Changing the conversation

In 2002 Living Fountain Dance Company performed Bullet Grabber. While I search for a VHS player, I’ll describe the peice. Uma Kukathas (1998) describes the music as “Creativity is with us our whole lives. Seven-year-old Jimmy Landry tells with touching frankness what inspired his invention of the ‘bullet grabber,’ a magnet that attracts and destroys guns and bombs: people being badly hurt by war”. Living Fountain dances were all choreographed in a collaborative environment called “Dancing from the Inside-Out”. Classes were prompted and after a mechanical warm-up discussions ensued. That was the launching pad of all choreography. No one student or teacher claimed 100% choreographic voice because the entire endeavor exsisted from the voices in cocert with one another. Together, the dancers Antwon Duncan, Darci Filler, Meg Gross, Jessa Morris, Dody Nahas, Julie Robertson, Tammy Stafford, Chloe Tinne sculpted the choreography facilitated in my company rehearsal time. Bullet Grabber was included a time lapse of characters. First the dancers as children played patty-cake across the center divide of the stage, alwaysing enjoying each other’s company. Then, as teenagers they remained forward facing and sparred for dominance, taking time to remember each other. Yet, as adults, they were vehement enemies and forced without thought into a violence they performed in denial. All the while 7-year-old Jimmy Landry’s voice explains his creative solution for ending war.

In years to follow Living Fountain students choreographed far more essays and conversations from the recording The Best of NPR: On Creativity (1998). Each performance left audiences with so much social, emotional, and spiritual stimulation that the dance company felt like a church for a time. Audience feedback forms and pre-performance conversations brightened the future and eventually the members of the company soared like fireworks into their own projects, college endeavors, and studios. As a choreographer, in my youth, the scale factor (and motherhood) overtook my ability to maintain the level of artistry I’m indebted to. I have not been so creative in at least a decade.

However, Julie Robertson posted a teaser video from Crystal Pite’s choreography and it made me SO happy and inspired! Netherland Dance Theater is most certainly a favorite. They perform many of the works from choreographers I respect. For example Ohad Naharin, Jiří Kylián and Hans van Manen, Sol León & Paul Lightfoot, and Crystal Pite and many others. However, this teaser is very much so something that I love. The joy I feel seeing communication animated into large demonstrative gestures that help people understand what they are going through is impaciting me on a soul level. It harkens to American Artist, Georgia O’Keefe’s, philosophy on art. I’m thankful for the simple Facebook post from Julie. It helped me remember something profound about my myself and my artform.

“The Statement”

“The Statement is a wedge of realism; cold and current. We recognize both the characters and the language as being of our world and our time. The Statement is a one-act play, with four characters locked in their own battle for control, and with the morality of their actions: they have been tasked with fueling a conflict in a distant country. Character “A” declares: “For generations they’ve been fighting. All we did was use it. We used it as an opportunity – the attacks – for investment. For growth. We used it.” Now, being asked to take responsibility for their actions in order to exonerate their superiors, a conflict is rising within their department.” Assistant to the choreographer: Ander Zabala | Music: New composition by Owen Belton | Playwright: Jonathan Young | Vocal Performance: Meg Roe, Colleen Wheeler, Andrew Wheeler, Jonathan Young | Light: Tom Visser | Decor: Jay Gower Taylor | Costumes: Crystal Pite, Joke Visser

For more information on the full performance, follow the artists and support thier work.

Support the Artist: Crystal Pite

CRYSTAL PITE & KHOUDIA TOURÉA STEP-BY-STEP TRANSFORMATION
Q&A with Choreographer Crystal Pite
Crystal Pite discusses her relationship with Nederlands Dans Theater and her compelling boardroom drama, The Statement, being performed at the Kennedy Center.

I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.” Georgia O’Keefe

It’s amazing (and sad) how relevant that piece still is today. Reading this brought back good memories though. LFDC and all of you were definitely a game-changer in my path as an artist and person, encouraging and allowing me to grow so much. I am so grateful for that ❤️🙏 Thank you for creating a space and community that encouraged collaboration, expression and exploration. And thank you for seeing my potential and showing me what art can do. That was my first taste of dance beyond competition studios and it really impacted me in the best way. 7/25/2020

Meg Gross, Dancer

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