Acts of Arriving: A Peek Behind the Concept

I had the opportunity to ask a few quick questions to Daniel Burkholder, the mind behind The PlayGround‘s Acts of Arriving project starting at Joe’s Movement Emporium at 11 am on October 18th, and traveling throughout the city to finish at the Millennium Stage of the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center.

The PlayGround by Casi York 2What can families expect when they show up to your workshops?

Daniel Burkholder: There will be a number of activities for family members of all ages to participate in, including a visual art project, an aspiration wall where we ask people to list aspirations for their community, a map to detail all the places they’ve lived, a dance for everyone to learn, and some mini-performances throughout the time period. People can come and go as they please – stay for 5 minutes, or two hours.

RSVP for the September 27th workshop by clicking here.

The PlayGround by Casi York 4How is the audience involved during October 18th’s Acts of Arriving?

Daniel Burkholder: We will engaging people during the performances on October 18th through simply talking with them, inviting some of them to join us onstage for different sections and, at the end, inviting everyone to join in a big dance party.

RSVP for the October 18th Acts of Arriving Event by clicking here.

The PlayGround by Casi York 3Why is this project special to you?

Daniel Burkholder: For the last number of years, I have been interested in the history of communities, how people come together to form communities, and what makes people leave one home for another. Through this interest I have been creating a series of works exploring these ideas, along with research in immigration and the borders we have in our lives (personal, religious, political, etc..). Acts of Arriving is the final project in this series and I’m very excited to bring all these ideas together through movement, spoken word and original music to a number of communities in DC.

And, consequently, this work has become more personal to me as of late because me and my family have recently relocated to Milwaukee, so we are in the midst of creating a new home, finding community, and putting down new roots in a new city.

You can be a part of Acts of Arriving by attending one of the workshops, September 27th, at Joe’s Movement Emporium and, of course, spending they day with The PlayGround October 18th the day of the event.

Two New Art Lives Here FREE Artist Photo Shoot Dates Added

10421336_683566611692401_169937149479458693_nWe’ve added two new photo shoot days with photographer Krista Schlyer. Slots are filling up fast so please sign up for a slot here:

September 24th, 4-7pm, location Art Works Now

Check out a few photos from past shoots here, here and here.

A Conversation with Maida Withers: Site-Specific Dance… why you should care

I had the opportunity to sit down with long-time artist and dancer Maida Withers and ask her why the Gateway Arts District should be excited/interested in what she has to say about site-specific dance and why being a part of such an event is important.
hair pull

Photo Courtesy of Maida Withers Dance Construction Company

Neena: Why is site-specific dance worth going to a lecture about?

Maida: In the l960s dancers broke out in what is known as a “revolution” from modern dance to post-modern dance. One of the most important things to happen is that dancers did not stay inside theaters and limit themselves to making dances for the “elite” paying audience that could afford tickets. However, cost for both the artist and audience was only one factor. Dancers wanted to take the arts to where the people were (outside, in various locations) and also to make dances that were unique to the possible topic/subject of a site. For example if I perform a work on Theodore Roosevelt Island, I can dance and the audience gets to join me outside. I can dance in different locations (in the moat, up on the fountain, over the pedestrian bridge) while making a statement about President Roosevelt and his ideas about war and peace.

Dancers wanted to have a more intimate relationship with audiences so in site-specific work the audience is close enough to touch and be more intimately involved with the artist. The audience becomes a part of the performance rather than sitting out in the remote darkness of the theatre.

Site work is quite a different art form than dance made for theatre. On Site / Insight on September 17th at Joe’s Movement Emporium is a chance to learn about the differences and the similarities.

Anthony Chain

Photo Courtesy of Maida Withers Dance Construction Company

Neena: How is the audience going to be involved during Trans Action/what is expected of them?

In the beginning, the audience will be outside the building on the lawn and sidewalk and we will be bathed in red light at the large glass windows. When the audience comes inside, they will be able to walk freely around the space and choose what they watch. There will be chairs to sit on, areas to stand in, audience members may find themselves approached by dancer looking to either interact with them by movement and maybe in conversation about how art survives today in Hyattsville… or not! That’s up to the audience.

In fact, the audience is extremely important to this event. They give dancers ideas about what they choose to do whether it’s communicate through text, movement, vocalization, etc.

Trans Action will take place at the new Art Works Now located at 4800 Rhode Island Avenue, Hyattsville, MD. Audience is welcome to arrive at 8, performance will start at 8:30.

Photo Courtesy of Maida Withers Dance Construction Company

Photo Courtesy of Maida Withers Dance Construction Company

Neena: Why is this project special to you?

Maida: I love being close to the audience so there is not so much distance and separation between us. Audience members are performers too and the dancers get many ideas from the audience – how they stand, how they respond to the intimacy of being by the dancers, if/when they laugh. I really really like the “realness” of having the audience be available and close. I like the audience to be able to choose what they want to watch by walking to another location, etc.

Please come join us!

Withers has been making site-specific dance works around the world and is now bringing this work to Hyattsville, MD on September 20th to the future-site of arts organization Art Works Now. Prior this performance, Withers offers her interesting perspective on dance from her 40 years of experience at Joe’s Movement Emporium on September 17th. Get to know her and her view of life and art at the free event.