer Simon Gentry, displayed magnificent scenes from both natural and urban areas in Europe. The dancers moved to a soundtrack by Christian Mever, resulting in a powerful audio and visual experience.
During the Q&A session after the performance, an audience member compared if... a memoir to the acclaimed Philip Glass/Godfrey Reggio film Koyaanisqatsi. Koyaanisqatsi similarly depicts the harm we have caused our planet. Alarmingly, 35 years later artists are still creating work about this destruction. Both Koyaanisqatski and if... a memoir are important works that insight meaningful dialogue.
Although some audience members craved an ending section performed in unison, I found honesty in the chaos of the individual phrases. While a unison sequence may provide a sense of resolution, I do not feel that it would fit the theme, because:
Join us at our next salon event on Thursday, December 6th to see excerpts of another work in process, Architecture of Space. Register here!
This season, Core Dance welcomes our newest Dance Artist, Nikki Morath! Nikki joins us from DC, and we are oh so glad she made the trek to Atlanta. Read on to learn all about her journey to Core Dance!
Hometown: South Carolina!
Education/Training: BFA Point Park University
Position: Dance Artist
Delights: long walks exploring new and familiar places (got to get my fitbit steps), eating a delicious meal, reading any type of mystery book or biography, Love a cheesy inspirational quote, cycling class gets me hype, and being with my friends and family.
How did you come to Core Dance?
I was visiting a friend in Atlanta and researching dance classes to attend and found Core Dance! I attended the audition and enjoyed every aspect of the experience and the people!
What is one thing you are looking forward to at Core Dance?
I am looking forward to extending and strengthening my artistic voice, learning and contributing to Core Dance’s diverse works, and I look forward to supporting and training with the entire Core Dance team!
Are you working on any other projects outside of Core Dance?
I currently teach the competition team at The Studio Atlanta Dance, and am in the process of setting works at Performing Arts Centers in South Carolina and Charleston.
Ben started interning at Core Dance this fall, and I couldn't be more thankful! They are a quick learner, and fit right into the vibe of the office. I'm excited to introduce Ben to our audiences! Read on to learn all about their background, interests, hopes and dreams!
Hometown: Ozark, Alabama
Education/Training: I received a B.A in Political Science and Arabic as well as my Ballet technique, Modern technique, and contemporary dance training at Emory University.
Delights: The feeling of sweat surfacing on my skin during an improvisation class, reading on a Sunday, and really strong coffee
How did you come to Core Dance? I had known about CORE for a while, but it wasn’t until I started taking classes with some of the dancers this summer in 2018 that I really got to know the company a little more personally. I started researching the company’s work and mission, and was fascinated with what I learned. At the time I was reevaluating what I wanted to do with my life after deciding against law school, and I knew I wanted to explore dance on an administrative level as well as continue performing. So, here I am!
What is one thing you are looking forward to at Core Dance? I’m looking forward to doing PR work for a company that I find truly moving. I think being fascinated about the work CORE producing makes writing and creating content for the organization a lot more fun.
Are you working on any other projects outside of Core Dance? I just finished rehearsing and performing The Excursion: realized by Noelle Kayser for Kit Modus. I’m also currently rehearsing excerpts of a reworked piece called Name Day with Staibdance this Fall, as well as creating and performing a piece tackling gender, race, sexuality entitled i call him. [her] with Okwae Miller
To read more about Ben, check out their bio here!
This season, our Core Dance Artists will be spending their first week of October in Conway, Arkansas.
Hearding Cats Collective has created the music to support choreography that encourages a discussion around water, and human life’s connection to the earth. The audience will have the opportunity to get in the water to experience the vibrations of the music.
For the first time in Core Dance history, the performance will take place in a pool! To prepare for the performance, our dancers have been rehearsing at local pools in Atlanta as well as working in the studio. They’ve been exploring the different states of water with their movements, using their bodies to imitate the way an iceberg melts, or how water freezes or evaporates.
The dancers are focusing on keeping their movement 3 dimensional, like a glacier. This focus is especially important when they are “dripping” or “cracking” like ice. In the piece, they work together to build a shape, which slowly breaks apart as each individual pulls away. They also consider tone, angles, and high and low points to give their movement more depth.
Wondering what exactly this looks like? Stop by the University of Central Arkansas, or follow our social media pages for videos and updates! You can view the Aqurld playbill here.
Thursday, October 4th and Saturday, October 6th
7:00, 7:45, and 8:30pm
UCA HPER Center, Corner of Farris St. and Students' Lane, Little Rock, Arkansas
Free and open to the public
Reserve your spot HERE
More info here
This Fall, we're welcoming Jacque to our Communications team as an intern! Jacque joins us from Florida via our super Rehearsal Director, Kristin O'Neal. Read on to learn a bit about her!
Hometown: Windermere, FL
Education/Training: University of Florida, BFA Dance and BSBA Marketing
Position: Communications Intern
Delights: Dancing, choreographing, reading, cooking, and playing with my bearded dragon, Remi
How did you come to Core Dance? I met Kristin O'Neal (who is also a fellow Gator) at Bates Dance Festival this summer and she introduced me to Core Dance and the Atlanta dance scene
What is one thing you are looking forward to at Core Dance? To be immersed in a beautiful dance community and learning the ins and outs of a successful dance company. It’s exciting to get to pursue both of my passions through this internship!
Are you working on any other projects outside of Core Dance?
I’m working on building my name as an emerging choreographer, you can follow my dance journey on Instagram @jaxdance
Back in August, Core Dance Executive Director, Elizabeth Labbe-Webb, dance community member Sally O’Grady, and Core Dance Community Programs Facilitator, Stefanie Boettle, lead “Dance and Movement for Healing” workshops at the Symposium “The Power to Connect,” presented by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. Read on to see what Stefanie and Elizabeth had to say about the workshops!
The workshops were very well received! After just the first workshop, word spread about how much fun our sessions were. Workshop participants who were signed up for other sessions left their assigned sessions to come to ours. We heard participants call across the hallways and up the staircases how much fun “the Dance workshop” was. At one point we considered moving the sessions out to the beautiful deck area at the Marriott to have more room.
In workshop one, there were two participants who initially did not want to participate. As the class went on, they both opened up more and more. One of the participants, who uses a wheelchair, was inspired by the way Elizabeth used her wheelchair to dance her version of “tapping the foot in the water”. As he swirled around in circles with his wheelchair, the smile on his face grew and the movements with his arms grew bigger and bigger. The other participant even performed a solo dance in the circle with such confidence and joy that everyone in the room clapped and cheered her on. At the end of the session they both left with so much life in their eyes. With huge smiles, they said goodbye to Elizabeth and I with a big, sweaty hug.
This sense of community and happy confidence building continued the next day. One workshop session had several participants who really wanted to stay against the wall, away from the other dancers. Elizabeth and Sally honored this need for safe space, but invited them to move as they felt comfortable. By the end of the class they were bouncing in their chairs, still against the wall, but having a great time with the group they were in. By the end of the final session, several participants had taken the class 4 times and one dancer, who lives with cerebral palsy, was planning to find a dance class in her community so she could continue to explore new ways to move her body.
Want to learn more about Core Dance’s community engagement? Check out Dynamic XChange and Lunchtime in the Studio!
On July 13, Stefanie Boettle, our Community Program Facilitator, joined PAIR Houston for a first time Dynamic X-Change workshop.
PAIR, Partnership for the Advancement & Immersion of Refugees, empowers refugee youth to navigate American society, reach their academic potential, and become community leaders. Their programs serve hundreds of students annually, and PAIR serves youth in multiple neighborhoods, schools and community sites in Houston.
We chatted with Stefanie to hear more about her experience with PAIR.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about the students at PAIR?
A: We worked with over 41 kids! They ranged from 8-15 yrs old, and were refugees or immigrants of: Afghanistan,
Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Malawi, Myanmar, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Tanzania, Uganda
Q: What was the goal of the workshop?
A: PAIR Houston's overall theme was "Entertainment" - everything about having fun and enjoying yourself. Three Dynamic X-Change Teaching artists worked with the students to explore the question, "What brings us joy in life?"
Q: How did you interpret that theme?
A: We took the workshop into celebrating our own gifts and talents and finding joy within. We talked about our own gifts, and we found creative ways to "write" our gifts out with different body parts, movements and sounds. From this we created a choreography in smaller groups, and then shared our creations. Each group had to work together as a team, making decisions together, sharing leadership, finding solutions together.
Q: What was a memorable moment?
A: The workshops ended with, what quickly became their favorite game, "Passing the Gift". It's an invisible gift that can become anything that you want, such as a ball of fire that's making you jump and run fast, to earphones that make you dance, etc.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: We had a wonderful time! All students participated with so much creativity and joy. We even got the PAIR counselors to join in!
This week, meet Scott Wheet, one of our Core Dance Artists. Scott began dancing at the age of 17, and then went on to pursue a degree in dance. Two years after graduation, Scott came to join us as a Core Dance Artist in January of 2017. Read on to learn more about Scott!
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Education/Training: Troy University, BFA in Dance; 3 years of industry experience as a performer, teacher, and creator
Position: Dance Artist
Delights: Espresso in the morning, listening to music loudly, trips to the beach, and organizing literally anything.
How did you come to Core Dance?
I had been living in Atlanta for about a year when I found out about Core. They were promoting a dance festival experience called Exposed which featured international guests from Israel. Shortly after, auditions were held and I was asked to come back. Here I am, about to start my 3rd season, and I couldn’t be more grateful for this journey & these people!
What is your favorite part about working here so far?
Learning how to become a source of knowledge that is shared through touring globally, working with diverse communities, and seeking to understand how people experience art.
What is one thing you are looking forward to?
I am so incredibly excited to continue our process with Germana Civera in France this August! The work is more relevant by the day in this climate and will only evolve as we share and invite dialogue into the community.
What are you up to this summer?
This summer I am actually taking a short break from dancing to accept a job offer back home in Chicago. I’ll be working for my brother as a contractor, painting and remodeling condos in the city. Then in late July, I’ll be heading down to Vero Beach, FL with a few company members of Core to teach a summer workshop. The intensive will culminate with sharing a performance from our repertory!
This week, we check in with Sharon C. Carelock, our Production Coordinator. Read on to see what Sharon's up to this summer, from her own dance projects to updates around the Core Dance studios!
Summer Project 1: Dance Film
For a year, I have been working for a pick-up dance company called sunday morning at 7, headed and directed by Anicka Austin. In May, we presented a live performance of Austin’s disco ballet, "Sanctuaries and Fortresses." A part of the process was the creation of a dance film directed by Lev Omelchenko called, "The Birth of Pleasure." In this film I played the character, Venus, which required lots of costume changes and makeup :) We were able to film on location in some amazing spots, including The Bakery Atlanta and the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. The cast and crew were stellar. I felt like a Hollywood movie star the entire time. I can’t wait to see the film which is set to premiere late summer/early fall.
Summer Project 2: Summer Refresh
At Core Dance, the summer is for relaxation and recuperation for the dance artists, and it is also a great opportunity to renovate, repair, and clean out some areas in the office and studio spaces. We call this the Summer Refresh. I get to work alongside contractors and help make decisions about flooring, paint, lighting, etc. It feels very rewarding to walk into a room and know that I was an integral part of the change that took place there. I also use this opportunity for reflection. I think about what has transpired over the past season, and going through all of the closets makes me consider the time Core Dance has spent in this space and the impact we’ve made on the community.
Anna has been with us at Core Dance for quite some time as a Dance Artist, but she is now adding to her plate! We are excited to welcome Anna to a brand new position at Core Dance - National and International Liaison. Read all about Anna's journey and exciting future plans!
Education/Training: Decatur School of Ballet, DeKalb School of the Arts, University of Georgia
Position: Dance Artist and National and International Liaison
How did you come to Core Dance? I found out about Core Dance through a friend in college and auditioned before I even knew its magic. I joined the company in 2012 as an Artistic Affiliate and after a few months became a full company member. I think in hindsight, I was looking for something more, something more than a typical company model, and Core Dance absolutely offered me that.
Can you tell me a little bit about your new position?
The new position is being called Core Dance’s “National and International Liaison”. Over the year, I will travel to national and international contemporary festivals to seek new ideas being presented in contemporary dance/art around the world, develop new connections and build relationship with like-minded artists with similar aesthetics and values to Core Dance.
What are your plans for this summer?
This Summer, I have kept busy on the dance front! I had the pleasure of teaching contemporary/modern to the Junior and Apprentice Ensembles at Decatur School of Ballet for their annual summer intensive, participated in and led movement workshops for the Staibdance summer intensive and now have found my home in Berlin for the next month! I am participating in B12, a new festival for contemporary dance and performance art in Berlin as my first assignment as Core Dance's new National and International Liaison! I am here building meaningful relationships with movers and shakers from around the world while workshopping and diving deep into personal movement research!
What is one thing you are looking forward to?
I am thrilled and enormously grateful to be kicking off this position with a month long trip to Germany to participate in B12. I will be workshopping with 7 different artists from around the world; engaging in personal movement research. My favorite part about this experience is that it will not culminate in any kind of performance but is simply a platform for personal investigation. Process. That is what Core Dance is all about so I am beyond excited to expand what a creative process can be for me. I am looking forward to meeting and moving with other artists, building meaningful and lasting relationships and seeing what the Berlin arts community has to offer! Even better, I can’t wait to bring back everything I have learned to share and deepen with Core Dance!