Dream a Little Dream…

This Friday and Saturday Erin will be guest-curating a fantabulous show. We’re going to have ridiculously awesome slam poet Khary Jackson, an improvised Choose Your Own Adventure, zombie dance (the best kind of dance), Asheigh Swenson and Leslie J Sedivy doing burlesque, an excerpt from Tom Reed’s “Bite Me, Twilight,” some choreography from Erin Sheppard herself, and more storytelling, improv, and dance and music pieces than you can shake a stick at!

So come on out, and stay tuned to this blog to hear more about our upcoming costume ball!

Jennifer Mack

1) What do you enjoy about dancing, and what do you enjoy about choreography?
2) Does it feel different to dance a piece that you’ve choreographed,
instead of one someone else has?
3) Can you tell us a little about the piece you’ll be presenting this weekend?
4) What is the most important thing you’d like your audience to walk
away from your performance with?

#1. a)I’ve always joked that the reason I’m actually a dancer is because deep down I actually wanted to be a musician. Then I realized it’s also because I wanted to be a visual artist of some kind and an actress. I think that’s why I like dancing… because you get to do and try all these things, but with your body. You get to transcend yourself and discover other people & experiences by trying on their movement, gestures, body language/physicality and somehow get it to make sense in and on your body. Not to mention trying to get all of that body knowledge and art to communicate to others. It’s a crazy icebreaker, really, where you learn way to much about people and your self…in a good way.
b) The same would be said about choreography, I guess…it’s just stuff I have to get out of my body. Something I feel the need to share & communicate with other people and get feedback on whether it be another mover/dancer or audience member. To me it’s all really a form of communication I can’t explain or do in any other way.

#2. Yes! Dancing something I choreographed versus someone else is definitely different or at least feels completely different. The things I choreograph come from ‘inside’. It feels natural and good on me because it’s coming from me; what I’m thinking, feeling, wanting to say or not say, etc…. It’s like having a conversation with your self; which can be great and awful at the same time. It can be a spirit or ego boost because you get something out of your system. It can also be deceiving, though because there’s no one to check you; or in other words let you know if you aren’t making any sense. Or if it isn’t feeling natural, good or your having a hard time; you feel like your fighting yourself on this strange deeper level.
Where dancing someone else’s choreography comes from ‘outside’; from another source. It has the potential to feel completely foreign or unnatural or un-understandable….or completely natural and every variance in between. You never know. So you end up digging in your self as a person and as a body to meet or find the place where you both mesh or understand each other as people and bodies.

#3. I’ll actually be presenting 3 small pieces:

One is a duet titled ‘Where we are Now’. It’s danced by two amazing dancers: Lyndsay Anderson & Bryan Gerber; whom I feel so blessed to have the chance to work with. They made it way more than I imagined it could be. The music is ‘Tangoed Up in You’ by Jelloslave, which is a local cello duet group in the area. Ironically, the music seems almost too perfect for the idea in title, concept and sound. Basically I came at this piece looking at timing and how it affects relationships, but I would love to hear thoughts from viewers as well.

The second piece is a solo titled ‘Almost Familiar’ to a song ‘Almost Familiar’ by Pretty Light. It was technically directed & choreographed by Ashley Penrod with choreography/movement input by myself. No…we didn’t name it after the song because we couldn’t think of anything and didn’t want to call it, ‘untitled’! We actually felt it was rather ironic that the song titled seemed to describe where the piece came from, was going, and trying to explore. Ashleigh’s been interested in how different people put together, distribute & categorize movement in their brain & memory; she’s developed this interesting choreographic process; using word maps. I’ve been wanting to work with her for a while, but Patrick’s Open Call provided that opportunity at the perfect time. Ashleigh just moved back here after finishing graduate school and we kept meeting & talking about how new movement is created and what we enjoy in a good performance and the rest is here in this first draft. Again, feed back is always welcome.

The third piece is a group piece that I set on 7 of my students from Rochester, MN. It was actually set last spring on 7 students who auditioned to be in the piece and I wanted to try and expose them to new ways of working and learning a piece. I taught them one partnering phrase and one individual phrase and had them explore it. I also had them create phrases on their own based off of written questions about anger, loss and miscommunication or misunderstanding. I had originally intended to do two or three sections, but have only created this one so far. The music has actually changed a couple times, but the costumes have not; the movement, well, that’s always being tweaked. Eventually I would like to fully set and choreograph all three sections. Still working on finding the right music and title, though. And these students are fabulous for letting me explore a new idea on them and I wanted them to have a chance to show what they can do and have been working on.

#4. I just want the audience to walk away with…honestly, a connection, disconnection, or reaction of some kind! That sounds probably simple and maybe even dumb, but really… I just don’t want them to watch it and then go on to the next thing. Whatever it or that may be for them (the audience member) that’s what I’m interested in. What caught their attention, what didn’t, what they felt, didn’t feel, what it reminded them off, what they thought it ‘meant’, didn’t ‘mean,’ or why they ‘got it’ or ‘didn’t get it,’ etc…as long as it initiated their brain and body….I want to hear about it, am intrigued & fascinated by it, and feel like ‘there we go!…don’t you love dance and art!’

Brianna Belland

1) You were most recently seen in a show at the Fringe Festival. How did that go? Had you performed at or attended the Fringe before ‘Slap-Dash?’
2) Can you tell us a little about the piece you’ll be doing this weekend, its genesis and your interest in performing it, etc.?
3) What is the most important thing you would like the audience to take from your performance this weekend?

1) Slap Dash went very well. It was great working with Kelly and it’s been so long since I’ve performed in a dance-based piece. The last time I performed at the Fringe was for my first ever supporting role in a play. I played Charlie in John Ervin’s “Catfight!” for the Fringe of ’08. It was at the same theatre (the Ritz), so it was bittersweet for me. I had never attended a Fringe show before this year (loved Semidarkness!), so it was nice that to see some of my friends perform, this year.

2) This weekend, I’ll be premiering the piece “One,” a duet featuring amazing dancers Kevin Dunnick and Jessica Ehlert. It’s modern dance and is about fighting the urge to only take negative routes in life, by resenting both yourself and those around you. The two dancers represent the same person, who is in a funk and wanting to solve the problem by being upset about it. The two dancers try to control the one mind, but it is not clear which dancer has the more positive (or “right”) intention. My first thoughts about this piece stemmed from my own personal guilt about the instances where I show negativity towards others and myself. Wanting to vent and admit that I’m not always right, and about holding a negative thought in, only to stumble upon another one.

3) I would like the audience to look at the struggle and try and differentiate the intention behind the two halves of the one person. Does one of them have to be positive? What does it mean if they both have negative intentions? This is me fighting against myself, for guilt’s sake, and not getting anything out of it, except more negativity and closed-mindedness.

Loren Niemi

Hey y’all! I have returned from the Land of Corn and Soybeans (Illinois), and I come bearing interviews from performers this weekend! Here, for your reading enjoyment:

1) Have you performed at Patrick’s before? Yes, approximately once a year since 2001.

2) How and why did you come to write ‘Inviting the Wolf In’?

It came out of twenty years of doing storytelling and community organizing more or less simultaneously. What was clear to me was that there was a need for people to tell (their) difficult stories and they wanted both permission and a way to think about how to do it.

3) What are the different things you enjoy about writing for a theatre audience and writing for a reading audience?

Writing, actually creating oral narrative, for a theater audience is about their being in the room – their breath, their silence, their physical presence – with you as a performer. So even though I may be the only one speaking, there is a dialogue going on in which both parties contribute to shaping the performance. Things like intonation, pitch, pauses (silence), my physical activity or stillness all contribute to what the adience’s experience is, while when i am creating for a reader, the focus shifts from what is happenng in the present to what is happening in their own imagination and emotional connection through the written words. Both are rich and image laden but each is distinct.

4) What was it like working with the Post-Troubles truth and reconciliation process?

In Northern Ireland, they talked about the 37 years of “the troubles” and the 10 years of “waging peace” and would circle around to the fact that the wounds were still fresh. At this point, they are working on the truth side of the equation – trying to find ways to speak directly to what was said and done, not said and not done – but are quite clear that there has not been enough time and opportunity to get to the reconciliation side of the experience. At this point, reconciliation does not mean forgive and forget, or even forgive, but instead it means acknowledging the fact that everyone had
a part in the wounding and all are wounded (though not equally). My role was always to listen and to encourage folks to say more.

5) Can you tell us a little about the piece you’ll be doing this weekend?

I joked on my Facebook invitation about channeling my Inner Lewis Black, (who a number of folks in Indianapolis seem to think I bear a verbal resemblance to) but what I am going to explore is the improvised intersection of political rants/dreams/metaphors for understanding where we are and where we are going. It will be something on Friday and most likely something else on Saturday….

6) What is the one thing you would most like the audience to walk away with from your performance?

A sense of satisfaction that my head did not explode and no small animals had to die in the course of my 15 minutes of stage time. Whether or not I can keep from spitting, falling down and kicking like a 2 year old mid tantrum, or tear off my clothes is anybody’s guess including my own.