Thursday, October 8, 2009

We've moved! Follow us!

Friends! Readers! Bloggers!
We've moved on!

It's been swell here, but we're switching over to wordpress so that we can be bigger better sexier, and most importantly: so that we can keep evolving, bringing you the information and investigations you love. This site will stay up as an archive as past work, and you're welcome to dig around, but as of right now, this site is HISTORY!

We're evolving, and we'd like you to come too!

So make the jump with us, and check us out at >>>>>

(Don't forget to add our NEW address to your bookmarks, RSSs, and blogrolls, etc)
Lovealways, Sarah A.O. and the Urgent Artist crew.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Falling in love = Creativity?

Check out this article i found on Scientific American.

It's basic premise is that the mindset of being in love actually induces and builds creativity. The part that i find most interesting is their postulation that a larger worldview, or more perspective/time (ie: the long term idea of "love") inspires creative thinking while more goal-oriented or self-serving thinking (ie: sex) inspires analytical thinking. I have a few issues with the article but it's interesting, and definitely worth a read.

For me, it brings up a series of questions:

- Do we (as makers) believe that long term/global thinking >>> creativity?
- Is creativity, and thus creating, an inherently global action?
- In our art making, what is the balance/blend/timeline of "creative" versus "analytical" thinking?

and more specifically to the article:
- Do we buy into the idea that the way we think about love is more akin to the way we're thinking about our creative work than, say, anger, or sex?
- If that's the case, what does this say about our personal relationships as artists, both to our work (are we in love with being in love?) and/or to the human relationships or lack thereof in our lives.

Don't get squeamish on me here - i think it's interesting, and not just because i'm love-obsessed.
What's the pathology of creating? When we make work, are the same neurons firing as when we make love? And if so - what. does. it. mean?

I'm thinking this might be a good one for CHURCH?
Let me know yay or nay and we'll organize for next weekend!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Rehearsal Videos...

We're Moving!

Hey all, i know there's been a general lack of posting recently, but fear not! We're about to hit hard and in a big way.

Over the last month or so, I've been working with Emily, our resident web genius to design, build, and refine the NEW Urgent Artist blog. That's right! We're Moving!

Blogger's been great to us, but we thought that it was time to move on over to wordpress, and start crafting a site that's a little more organized and user friendly, a little cleaner and sexier, and a packs a whole lot more usability an resources. If you want, you can read more about some of the new features that we'll be including in this previous post.

We'll keep you informed about the move as we set a date and get things finalized, but for now, we'll be posting in a limited capacity (mostly just rehearsal videos) so that we can be ready to switch as soon as possible!

Thanks for understanding, and we'll see you back at full force in the very near future...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

In the meantime...

So i've been trying for a good four days now to write something concise about the piece i mentioned below. Having a really hard time with it becuase i want to convey how glad i am for this new discussion, while at the same time pointing out a few massive flaws in it. Also, i'm in Wyoming. Today i saw a grizzly bear. And a sulfurous spring with the same acidity as battery acid. It was cool.

In the meantime, here's this:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Is this progress?

Have you seen this yet? (A big thank you to miss Atwell for bringing it to my attention!)

It's the first letter from the new "collective arts think tank" (or
CATT) - a group of funders and presenters (Jennifer Wright Cook of The Field, Vallejo Gantner of Performance Space 122, Aaron Landsman of Thinaar and Elevator Repair Service, Sheila Lewandowski of The Chocolate Factory, Carla Peterson of Dance Theater Workshop, Brian Rogers of The Chocolate Factory, and Morgan von Prelle Pecelli of The Lost Notebook and Performance Space 122) who are convening to discuss the state of the field and offer suggestions for advancement and progress.

I think it offers some really interesting suggestions, though i find some of it slightly problematic. Take a read and let it mull over a bit in your head. I’m on a tight schedule of budgets and video editing this morning, but i’ll post my reactions after i’ve gotten through that mess. There’s already a strong dialogue forming around it, so feel free to leave your impressions here and/or on their blog (just remember to post a link here if you do!)

More to come.

(Happy September!)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Goddamn, i say goddamn!

So if you haven't checked it out already, you really need to be watching the TED talks. They're interesting, exciting, and always informational, and they kind of make you have hope for humanity and the future again - perhaps the opposite of watching George Bush on the tv for so long, if you will.

And now, masters as always of the digital age, they've cataloged all the talks into an excel spreadsheet and put it on google documents for us all to use. How simple and genius is that? What's that you say? Using a program that people already use to do something that's actually incredibly helpful? As one set of humans to a large group of humans? Is that even allowed?

The answer seems to be yes.

Here's my favorite from the past few months, but definitely take a look at the spreadsheet itself and browse around a little. Tell us what you're favorite ones are by posting the links in the comments section!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A gentle morning wake up call

So usually i like videos where things are exploding or expressing some sort of angst, but this was a lovely way to wake up this morning. I really like towards the end when the smoke starts looking more organ-like. Watch! And have a beautiful day!

let yourself feel. from Esteban Diácono on Vimeo.

Monday, August 24, 2009


tear up pieces of paper. tear off your sheets. pull your hair. imagine getting hit by subway cars. imagine getting hit by subway cars. imagine getting hit by subway cars.

right. now.
imagine getting hit
by a subway car.

would the impact be enough to wake you up?
imagine. you will wake from drowning.

Are you new here? Welcome!

One of the weirdest things about writing a blog is not knowing who is reading it.

Especially in this situation where it started as a personal project, then was found and listed by a few other dance and dance-tech blogs, and is now undergoing a shift into a more conscious publicity, it's always a question for me who my readers are. I know some of you (from the comments, or because you've mentioned you read when i see you face to face) but that's only about ten or twenty of you, and we're up to the hundreds now, which is really really cool.

Point being, i'm starting to publicize the more important posts via twitter, fbook, vimeo, etc, so if you're new, and have just found your way here, WELCOME! Google analytics tells me that (due to last week's publicity efforts) i'm up 40% in readers and 20% in time on the site! Thanks for taking a second to check it out, and i hope you explore and comment and interact to your heart's content.

I'm always reachable at, or through the comenting on posts.

the AOMC's ///NEW!/// Mission Statement

I'm super excited to share this with all of you - it's been through one round of focus groups (ie: a few close friends and family) and now i'm ready to bring it to step two: the Urgent Artist community - the AOMC's supporters and insiders. So here it is: our new mission statement for 2009/2010. As one of my round-one's pointed out, it's a bit more manifesto than mission statement, but I'm very okay with that.

I would love whatever feedback you have - both in terms of how it feels to you as a mission statement/manifesto (ie: does it give you a clear feeling for the company? does it excite you? does it sound like other things you've read? if so, what? etc) and how it feels to you as a human/thinker/fellow artist (ie: do you agree? is it an affront to what you believe art to be? how do you see it fitting in with the current paradigm? etc). We'll have a few weeks before i'll start posting the "final" (ha.) version of it on the website and press kit, so comments are VERY helpful!

Onwards. Unveil!

Founded in 2006, The A.O. Movement Collective is a home for hard falls, heavy slow dances, and constant evolution - a community of dancers, collaborators, thinkers, and makers who live by their art. The AOMC encompasses my choreographic work and, when joined with blog/community hub Urgent Artist and arts freelancing collective A.O. PRO(+ductions), it is the movement third of a three-entity family that represents a new business model for American dancemaking.

As a dance and new media artist, my main goal is to create evocative reinventions of the human experience – works that investigate the intricacy, wreckage, compassion, and mess inherent in the ways we live our lives. Dances that push you to the edge of your seat, tempt you to tackle someone as you leave the theater, or make you think “well I haven’t thought about him in a long time.” My work is based on an ongoing investigation/love affair with the aesthetics of mess - visual, human, emotional, and all else. The dances that I make are epic, human, and wonderfully too much.

Rather than resigning to the clarity that I believe is now being asked of us as choreographers (so that the dance may be seen, enjoyed, and understood entirely in one viewing), I am investigating work that can retain all of its complexity, vastness, and innate lovely disarray and still offer a rich human accessibility to each viewer. I am interested in making dances that don’t know how to be seen yet, and then creating the programs and modes of thought necessary to support such work.

In short, I am an Anti-Ephemeral PoMo Humanist. As a maker of both live performance and dancefilm, I disregard the notion that dance must be ephemeral. Dance is some approximate concoction of the body doing love or violence to the space around it, muscles and limbs creating meaning or abstraction, and dream-state wanderlust – how dare we assume it to be limited to (or worse, try to confine it to) the live theater experience! It must out-exist us, it must be preserved in a truthful way, or we doom ourselves to eternal obscurity, and thus eternal financial struggle, and thus eternal focus away from all the work that must be done if we are to truly evolve the form. This is a new era of dancemaking – everything, from the creative process to the industry, must be reconsidered.

Therefore, in addition to its creative work, the AOMC is an experiment in the business of dance making. As an arts businessman, I am dedicated to a constant cultivation of the AOMC’s structure as a company model that holistically supports the creative work and lives of all those involved – dancers, creators, audience, and community. The AOMC will not be satisfied pursuing a creative ‘habit’—we are serious and practical about the time commitment necessary for substantial discovery, innovation, and change. Likewise, we understand that striving for change within the arts without considering the broader socio-economic structures in which the community exists is futile. We therefore disregard the notion that art and business must be separate, and are working towards modes of creation that internally support longevity via self-sufficiency.

The A.O. Movement Collective and its members are a family, a think-tank, dancemakers, community leaders, ever-evolving mind-bodies, technology developers, and catalysts: movers and shakers in every sense. We strive to answer questions and question answers by grappling with them kinetically and ideologically, in and on the blogosphere, mind, studio, and stage.

It is an exciting future towards which we extend our toes. Won’t you join us?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Start off your morning with the Big Bang

So i think this is pretty cool.
For those of you that i haven't told already, i'm leaning towards the next piece being about time travel (albeit, the way that sex and relationships and the human body navigates time travel) but about time travel nonetheless. And where does that start? A basic understanding of the universe.

I've purchased "the Elegant Universe" for some light summer reading over my break, but thought that i might as well share this with you too, and start bringing you on board to the project, even though it's...ahem...light years away. Get it? I'm so clever.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Do you fear physical numbness? When you see a movie or read a book, are you able to experience it objectively, or do you immediately align yourself with the characters? Are you more hesitant to admit love or weakness to a potential partner? When you curl up in your covers, are you sleeping alone? Consider these questions as you wake from drowning.

From Lillie via email:

"Sarah, i might be drowning: my ears feel clogged and my head feels like a brick.
It's hard to keep my eyes fully opened and my lips are dry no matter how much water i drink."

I was very confused for a minute - i thought she was telling me she was too sick to go see a show tonight that we have tickets too. Then i realized.

But while we're at it, you should probably go see this show too. It's Cory Antiel's show for the fringe fest, and he's kind of a big deal. Seriously though, Cory is amazing to work with and a great performer, and very much a heart-center of the AOMC. I'd bet good money this show (his first NYC solo show!!!) is going to be awesome. More info here.

Are you following us?

Obviously yes, because you are reading this.
Here we go anyway:

"toss off the night covers" w/ Jon

Unveil! the new A.O. Model

My friends, we've reached the NOWtime.
As i mentioned in my last post, it's the time of unveiling. We've got SO MUCH about to happen, coming from both the AOMC and A.O. PRO(+ductions), as well as right here at UA. And i mean SO MUCH as in "major revolution of structure mind body and spirit", not just "a list with more than three things on it", although; the list does have more than five things on it. But before we can get to the list, let's get to the structures behind the list. It'l make more sense that way. Bear with me, we'll get to the end and then you can yell out some questions.

the AOMC was founded in 2006 as a summer intensive for pre-professional dancers and choreographers to extend their art-making and gain experience in the business side of the profession. As we grew the company and program, over the summers of my years at Sarah Lawrence, i was able to figure out more and more about what the company was really for, what type of work i wanted to be making, etc. My senior year at SLC I realized that the media and theory components of what i was doing might be better housed in separate (yet related) entities, so i "founded" (read: said "this is now a thing!") two more companies: Urgent Artist (the blog aspect of the theory work) and A.O.PRO(+ductions) which was to be a home for the media and newmedia work of the AOMC. But, maybe you already know all this. That was the THENtime.

In the year that we've been here working and making work, many things have answered and revealed themselves (many of those things being new questions to be answered) and many have redefined or changed themselves, making problematic what i once thought to be obvious. As I tried to learn as much as i could as an artist and an arts administrator, I also attempted to strike a balance for the AOMC, PRO, and UA - define and proliferate as much as possible, to start existing, and making, and being known, but also understand that i'm learning so much, that things will need to change and be re-solidified within a year or so. It's tricky - know that you don't know enough, and the only way to know is to do, so do to re-do.

And now we're at a year. At the NOWtime.
And with that brief history, I now give you the new way we exist, the new yes, the new A.O. Entity:

Here's how it works. There's the A.O. Movement Collective, which is home to my/our creative, artistic, and widely defined as "movement based" work. Most everything about the AOMC is staying the same in terms of function and structure - we still make dances, for screen and stage, we still post video on UA, we still are interested in generally the same things that we're interested in now, aesthetically and viscerally and structurally. Of course we're re-defining and honing language and branding and focus, but it's still us. I'll post our new and improved mission statement after this is done so you can see specifics (and sure, we'd always love feedback), but our old tagline "intricacy, wreckage, compassion, and mess" gives way to "Anti-Ephemeral PoMo Humanism - ie: hot mess". So really, the AOMC stays the AOMC.

A.O. PRO gets the big re-haul.
A.O. PRO(+ductions) is now the second company in the A.O. Entity - a freelancing collective that provides low cost and barter option freelancing services in arts administration (design, media work, management, consulting, etc) for emerging and generally "starving" artists (ie: all of them). So far I'm the one working most of the jobs, in collaboration on the web work with the genius and always lovely Emily Sharp, although the response has been so strong already (both in terms of the work coming in, and the people interested in providing services) that we'll be expanding very rapidly in the very near future. Here's how it works:

I know how to do a multitude of arts admin jobs, because i've been doing it for four years now for the AOMC, and because it's what i love to do. A large number of my friends and dancers also have these skills, because it's what they love to do. Everyone needs these skills, everyone can't really afford these skills for the most part, or is afraid about investing in them while still being an "emerging artist" because of the high cost, when really that's exactly what you need need need to do to get somewhere (see above comment about learning by doing and then doing to re-do). So the point of A.O. PRO is that we bring these skills to you (the emerging artist) not only to bring you a product, but to also educate you into a business-savvy artist as you make your way in life.

Let's say you need some basics - we'll use my friend A who i'm doing work for now as an example - she had a show but couldn't really afford to have someone film it, even though that's a vastly necessary and basic need for a working artist. So she called me and asked if I would be willing to do it on the cheap, and maybe throw some bartering in as well. She does neuro-muscular body work, so we ended up agreeing on $100 and two sessions of personal training (valued at $100 each) rather than the would-be $300 cost. But here's where it gets great, here's where this idea of a new company model comes in - I then take that $100, and that goes to pay me as the videographer. But then i take the two hours of body work, and that goes to the AOMC. Any of my dancers (or myself) can then take that hour of body work and use it on their own terms to supplement their pay. This transaction (and, when we expand to the bigger view and take into account that PRO works with about ten clients at a time) allows a number of things:

  1. A gets the services she needs
  2. A and I (as A.O. PRO) are now networked as business partners - hopefully she will send business my way, and I will give her exposure and connections
  3. My dancers, who lordbabyjesus knows will never be paid enough for their hard work, know have access to goods and services that are actually valuable to them (such as bodywork, classes, home-cooked meals, etc)to supplement (but not replace) their pay
  4. I have services available to the AOMC from clients who can't provide services (such as researching grant opps, volunteering for us, etc)
  5. A and my dancer who has taken the hour of body work are now networked, and may continue to work with each other after the "free" hour has been used
  6. the AOMC and PRO functioning together ensure that the AOMC becomes more self-sustainable, and is therefore more able to focus on making and presenting work
  7. all artists involved have taken a step against the supposition that it's all right for anyone to work for free, or to not be compensated for their work.

Thus, PRO becomes both a business in it's own right, and a more fleshed-out part of the A.O. family. Right now I'm branding it as being for "artists who want to focus on their art". I've just finished the design phase of the website, and now it's in Emily's hands - we'll let you know when we're going to do the big release - I'm so excited for it! But there's still something missing, yes? How does this little guy fit in?

Urgent Artist is the third part of the entity, and the one that (in my mind) really makes this a viable business model, and not just a dance company with a day-job associated with it. Though UA has been a blog, both for the AOMC and for other artists to write on, for the past year and a half or so, it hasn't really fulfilled it's vision as a community hub. My plans for UA involve a little re-definition and re-design on our part, though perhaps more subtle than the PRO shift. UA is going to become the community-hub of both the AOMC and PRO. While it will still function as the AOMC's official blog, i'd really like to expand it to include other writers, more topics, and more community action. When it started, it was more of a place just for me to unload my meta, but i think that there's value in to redefining that impulse a little - making it a place where people (dance community and non-dancers alike) can come for insight into the dancemaking process and dance community, as well as resources, dialogue, and interaction. Urgent Artist will be a home for:

the meta/in process end of the AOMC:

  1. the AOMC's video work and footage from rehearsals
  2. meta from the AOMC about the piece(s) we're working on
  3. updates from the AOMC about shows and events (both ours and that of others)

resources for the arts community:

  1. the AOMC's grant and performance applications with comments on what we think worked well and what didn't, our sample budgets, contracts, and language, etc
  2. articles about the business of dancemaking that we find interesting and helpful
  3. "inspiration" - posts of about images, video, articles, etc. that we find interesting


  1. Reviews and discussions of shows, films, events we've seen (all open for commenting and further discussion, of course)
  2. Broader meta-arts questions open for the community to discuss


  1. live discussion groups and meet-ups (such as our CHURCH arts-discussion group, that’s been on summer hiatus but is returning soon!)
  2. coordination of show attendances, so we can all go see things together
  3. (and this one is farther down the line, but hopefully eventually possible) seminars and workshops on everything from making a good press kit to alignment to arts activism.

as you can see, it’s quite an expansion, an part of that expansion depends on both growing the readership and the pool of contributors. So we’ll see how that goes – we have to start somewhere. One of the first steps of the expansion will actually be transferring over from blogger to wordpress (sorry blogger, you’ve been great, but Emily deems it to be so…) and getting some solid new design up in here. Another will be adding to our team of writers, and getting in the habit of posting posting posting. That being said, you’re the readers, so let us know what YOU want. It’s on my to-do list to create an online-survey to send your way about what you’d like to see more or less of, or suggestions about where to expand to next. In the meantime though, if you have suggestions or ideas, send them my way!

So that’s that, kiddies! The NOWtime!

The AOMC makes dances and explores, PRO offers freelancing and supports the AOMC, and the UA serves as a communicator through which the AOMC and PRO can interact and give back to the greater community as a whole. There are certainly flaws in the plan, and those will reveal themselves as we go, but it feels like the right thing to be doing right now: enough complaining about “sustainable dancemaking within our lifetimes” and time to start doing.

So that’s our new company model, our experiment, our family. Questions, ideas, protests, and dialogue always always welcome.

Monday, August 17, 2009

From a good friend:

"Maybe you should pour some cold water on your neck and take a good long look in the mirror and say "I AM SPECIAL AND PEOPLE LOVE ME." Maybe you will wake from drowning."

Monday, August 10, 2009

Oh we are unveiling, Oh we are blooming!

My first year in New York has officially happened.
I say "happened" rather than "drawn to a close" or "come to an end" because it certainly hasn't - the momentum of the events of this year are pushing us all - me, the AOMC, my dancers, Urgent Artist, and A.O. PRO all included - vastly and swiftly into the new year and next season - think of an avalanche, mixed with the legs of a running baby horse, but with the impact of a car crash. Yeah, that's us.

Anyway. This time a year ago I was moving into my first apartment and interviewing for the Van Lier fellowship - crossing my fingers, biding my time, and having no real perception of what this year would hold other than a long list of what ifs, fantasies, disaster scenarios, and potential enerdgy. That was the then time. Now, a new apartment, new job, and year of rehearsing and performing later, we're here: the now time.

While we're certianly still building and rehearsing, i wanted to take a break from inundating you with ways to drown to reflect on what we've done in this past year, as well as tell you a little bit about some big changes and shifts for the AOMC and Urgent Artist, and lay out a little map of what you can expect in the coming year. I also want to pose some questions - what ifs and potentials about what this blog might become, and hope that you, gentel reader, will respond in the comments. This blog, after all, is about YOU, and I'd like to do what i can as the main writer to make you more comforable and excited here, and just as generally obsessed with us as is humanly possible.

I'll be breaking it into a few posts (don't worry, epic-curians, they'll all be long even broken up). Here's what's upcoming in the next few weeks:

1.) What this year looked like for the AOMC, and what it means for next year
2.) The AOMC unveils its new expiramental three-part company structure
3.) All we've got planned for you for 2009/2010
4.) Urgent Artist's role in all of this


From Lillie via the beach:

  1. puff air into your mouth and let the bubble pull you to the surface
  2. Meditate - go deeper until

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"Listen. There's no way to wake from drowning. You either are or you aren't. Or you go to bed drowning, certain you'll be drowning for the rest of your life, and then you wake up to the sounds of the radio that you left on blaring auto-tune and country at three in the morning, the clothes from yesterday scattered on the floor. And as you go to pick them up, thinking 'what exactly about this moment, this very moment, woke me up?' -bamn, you're dry as a desert. And it takes you a while to realize what's happened, and you even have to think back to know, to really know, how long it's been going on like this. Because you see, it feels like it's always been there, same as the drowning. Either that, or you start fine, and you feel the wave coming over you, this thick long shadow, waiting to toss you like a rag doll. And that shadow, baby - listen baby - that shadow, the weight of the wait as it hangs over you, that ain't nothing to the heaviness you feel when the gravity crashes down."

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Way number three: store water in your eardrums and feel the tidal inclinations of your audio-lunar intuition. You will wake from drowning.

The Number Way to Wake from Drowning

Breath in quickly in order to avoid attention. Close both eyes and concentrate until you sincerely have no questions. This may cause fatigue and light swaying. Dig in deeply through the back side of your stomach and jump. You will wake from drowning.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hey all! First post by text! Way number 52 - 'develop systems to deal with systems. Within the matrix of systems, locate where the dust is trickling in from the single hairline crack in the celing. You will wake from drowning.'

And the New Epic is called......

Some pieces (like 2007’s “Haunt”) start with titles. Others weed out the title as they go, eventually letting you know what they want to be called. Others never settle, and get named something that feels eternally not quite right, ever almost there. I know it’s not a big deal, but titles are important to me. They’re branding, they’re expressive, and they’re informational. And (although I’ve been told by many that I need to care less about the audience “getting it”) they’re a chance to communicate something essential about the piece in the language of words.

Which is why I’m so pleased that a title (of sorts) has started to draft up from the depths of our (approaching year-long) work on the AOMC’s new epic. It’s not final, certainly, and I worry that blogging about it might out it too early (when I first told Cristina and Lillie the tentative new title, I whispered it in their ears) and make it less fitting. But it’s time to share it with you. Drum roll please?

“90 ways to wake from drowning”

What do you think? Do you like it? Hate it? Before I tell you anything, how does it relate to what you’ve seen so far of the piece?

There are many variations (“90 vs. Ninety”, why 90? What about 27?, Wake or wake, Drowning or drowning, Wake/drowning? Drowning/wake?, and also a possible tag at the end of it – “(he knows she is making this piece)”) but however it evolves, title or not, the implication and the idea is there, and it’s really begun to loft the piece for me in an extremely helpful way.

What does it mean: to wake from drowning? It’s a curious phrase, yet one that appeared out of the blue on my tongue feeling normal and old, as if I had been saying it for a while now which, I haven’t. I think it does a great job of encompassing the entirety of all the different aspects of the piece – something I haven’t been able to do yet. To me it speaks to waking from the drowning sensations of dreams of past or future lovers and the different ways to do so – snap out of it heart racing and eyes wide, try to hold on to it as you slip back into reality, push yourself out of it fighting and kicking, go through the day unable to shake it off, part with it mutually, etc. It also speaks to the cyclical/purgatorial nature of the piece – Her arc of a constantly repeating struggle to pass beyond her current fixation/experience/location, and how she seems (at many parts) to be at the surface of “waking” but keeps being pulled back by His undercutting. It speaks to water – the universal symbol or image of sexuality (and memories of an English teacher writing “WATER = SEX, ALWAYS.” on the black board.) It speaks to the idea of multiple levels of consciousness and reality – some more based in reality yet less “real” than others – and His and Her traversal of these boundaries using unconsciousness as a means of transportation and osmosis. There’s something too about the closeness of physical danger to survival – when I say “wake from drowning” am I referencing the self destructiveness of the piece? The car crashes and falls and falls and falls? Maybe it’s the feeling that they’re the only thing that can get Her through the surface. It’s quite sadomasochistic, really: thud enough, and you’ll wake from drowning. Maybe.


It’s all Tom Robbin’s fault, really.

Even before she passed it along to me, my roommate had to keep reading me passages of “Still Life with Woodpecker” out loud. It’s one of those books. I read it as soon as she finished and loved it. The book has many, many things to love about it, but one of the things that I fell in love with was the reoccurring theme in the book of “how to make love stay”, not so much in content, as for its structure glorious structure.

Tom writes:

“Who knows how to make love stay?

Tell love you are going to the Junior's Deli on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn to pick up a cheesecake, and if love stays, it can have half. It will stay.

Tell love you want a momento of it and obtain a lock of its hair. Burn the hair in a dime-store incense burner with yin/yang symbols on three sides. Face southwest. Talk fast over the burning hair in a convincingly exotic language. Remove the ashes of the burnt hair and use them to paint a mustache on your face. Find love. Tell it you are someone new. It will stay.

Wake love up in the middle of the night. Tell it the world is on fire. Dash to the bedroom window and pee out of it. Casually return to bed and assure love that everything is going to be all right. Fall asleep. Love will be there in the morning.”

And that was it.
And I put down the book for a second.

And I smiled and/or frowned

(whatever I do when I’m thinking – you know better than me).

And I said: “Oh. 90 ways to wake from drowning.”

So that’s what we’ve been doing in rehearsal, and that’s what I’ve been doing every night and sometimes on the train. Writing a list of ways to wake from drowning. To say I’m pleased with what’s coming out of that structure is an understatement. It’s perfect. I’m not sure how it incorporates (movement-wise) with the piece yet – the idea was raised that maybe we’ll just write hundreds upon hundreds, and the 90 that are supposed to be a part of the piece (I mean, really supposed to be a part of the piece) will be included in the program, and nothing more. I like that idea. But they may be movement too. Some of them are too good not to be.

Here are a few so far from me that I’ve been happy with (more from the dancers, which are the really amazing ones, soon):

“Push your lover’s face under the surface of the water and realize they aren’t breathing,
just waiting. You will wake from drowning.”

“Let days go by, let water in glasses by the window dry up, forget to water your fichus. You will wake from drowning.”

“Let the cold sweat from the back of your neck press indents into pillows, leaving coffee stains of the him of last week. You will wake from drowning.”

“Pile bile spit lymph fingernails lemon rind in one hand and nipples cold sex sweat and sugar in the other. Rub vigorously, creating an exfoliating agent. Exfoliate. You will wake from drowning.”

“Barter with the drowning on the off chance that it has a consciousness.”

“Purse the word ‘rupture’ on your lips. You will wake from drowning.”

“List reasons why sex, elbows, a brown comforter, a white bed, and sounds of beltway traffic have nothing to do with waking, or drowning. They are, after all, just objects in a room.”

“No. no. no. no. nonononononono, please no. That is how you wake from drowning.”

“Kill cockroaches. You will wake from drowning.”

“Wait until one leg falls asleep. Run through empty wooden houses shouting everything but his name, and occasionally his name. Pull a splinter from your heel and use it as a toothpick. You will wake from drowning.”
We’ll keep writing and posting them (I’m setting it up so my dancers can either blog or tweet them directly via text message) and I thoroughly encourage you to send any you come up with to or post them in the comments of this post. We’ll keep you updated, and if any movement comes out of it we’ll post video asap.

But here’s the real question: are you awake, drowning, waking, or sleeping? Or maybe just sleep-walking into that luscious womb, that unconscious, time-travel-allowing void. You know, the one called “oh, it’s on.” We’re here, boys and girls, creating and rehearsing, and the piece is finally arriving.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Intern Kate's first day // a primer in the aesthetics of mess

Today was Kate's first day in the office (ie: my bedroom + desk) working with me! She's totally awesome and efficient, but this isn't news - she danced for me back in 2008 in "D()!L@rS !N tHe B@nK!", so i know she's legit from way back. She offered to do some admin work for the us, and i quickly took her up on her offer - BAMN! that's how it happens!

Anyway. Today i got her started on two of our MegaTasks for the summer: revitalizing the AOMC's facebook presence (ie: making our group into a "page", which is how you're supposed to do it now...adding video, making new "friends", etc) and getting old performances and dancefilms up on vimeo. Have i mentioned how awesome this girl is? She got SO MUCH DONE!

Check it out - they're still both works in process, but we'd love for you to
///Become a FAN!/// of the Collective's facebook page (Urgent Artist facebook page to come soon!) and ///Check out our VIMEO page!///
to see some awesome vintage AOMC stuff. It's far from polished (as it's stuff from the past time and not the now time or the future time) but it's fun to see all we've done in the past three years!

One of the things that getting all this stuff out of archive has made me think about is how my interests as an artist have evolved over the past few years and, more specifically, where those interests first started and where they're headed.

One of the most obvious to me, is the emergence of a fixation with "the aesthetics of mess". Mess is quickly becoming a part of our branding (take our new slogan: "Anti-Ephemeral PoMo Humanism //ie: hot mess.//") and a bigger part of what's important to me aesthetically. Where did it come from? As far as i can tell, i've always been a little fixated. I can remember preferencing imperfection to clarity for much of my childhood and teenage years (okay, maybe it was an angsty thing) and aesthetically, i can remember being attracted to images and displays of mess in art galleries and movies. In terms of my own work, however, it's a little less clear. Where does a fixation like that come from? What is the second that a fixation clicks into existence and begins to grow? Before i go off on a tangent about my fixation with the origin of fixations, let's get back on track: the aesthetics of mess.

During my junior year at Sarah Lawrence College I took my first real film class, and our first assignment was to take a work we had already done and re-make the same idea or theme using a different layout or series of images. I took this piece that i had made the year before:

which was in turn made off of a stage piece called "Five on Love and Lack Thereof" and re-did it in a bathroom setting. This is what the final result (my first time editing on final cut) looked like:

While i didn't find it hugely successful (at the then time or in the now time) for a few reasons (mainly lack of experience), it did spark a few things in me. The main sparkage, of course being mess. But what kind of mess? I'm a structuralist at heart, so even mess is organized in the way i think about it.

What kind indeed. White mess, lots of white mess. Specifically: an aesthetic attraction to large quantities of white pedestrian items used in ways that generate a large amount of mess, disorder, etc. SO. When it came time for our final products at the end of the film class, i knew what i wanted.

It's much simpler to connect the dots in hindsight (i wasn't aware at the time) but the White Arias Project is a clear descendant of this original film. Made of two separate films (although there was a third milk-based film in the works) "Eggshells" and "Flour" both hold a special place in my heart. I can't show you Eggshells, much as i'd like to, at the request of the semi-nude dancers who performed it, but here's Flour:

So. Clear, right? In hindsight. But!
Looking towards the future time:

Do you see where it's going!?!
It's so nice to discover a context to give oneself mid-process, and so exciting to imagine adding a new voice to the mess-dialogue happening between my works!

Which is all of course to say: Kate is an AWESOME intern for posting all of this so i can share it with you! Look for a post from her soon!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

From Rehearsal 7/3 @ Soundance

"i bloom so lonely"

Yes folks, it's semi-official.
What once was "Glass Tree" is getting over-hauled and re-worked and will now be (the/ilona's/a) "Bloomcycle".

For starters, "glass tree" was an idea and image that was, to me, very specific to Julia. Since she's no longer dancing it, I needed to mentally shift it before a choreographic re-envisioning could be made. This is, you'll remember, the section that once was Julia dancing 30 short phrases with a plastic bag (cut off by her injury), which was genesis for the SIDEsubTEN project (cut off by inexperienced planning on my part). With all that bad karma (silly as it sounds, it really starts to weigh you down if you don't address it) I felt a need to re-examine and redefine it if we were going to keep it in the piece.

Not that this is a bad instinct for any section - we've been doing it organically for all the sections, and this one just got dusty because we left it under the bed for so long. So yes - time to redefine.

For starters, i want to give it more of a contrast between the lightness (almost unapparent in the first version) and more breadth spatially. I'm also playing with ideas about involving the whole group into it (either as to-be-thrown-bag suppliers or as movers) and really focusing on what it means that it's the last "spot of time" that She attempts to show Him, and how it can or can't function as the end of the piece or transition to that end. Also, with Ilona dancing it (for now) and Ilona being Her (for now), there are certainly questions bubbling up about how that changes both it's positioning within the piece, and the movement itself. So that's a lot.

Why "bloomcycle"?
Well...i was looking through an old notebook trying to figure out what to do with the material we'd made, looking for things we'd moved on from or forgotten, and i came across this:

"Bloomcycles" and further down the page "i bloom so lonely"

both of those kind of stuck with me, despite the fact that i have NO recollection of why i wrote them down, though i can recall the rehearsal, place i was sitting, and people who were there. I think it fits with what that section is aiming for - She (and bear with me, becuase this is new, as of Ilona being cast as Her) is finally exploding, or blooming, or wilting, or even just saying something, even if it's just a whisper. She's finally using her own voice, rather than speaking through these other metaphors, and it's directly about her state - the conflict of feeling okay, feeling progress, feeling some semblance of power, and then also being continually undercut, getting more and more frustrated, feeling less and less progress. So the idea that blooming could be lonely, that fits. And the idea of it being a cycle points to the possibility of involving other dancers, and the notion that becuase of the undercutting, her evolution is cyclical. And then of course there's Leopold Bloom, and he fits with everything.

Maybe i'm christening this a bloomcycle to see where he leads it - he's always taking me somewhere interesting.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

From 7/3/09 @ Chez Bushwick

Lighting Notes from the A.O. Movement Collective on Vimeo.

A conversation:

"Have you found what you're looking for? Have you made sense of it?
(pause) Do you have an answer? A conclusion?"

"Not yet."

"Do you need to go back? See it all again?"


(and later)

"Why can't i see the real thing?"

"Because it's not yours. It doesn't exist any more."

"Then what am i seeing? Why am i stuck here?"

"Look again."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

New videos for your face to see + heartmuscle to love

The other exciting news of late is that the AOMC has finally caved (at the suggestion of Richert, after seeing the quality from his new baby) and bought a flip camera! I've been hearing Doug Fox talk about them for a while, but was never really convinced until I got to take a look firsthand.

It was getting increasingly hard to get my camera (which, make no mistake, i LOVE, but it's HUGE) to rehearsals, and I didn't want to worry about it getting stolen, damaged, etc from carrying it around all day for a rehearsal at night. Anyway - this is great news for all parties involved, because it makes it incredibly easy for us to get you footage of rehearsals. Take this week for instance.

We're back in the studio after some time off post DC show (which was FAB, thanks! I have some awesome pics, but need to get rights to them before i can post...) and I had the dreaded first day back by myself. I'm working on creating creating a solo for myself to put in the epic, which, lordbabyjesus knows, is neither my strong suit, or my idea of fun. HOWEVER, I'm committed to giving it a try. A really tough rehearsal all around, but here are some clips I pulled from my improvisations of things that stuck out to me.

Today was much more fun.
I had rehearsal after work with Lillie @ Chez Bushwick, and we banged out a few things. We worked a little with ideas of sloughing and drunken stumbling for a new beginning to SLFdstrcTV and started playing with this little cutie of a phrase:

and Lillie also helped me work on some improvisation and movement sourcing for the solo. We used a structure (loosely) based on one that Ashley Byler did with us a lot in her last piece i was in - on person looking at the other dancing, taking it in, and then trying to replicate points of interest and/or specificity that the are clear in the other one. We went back and forth a few times, discussed, did it again.

We used some music by Atmosphere to bring out some qualities I'm interested in putting in the solo - force and effort-laden movement that seems to be natural to me, the idea of threat or violence outside vs internally, etc. We wanted to test a hypothesis about using this music to create something that, once the music was taken away, came across as more violent and neurotic. What do you think?

Moresoon, lovealways,

the AOMC + Urgent Artist are back in action!

Hi all - apologies to begin for the increasing lack of posting. We've been taking some time to rest (ha, no, not really) and plan for the future, but starting right now we're back with a vengeance!

We had a great company meeting a few weeks ago, and one of the things we talked about was really improving the blog, doing a total revamp both in terms of look and writers, and really giving you more and better. It will be done! Watch for some new writers soon, and as always, if you have something you'd like to contribute, just let me know!

We have some insanely exciting news for you - 2 pieces actually - but until a certain contract is signed I'm only at liberty to tell you about one, so here's the first:

we've been shortlisted for EMPAC!!!

If you haven't been following, EMPAC's DANCE MOViES Commission is awarded to four projects annually, and funds the creation of a new dancefilm. We applied with a proposal to turn "13 Variations on a Car Crash" into a dancefilm - hopefully the first step in making a dancefilm version of the whole epic. It's a complete honor to be chosen for the shortlist - the group of films that make it to the second round to be judged by the pannel - and we'll know by July 15th who the lucky four are. It's still a LONG ways off and really tough odds, but I feel really great about our applicaiton. It would be so exciting to get to start work on a film and really feel like we have the budget and support to really make it the way it wants to be made rather than shoestring budget and no time, but for now i'm concentrating on that perfect balance of not thinking about it too much and crossing my fingers whenever possible. WANT IT. send your good vibes our way.

The second piece of news is equally exciting, but you'll have to stay tunned for that one. I promise - the second i'm allowed to tell you'll know becuase i'll blurt it out everywhere.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know that we're back, we're excited, and we can't wait to get you back up to date on what we've been working on, wondering, watching, and other w words.

Sarah A.O. // the AOMC

Monday, June 29, 2009

New Video...

Apparently this is old, but it don't matter. Yall gotta see this:

thunderheist - jerk it from thatgo on Vimeo.

More soon, i promise!
We're revamping the blog, so it's been quiet, but we're gearing back up to bring you new posters, new media, constant videos, and some AWESOME AOMC news!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ladybox rocks the Sugarwomb

I'm clearly biased, but DAMN:
yall better watch out for Ladybox.

I was lucky enough to be invited to their B U I L Dstudio event out in CT a few weekends ago and see their newest collective/installation/movement/drag performance work SugarWomb. Working via a residency at the Peace Barn (a home/yoga center/15 acre property that occasionally hosts artists for the weekend) these Ladies produced a show that was visually interesting, playful, and creepy.
The audience was greeted by the ever-charming and perfectly on-point Host (Bailey, above in top hat) and led through the grounds as the performers presented short vignettes and stunning images using the space around them (beautiful woods, a creaky dock, large fields etc) as stage and set. Exploring ideas of "sugar" (ie: sweetness, candy, sex, money, tooth decay) and "womb" (ie: motherhood, fertility, umbilical cord, birth canal) the collective led the audience through a handful of embodied ideas and cross-associations blended with a glam-pop fashion sense. Something about the juxtaposition of the idyllic setting and the power-tulle aesthetic felt off, lingering in the back of your mind where you could quite locate it - slightly creepy or sad - and it highlighted the movement perfectly.
And did I mention it was all done in two days? Artistic Directors Saifan Shmerer and Vanessa Soudan put in weeks of prep work to make the residency a success (not to mention 150 yards of tulle), but the majority of the piece's construction was done this past weekend once the rest of the collective arrived in CT. After the show, Shmerer and Soudan articulated their process, describing how they communicated the images and word-associations to the Ladies (many of whom don't identify as "dancers" or "performers") and then let each choose their role in the performance and then flesh it out and create the costume.
I find Ladybox's business aesthetic refreshing - site-specific without falling into the trap of being obvious about the space or self-indulgent, low-budget but still striking and glamorous. It feels like these Ladies have found a way to make the art that they want to make within their economic situation, and not let the economy force them into a style or mode that ends up feeling like a representation of what could be one day, if only they had funding.

I'm looking forward to getting to see more of their work (and getting to work with Saifan if this funding for our project comes through...) and really recommend seeing them. If not for their end product, their approach alone merits more face time. There were some interesting feelings going around post-show that surfaced in the DTW dialogues a few days later about audience and power and money (especially in regards to comissioning - a specific offer was made at the post-show reception), but i'll have to save those for another post.

I'll be helping them with some video and blog work, so i'll be sure to keep you posted on all their happenings.
special thanks to Mike McCulley for the photos

Thursday, May 21, 2009

As always...

have a few posts in the works, but not enough time to post them.

In the meantime, check out the sweaty slow-mo man-fight in the new sherlock holmes trailer. love it love it love it.

We're headed back into the studio now that we're done with our THROW performance (thank you thank you thank you those of you that came to support us! we hope you had as much fun as we did!) and will be both re-vamping 13 Variations on a Car Crash and trying to incorporate some of the feedback on SLFdstrcTV that we've received thus far. So yes, i'm getting all that lovely slow-mo-po-mo aesthetic back in my head!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Too good to not share...

Forget from Michael Fragstein on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dancewriter manifesto

Our assignment this week from Claudia's class.
I know i said i'd be posting my work, but this is only the second one so far i've felt comfortable posting. I'm working on re-writes of three, and will post [or not] eventually. The assignment for this week was our artist statement/manifesto as dance critics.


Dancewriter manifesto as of 5.13.09 @ 1:56pm // Sarah A.O. Rosner


Let’s be frank, shall we?

It is not, has never been, and will never be my job to judge, proclaim value, describe the work, say what I would do differently, attempt unbias, pretend authority, project pretension, or suggest omnipotence. I am not a critic, a library, a celebrity guest judge, or a mind reader.

As a dancewriter, a fallible human insider to the dance community and a ravenous creator of my own work, it is my intension to be a transparent and available information source via the written word about captured instances of the body in motion. It is my job to be honest [brutally and tenderly], to provoke, question, and examine. It is my job to relate, connect, and link—pulling ideas, images, and artists through history and across state, media, and/or economic lines to embrace and have at each other. It is my job to expose the urgency of art making, and problematize its current modes of production—artistic, emotional, and economic. It is my job, above all, to love this thing called dance [which we can’t define] with a feral veracity and loquacious ravenousness, and make the consequences and journey of that love transparent to you.

It is my mission to give you, gentle reader, what I have in the form of information, insight, detail, process, and questions. To make you not so gentle by osmosis, to allow you to bear witness to a constant grappling with what I seek out or find in front of me. Economy, society, funding, design, networks, anatomy, typography, choreography, performance, sex, gender, organs, bones, fingernails – I reject the current paradigm of dance criticism, of performance, of and dancemaking, and want to know if you do too.

I will not be ephemeral! I will not be clear! As in my dance work, I reject these notions, and dedicate myself to investigating formats of complexity that remain accessible to all.

////////////Is this making sense to you?///////////////////////////////////////////

What we are here to do, you and I, is to find the new answers, new systems, new media. What we are here to do, is amplify our knowledge and evolve the forms. To accomplish this we need honesty, passionate opinions, and open dialogue. I will thrust myself and my art open to you, oh reader, and you, oh you, will yell back at me. I do not strive for fully-functioning arguments [only interesting ideas], and I am not interested in finding all-encompassing answers [only searching].

The arrival is unimportant, only the gnawing counts.

What is your manifesto as an artist?
What is your manifesto as a reader?

What is your manifesto as a dancer in a piece where you don’t dance?

What is your manifesto as the old man in front of me last night who wanted to leave at intermission but didn’t?

What is your manifesto as Isadora Duncan, as James Bond, as Ronald Regan?

What is your manifesto as the choreographer who is already burning out?

What is your manifesto as the Male Dancer?

What is your manifesto as “I don’t get it”?

What is your manifesto as an emerging artist (fiscal sponsorship pending)?

What is your manifesto now at this yes this very moment? Imperfect? Evolving?


I want to know how we collide.

The arrival is unimportant, only the gnawing counts.

Friday, May 8, 2009


So...MTV just emailed me becuase of this blog. No shit.
They said (and i quote):

"MTV has recognized that you and your readers are serious about dancing"

ow kind.

want us to enter this dance-off competition thing they're doing to promote that new "dance flick" parody movie they're releasing soon.

Nooooooooooooo MTV, you've got it all wrong.
We're not your bitches, thanks.

Fun though to get an email from you!
Let's talk contracts sometime soon. When you want to get back to the level of cultural literacy and artistic excitement that you started with, give me a call. I'll reinvent your dance programing, make some dancefilms for you to play as music videos, ads, operas, or a mini-series.

Seriously, stop treating artists like reality-show contestants, and we'll talk.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Perspective from an outside eye...

As you may or may not know, the AOMC has been shifting around a bit lately, and looking for dancers (we are, of course, still casting about for male dancers). One of the dancers who came to the rehearsal blogged about it here. Check it out!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dearest readers,

I was trying to write a post for you. A really good one, featuring hundreds of embeds of a list of amazingly visually stunning music videos. But while i was collecting the videos, well, one thing led to another, and pretty soon i was watching celebrity appearances on sesame street on youtube. Project averted. Then i had to post that as my twitter status, becuase it was funny, and then i saw someone's twitter status and was reminded of something i had to check on facebook. When i looked at my facebook, I saw a message from Pam, about her friend's blog. So i looked at the blog, and it's pretty darn neat.

It's always really nice to find innovative material from non-NY artists - we're so inundated with things to see here that it's easy to forget the multitude of stuff that's going on elsewhere, and since no one's pushing it at us it doesn't get found as often...

So, starting with a post, and via (count them) FOUR types of online social media, i give you the end point for the night, this video from Ethan's blog. Great ideas Ethan! And congratulations to me, for officially handing myself my digital-native status on a silver platter engraved with the word irony. Or maybe "what is this world coming to?"

Just thought i would share. And not to worry folks, the original post is still in the works.

pit stop-- exit 84 from Ethan Philbrick on Vimeo.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Slow Mo PoMo Promo!

With apologies to Neil Greenberg for the title, check out the promo i just finished for 13V!

13 Variations on a Car Crash Promo from Sarah A.O. Rosner on Vimeo.

I've had my nose to the grindstone for the past week or so on this EMPAC application, and this weekend I had that great moment in the app-writing process when all the painstaking explaining and delicate rewording gave way to an "oh" moment. As much as grant writing and apps can be tedious and a huge energy drain, I almost always come away from them clearer on the piece i'm submitting.

I though i'd share some of what I wrote in the treatment for the film version of 13v:

Picture a head-on car crash in exquisite slow motion:

As one car hits the other, the sheet metal hoods ripple, snap, buckle, and condense—forcing themselves into the windshield, which holds and holds, suddenly crystallizing into shatter of broken glass. Crumple zones spent, the real weight of the cars grind over each other and the symmetrical ballet begins, the ends of both cars lofting in the air and rotating before sucking themselves back to the pavement with such weighty heft that even in slow motion you sense their heaviness in your whole body. As the cars compress and fracture, an array of scrap metals detach and spiral outwards. Glass bounces glittering and metal shrieks twisting, as the cars lurch to a stop.

Point is, you can’t look away.

I propose the creation of a new dancefilm entitled “13 variations on a car crash”—a piece that blends the heavy partnering and detailed gesture of my dance work with the aesthetics of a car crash—edited like an action movie and told as a love story.

I am admittedly obsessed with the aesthetics of car crashes. Perhaps this is not so surprising: as present-day humans we are constantly viewing car crashes (on the highway, on the news, in action movies, etc) knowing we shouldn’t be attracted to them and yet not being able to look away. I feel a kinship, especially as a mover, with these hulks of gravitational metal. There is no falseness in a car crash—only the weight and the speed of the cars involved and their resulting physics. Their heaviness is brutish, their interaction is defined as ‘wreckage.’ These qualities embody my type of dance: hard falls, striking images, and brutally honest physicality.

The film.
The film itself follows two once-lovers (the two main dancers) as they experience a series of physical and emotional crashes. Entering into a dream-like collage of effortless yet heavy partnering, hard falls, surreal images, and grocery lists, the pair is pulled through space and time, navigating a visually stunning junkyard in the black of night. Amidst crushed cars and blaring TV sets, dark Muses direct the action and embody the physics of wreckage. Crashes disrupt time and render each moment infinite. As heads sail towards dashboards there’s still time to think “coffee…eggs…flour…facewash…” Exploring the emotional damage of lovers becoming once-lovers, the film’s fixation with crashes is an embodiment of physical and emotional hurt, an exposure of the beauty of debris. As the dancers struggle to find control in the face of inertia, the film’s editing and slow motion mimics ideas of control and lack thereof, horrible beauty, and the mess of how we treat the ones we love.

Point is, you can’t look away.

Shooting the film.
I propose to create the film via three main shoots.
The first shoot (which we will choreograph in early September 2010 and shoot later that month) involves the two main dancers, and consists of intimate shots of the two lovers together – approaching for a kiss, unexpected shots of the soft “crash” of the two bodies coming together, etc. This footage will be edited together in late September with found footage of actual crashes, crash tests, and driver safety videos to create a montage of crashes, both mechanical and sexual. After being edited and printed to VHS, this montage will be played through the cluster of old TVs that will serve as the lover’s “car” in the second shoot. I am excited to create this film-within-a-film because it will lines the dancers, counterpoint their movements, or re-contextualize what they are doing. Since the new footage of the dancers will be mixed with low-fi found footage, I will be shooting it on my own equipment (a Panasonic 100dvx)—and will therefore be able to save on production costs by requiring only minimal lighting and one camera operator on this shoot.

After completely reworking and rehearsing the movement for the piece for the month of October, the second and third location shoots will occur over a weekend in early November, using the first two nights to shoot in a junkyard and the third to shoot in a black box theater.

The second (and main) shoot will take place in a crushed car lot in Brooklyn. This set of crushed cars and scrap metal, along with the eight TV sets showing the crash montage, will serve the piece by providing a location that is at once surreal and pedestrian, enhancing the piece’s sense of unease and impending impact. Lighting designed by Lauren Parrish will utilize the location by shooting with the available industrial light, as well as hotwiring select headlights of junked cars to frame the piece. This location will feature the majority of the movement of the piece, and will be shot in a variety of stationary and moving shots. It is important to me that dance on screen still convey visceral excitement and impulses to the audience, so we will shoot both a well-planned storyboard, and leave time for improvisational shots of the movement as to allow for maximum flexibility in editing.

The third and final shoot will be in a black box theater. This shoot will capture two types of footage: surreal images of the two main dancers and lighting-specific images of the Muses. The surreal snippets include shots of the main dancers playing with a small matchbox car, the woman putting it in her mouth and running it over her legs. Lighting-specific shots of the Muses’ movement will utilize the black box setup to create a night-driving atmosphere, playing with the effect of the dancers moving in darkness while “headlights” sweep over them, illuminating them in glimpses.

Starting in December, I will begin editing the footage from these shoots together to create a cohesive and alluring whole. Because I work day jobs in addition to my art making, I plan for the project to be fully edited by the end of March. After the film’s premiere in August 2010 at EMPAC, I plan on submitting the film to a number of film festivals (dancefilm and otherwise) as well as using screenings and DVD sales of the project to fundraise and build excitement for the eventual production of other sections in the larger piece.

In terms of production, this piece will be fortified by the collaborations and working relationships that will create it. As I work as an editor and producer at reels4artists, Gerrit Vooren (owner, producer) and Brian Miller (production coordinator, camera operator) are excited to bring their expertise to the film. Additionally, Lauren Parrish (lighting design and execution) has lit many of my stage works. New collaborations include Tracy Klein, (costume design and execution) who is interested in creating a movable and pedestrian subtle-grunge look, and the Psychedelic Disco Angels (composers), who are committed to a collaborative approach to making a lush dark sound-score specifically for the film.

As always, feedback (as E.D. would say: questions? headaches? heartaches?) is welcome, as are questions about the meaning of life, and great summer salad recipes. I'll post the whole app once i'm done so you can cross your fingers with me. Here's to the imminent maybe of our funding, the eventual certain of our success, and the rare joys of clarity!