Filmed by Katie Bruce, Event Director for Utah Dance Film Festival, Equipment courtesy of Mustache Power Productions
FOUR CHOREOGRAPHERS EXAMINE HOW WE COMMUNICATE, AND ORGANIZE, AND SOCIALIZE; HOW WE VOICE OUR OPINIONS AND SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS.
. . . A community holds in place our identity and our values.
. . . A community exhibits our ancestry and ethnicity, our idiosyncratic qualities and group memberships.
. . . A community is a social unit, a group of living things, who have something in common.
"PASSACAGLIA AND FUGUE IN C MINOR" - (1938) by Doris Humphrey with guests from Utah Valley University
WORLD-PREMIERE COMMISSION by Bebe Miller
WORLD-PREMIERE COMMISSION - by Bryn Cohn, winner of REGALIA 2018
"THEATRE" (2016) by Danielle Agami
Doris Humphrey was born in Oak Park on October 17, 1895. A slim, graceful child, Doris Humphrey showed inclination for dance at an early age. Her mother encouraged her and arranged for lessons with eminent ballet masters. However, her real inspiration came from Mary Wood Hinman, who taught dance at the school she attended from kindergarten through high school, the Francis Parker School in Chicago.
Mary Wood Hinman had retained interest in her talented pupil. She encouraged her to go to Los Angeles for a summer course offered by the renowned Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn in 1917. At their Denishawn School, Doris’ talents were recognized. She was given solo roles in presentations and, to assist her to financial independence, she was assigned classes to teach. For the next decade, Doris’ life and career were tied to Denishawn.
At Denishawn, Miss Ruth encouraged Doris to choreograph. Her first composition was “Valse Caprice” (also known as “Scarf Dance”), followed by “Soaring”, and “Scherzo Waltz” (“Hoop Dance”), all of which continue to be performed by various companies today.
After a two-year tour of the Orient and several seasons of dancing throughout the United States in top vaudeville theaters, Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman (with like rebellious ideas) broke away from Denishawn in 1928. They settled in New York where they became leaders of the radical new dance form known as “modern dance”.
Doris Humphrey realized the inadequacy of the colorful but superficial Denishawn dances. Seeking a deeper understanding of the movement possibilities of the human body and its universal expressiveness, she created a new vocabulary based on the principle of fall and recovery fro gravity. With it, she built a repertory of works among them “Water Study,” “Life of the Bee,” “Two Ecstatic Themes,” and “The Shakers.”
The Humphrey-Weidman Company toured the country in the 1930s, establishing the esthetic and audience base for their innovative dance. They created works addressed to contemporary concerns. In this period, Doris Humphrey choreographed the dramatic trilogy “Theatre Piece,” an exposition of innate human competitiveness and rivalry, “With My Red Fires,” a portrayal of emotional life, the consuming passion of love, and “New Dance,” a depiction of the possibility of reaching a state of human harmony which recognizes individualism.
As a choreographer, Doris Humphrey excelled in her designs for groups, mass movements and sculptural shapes. This was seen throughout her career from early works such as “Soaring,” to one of her last, “Dawn in New York.”
In 1945, suffering from arthritis, Doris Humphrey gave up performing and devoted herself to serving as Artistic Director for the Jose Limon Company and creating works for it. Among these were “Day on Earth,” “Night Spell,” “Ruins and Visions.” In 1958, she made her last and very lasting contribution, a book, The Art of Making Dances, in which she set forth her choreographic principles. Doris Humphrey died December 29, 1958.
Danielle Agami was born in Israel in 1984 where she studied at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance and was a member of the Batsheva Dance Company. Between 2007 and 2009, Agami served as the Artistic Director of Batsheva Dancers Create, and functioned as the company's rehearsal director from 2008-2010. After 8 years with Batsheva, Agami moved to New York to serve as the Senior Manager of Gaga U.S.A.
In 2012, Agami relocated to Seattle where she founded Ate9- an undertaking that has fully realized her artistic voice as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher. Danielle was the grand prize winner of the 2013 & 14 Annual Choreography Festival at the McCallum Theatre and one of Dance Magazine’s Top 25 to watch in 2015. In 2016, she was recognized with the Princess Grace Award for Choreography and created a new work, Pick a Chair, with Visceral Dance in Chicago. Agami has made over 8 fully produced works with Ate9 since it's inception including the innovative new work calling glenn with live music by Wilco percussionist Glenn Kotche.
Agami was also named as the 2018 recipient of the Virginia B. Toulmin Fellowship for Women Choreographers. During the fellowship with will develop a solo performance and research a new ballet class inspired by her years of experience with Gaga Movement Language.
Described as having "a brilliant mind...people want to see more" (The Dance Enthusiast), Bryn Cohn is an award-winning dancemaker, educator, movement consultant and published scholar. She has choreographed five evening-length works and twenty repertory works on BC + A since its inception as well as commercial engagements. She was nominated for a Princess Grace Fellowship as the winner of REGALIA, a choreographic competition on Repertory Dance Theatre who commissioned her to make a new piece. Cohn was selected by Robert Battle to participate in the New Directions Choreography Lab at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, generously supported by the Ford Foundation. Her paper "Virtuosity in Dance: A Vehicle or Hindrance To Recognizing Humanness" has been published in The Dancer Citizen.
She has been commissioned to create works for renowned companies including Louis Vuitton, Repertory Dance Theatre, Missouri Contemporary Ballet, Billy Bell’s Lunge Dance Collective (formerly of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet), The Big Muddy Dance Company, Jacksonville Dance Theatre, University at Buffalo, Grand Valley State University, California State University, Fullerton, Pushing Progress Contemporary Training Program, Stockton University, the fashion designer Betsey Johnson and Youth America Grand Prix. She was on permanent faculty at Peridance Capezio Center, Los Angeles Ballet andLoyola Marymount University. She directed the modern department at Greenwich Ballet Academy where her students received scholarships to Royal Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Kirov Ballet, the Joffrey School and Ellison Ballet through competing in her work.
Bebe Miller has received four New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Awards and support from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Guggenheim Foundation and many others. She was a United States Artists Ford Fellow, received one of the first Doris Duke Artists Awards and a New York Live Arts’ 2013 David White Award, and was a 2015 Movement Research Honoree. A Distinguished Professor in Dance at The Ohio State University’s College of Arts and Humanities from 2000–2016, Miller received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Ursinus College in 2009.
Miller’s vision of dance and performance resides in her faith in the moving body as a record of thought, experience, and beauty. Her aesthetic relies on the interplay of a work’s idea, its physicality, and the contributions of company members to fashion its singular voice. Seeking to expand the language of dance, Bebe Miller Company’s work encompasses choreography, writing, film, video and digital media. Committed to keeping dance available to a wide spectrum of people and to further the conversation about the role of arts and creativity in our culture, BMC is dedicated to providing access to the creative process and expression to diverse communities. Bebe Miller Company was formed in 1985; since then, Miller has created more than 50 dance works for the company that have been performed in nearly 400 engagements worldwide. BMC has been commissioned and presented by leading venues including 651 ARTS, BAM Next Wave, DTW, Jacob’s Pillow, Joyce Theater, PICA, REDCAT, Walker Art Center and Wexner Center for the Arts. The company’s newest project, Vault, is a series of artist-driven national convenings, meant to share innovative methodologies for documenting, archiving and sharing the dance-making process. Activities with artists, presenters, curators, archivists, scholars and technologists range from peer-to-peer and intergenerational mentoring, informal “campfire” talks, formal presentations on recent practices, and resource-sharing. Gatherings have been held in New York City and Seattle, and plans are afoot for a gathering in the Columbus area in 2018.