Posts Tagged ‘Axis Dance Company’

Yaroslavl, Russia Day Seven: The Forgiveness Lab Continues…

March 27, 2013

On day four of Forgiveness Lab, Frances and I continued some separate directing and construction work. We’re working well as a team. I had figured out to use the music of Marc Ream, (a long-term composer and collaborator with ABD,) which fit perfectly. Joel created the score from student text – a weirdly simple, spare, haunting piece that Charlotte agreed to sing live for us. Dustin agreed to improvise two little duet sections with Frances – they are brilliant together; and Monaca agreed to join Véronique for another duet section in addition to reading my previously constructed forgiveness text. The pieces are falling into place miraculously and the students are extremely pleased with their work. Yay!

Finally a break...Anne and Frances sitting with the Festival and Link Vostok Director, Lisa First, in a café in Yaroslavl

Finally a break…Anne and Frances sitting with the Festival and Link Vostok Director, Lisa First, in a café in Yaroslavl

In spite of being a bit bedraggled after all that work, we followed the dear interpreter, Anna, to the local street market and to a few stores to purchase gifts. She offered invaluable information about our surroundings, the buildings, the people, etc. Then she found us a lovely café where we finally had some good strong coffee, SUSHI (yay!), and enjoyed the ambience of the town. The café had seating inside and out, with netted hammocks for whomever wished to rest in out front. Later that evening, Sonsheree Giles, Joel Brown, and Sebastian Grubb from the Axis Dance Company, Liz Lerman, Oleg Soulimenco, and a Russian dance company all performed in what was a beautiful concert.

In the midst of much teaching and performing, we are getting to know a lovely and richly varied group of colleagues from around the world. With us on this journey from the US are the remarkable Axis Dance Company folk, the amazing Liz Lerman and three gorgeous artists who work with her (Samantha Speis of Urban Bush Women, Ted Johnson, and Kate Freer all of New York City,) and Tamara Pullman of Los Angeles. New to me from NYC are members of the Urban Dance Collective: Royce Zachary, Stephanie Booth, and Cara Robino.) The Festival Director, Lisa First, hails from Minneapolis, along with Evy Muench, Heidi, Monaca, and Dustin.) There are Charlotte, Alessandro and his son Nicholas from Italy, and Jasmin Hoffer and Oleg from Austria. Meeting Véronique from France was especially exciting as she already is talking about future collaborations between her and ABD to take place in France. It has also been a pleasure to work with Francine from Holland and the Hungarian Ferenc Feher and David. (ANNE)

Frances with dancers, choreographers, and other participants in the Festival on the Volga

Frances with dancers, choreographers, and other participants in the Festival on the Volga

Yaroslavl, Russia Day Six: Forgiveness Project Lab Moves into Rehearsals

March 23, 2013

Today, I needed to shift the Forgiveness Lab from generation of material and deep conversation into construction, collaboration, and rehearsing. This compressed process leaves really only 2 days to construct and rehearse.

Deciding to turn the students’ texts into lyrics, I enlisted the artistry of Joel Brown, (from Axis Dance Company,) to compose something simple. Joel agreed – delightedly. I also pulled in Monaca and Dustin, (from Minneapolis,) to do some text reading and improvising along with the students. This really up’d the situation for the students, who would see the material they helped to generate being performed with professionals, etc. I’m delighted to have my colleagues engage the material and to be a part of this “process piece.”


We have been so busy teaching and performing that Frances and I have done little to no exploration of the city! Each day we promise to go shopping or sight-seeing, and each day the work seems to take over our time. We are putting in a lot of hours at the studio – and happily so. And, we hope to get some windows to see this ancient city beyond the pathway from hotel to theater. (ANNE)

Dinner at the hotel is often entertaining – if not delicious. On this particular night, a group of slightly intoxicated Russian socialites invited a few of us dancers on the dance floor. Much fun was had by all. After a few rounds of random improvisations, Anne and I found ourselves out there on our own and managed to do a couple of brilliant lifts, both of which took us totally by surprise – we are still wishing we could recall how we did them. I guess what happens in Russia stays in Russia. Later on the front steps of the hotel, where we went to cool off overlooking the river, the women came over to us and engaged in a high-pitched conversation across three languages. It was hilarious and no telling what was said, but we were having a blast communicating nonetheless. 🙂 (FRANCES)

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