COLLECTIVE BODY | DANCELAB is a New York City, project-based creative think tank for the development and performance of new ballet choreography. The company, founded in August 2009 to sold-out shows at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, uses collective storytelling, information sharing, and Movement Translation (a methodology unique to the company) in association with composers, interactive technologists, artists, and designers to explore material outside of traditional formulas to create choreographic vocabulary unique to each piece.
Movement Translation is based on the work of artistic director, choreographer, and poet Brian Carey Chung’s investigation of translational processes. Using a variety of these processes, company members decipher and personalize shapes, symbols, images, words, and movement phrases in order to access the elements of chance, individuality, and spontaneity. Each season, the Collective creates work on six to ten dancers from a pool of over 25 artists who represent a broad continuum of ethnic, racial, linguistic, and cultural backgrounds. Both individually and jointly, the dancers have amassed considerable achievements and credentials.
Artistic Director Brian Carey Chung is a 2010 winner of the Reverb Choreographic Competition, finalist in the 2010 Aarhus International Choreographic Competition and semi-finalist in the 2010 Hubbard Street Choreographic Competition. His work has been described as “beautifully spacious,” by OFFOFFOFF Dance, and “spectacular choreography, beautifully danced, a total success,” by Santa Barbara Daily Sound. His dance career has spanned the international companies of LINES Ballet, Armitage Gone! Dance, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and Ballet Hispanico of NY. Brian Carey Chung also served as rehearsal director for Karole Armitage, and was her assistant choreographer on the Public Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park production of HAIR. His work has been presented at the Skirball Theater, Ailey Citigroup Theater, 92nd Street Y, and Manhattan Movement and Arts Center.
Moonlight Sway (2011) is a 12-minute double duet that draws its images from the unseen, undulating quality of light waves (first duet) and the seemingly laid bare physical properties of moonlight (second duet). The piece counterbalances these juxtaposed physical properties on the two couples, drawing upon images from mythology, historic biography, and science. The piece—set to well-known melodies by Debussy and Beethoven—aims to persuade, visually, in an imagistic and poetic sense, rather than depict in narrative form.
Sunrise in the Quantum Realm (2010) , a 40-minute piece, explores artistic director Brian Carey Chung’s interest in quantum physics and the nature of reality. To create the piece he asked the question, “what if we could mimic the way particles behave at the sub-atomic level?” He then took the relativistic and turbulent micro-level and reconstructed it at the macro-level on the dancers, juxtaposing that disparity within the context of the unevenness of human experience. A work of ferocious dynamics and shifting tempo, the piece opens to a wall of bubble wrap at the front of the stage, pixilating and distorting the dancers’ movements. This galactic setting is then peeled away to reveal a white, spacious environment, challenging the viewers’ perception of matter; similar to how objects are perceived to be solid when at the molecular level there is hardly any solid matter at all. Brian McCormick writing for Gay City News said of watching a rehearsal of Sunrise that “you never have to wait too long for the money shot. Every movement is camera-ready…the dancers explode away from each other, but are constantly drawn back by unseen forces.”
Lonely House (2010) , a 15-minute narrative duet in four parts set to music by jazz artist Abbey Lincoln, explores a domestic relationship and how misunderstandings and misinterpretations alter the dynamics between the partners and contribute to the relationship’s decline. Hailed as “a gem” by Dance Europe, the piece utilizes sharply contrasting light and shadows to move from corporeal bliss to existential isolation. The two dancers exhibit different movement vocabularies, which like varying personalities, come together at times, and at others, seem to “speak over one another” in the dance without being heard. The dance is at once urgent, complex and contradictory, and speaks to the nature of love in us all. Lonely House was a finalist in the 2010 Aarhus International Competition in Denmark.
Duetic Sculptures (2009) , a 20-minute, pyrotechnic rush for eight dancers, centers on the concept of duality. The dance is en pointe, and requires stamina, virtuosity, and adroit articulation of feeling. The environment is stark, sleek, brooding and unsympathetic, and the unrelenting drive of the Steven Reich score, Eight Lines, is continually reinvented by metaphors that shift seamlessly within a momentum-building landscape. Artistic Director Brian Carey Chung was inspired to create Duetic Sculptures by attempting to capture a physical representation of Reich’s subtle shifts of the melodic line. The piece relies heavily on symbolism and visually unexpected turn of events. The form for the piece, like in the music, is that of moving sculpture, rather than still placement of shape.
Imperishable (2009) , a 20-minute work for six dancers, utilizes scent as an extended metaphor for love. The dance borrows its name from Leconte de Lisle’s poem Le Parfum Impérissable, which Fauré set to music. The poem tells of a perfume bottle used as a vessel for the contents of a lover’s true feelings for a beloved that, when broken, continues to retain the imperishable scent of that love. The piece is lyrical and humorous, tragic and uplifting, and embraces the musical theater tradition. Regarded by the Santa Barbara Sound as a “performance to stand by any dance or musical theater in town,” Imperishable may be performed live with soprano and classical pianist upon request.
|JAN 8, 2012
|| Pentacle’s Gallery Showcase
The Theater at Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School
120 West 46th St (bet 6th and 7th Aves)
7:00 – 10:00 pm
Collective Body| Dancelab: 7:12 pm
|FEB 11, 2012||Athenium Theatre
|MAR 28 – APR 1, 2012||American College Dance Festival (ACDF)
Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
|APR 26-29, 2012||Siecle de Ballet at O’Connell Theatre
|JUN 6, 2012||STUFFED – Dinner & Dance
Judson Church, New York, NY