|Posted by imeedanceco on October 31, 2015 at 10:35 AM||comments (1)|
iMEE stunned members of the Salve Regina University community with nine mesmerizing performances
Written by Ciara Speller
October 30, 2015
One window, a picnic table and a coconut. What do these three objects have in common? Truly nothing… except the fact that iMEE co-creators Andrea Dawn Shelley and Spencer Gavin Hering found ways to incorporate these objects into their latest work, the sum of 4 / + one, in thought provoking and stimulating ways audiences will only be able to fathom upon viewing first handedly.
On October 11, iMEE (infinite Movement Ever Evolving) stunned members of the Salve Regina University community with nine mesmerizing performances. From the time the first piece commenced, until the last lighting cue dimmed, chatter and awe soared across audience members in the Megley Theater.
As audience members sat in their seats waiting to see what would happen first, the lights faded and complete darkness presented itself in the theater. You could feel a strong presence from the dancers who were standing on the floor in complete silence. There they stood calmly and gently. Their calmness radiated off of their bodies, and came over the audience like waves crash on a shoreline.
It was like our breaths became their breaths. We became united, us the audience and these dancers. We were all living out this moment together. It was extremely powerful and at that moment I realized that I was going to witness something special.
“Missing The Blues” opened iMEE’s showcase. The choreography set by Shelley on the entire cast of dancers still resonates with me. The movement quality itself, had this cool and effortless vibe to it. Though the movements being executed from dancers, were ones involving great technique and focus; Shelley used creative innovations to allow contrasting forces to be seen between movement and her dancers.
In this piece, Shelley incorporated the use of a window that hung free from the walls in the theater. Each dancer used this window at one point or another, and created quirky imagery and still frames, allowing viewers to use a critical lens in analyzing the meaning of the window and the connection that each dancer had with it.
This piece was nothing less than captivating. All of the elements involved in it worked. I was left feeling mentally stimulated and I wanted more, which is exactly what I got.
Another piece set by Shelley on company members Cristian Laverde König and Brit Wallis entitled, “If You Wanna Be Happy” depicted a unique twist on the relationship between Laverde König and Wallis. Shelley used vibrant and expressive choreography to get this point across, (though open for interpretation) that the two have a whimsical connection with one another. The portrayed a musical theatre type feel, as Laverde König and Wallis traversed the entire stage often using partner dancing and each others body parts as musical instruments.
Very different than that of the first piece, this piece allowed for audience viewers to see the true depth and dimensions that each dancer exudes.
Wallis performed in a solo entitled “Perhaps” which was set on her by Hering. In this piece, Wallis incorporates a coconut into her movement vocabulary. Why a coconut you ask? And what is its symbolism? That is the magic within this piece. To me the coconut symbolized the stillness and and boredom that Wallis’ character was faced with in her relationship, but others who attended the performance digested the use of the coconut differently than I.
For me personally, that is what sets aside a good piece, and a great piece. Greatness comes from creating something that allows analysis and critical evaluations to be thought about even after the show has ended.
In speaking with Wallis after the show, she said she feels that in this show, audiences are on the outside looking in to a different world. “There’s a lot of vignettes and stories and threads and connections and relationships and conversations,” said Wallis about the entirety of the show.
Not only was the choreography and performance from the dancers something that will never be forgotten as it impacted everyone who witnessed it, but Shelley and Hering also decided to incorporate another art form into their work.
In addition to their unique style in regards to choreography, Shelley and Hering took their work a step further by incorporating projected images as a back drop and scene setter, while the company danced on the floor. As something I had not seen during a performance prior to this, I was left truly amazed with every detail that went into their work.
In a brief interview, Shelley and Hering expressed how difficult it was to get this show rehearsed and ready for its Newport debut. If I had not known that this show was put together in just a few short weeks, I would have been persuaded to think that it took months to become this seamless.
There were five different dancers, but they all came together and danced collectively even when they weren’t dancing, they were supporting each other with their energy on the sidelines. I thought it was beautiful,” said Lauren Wyble, a sophomore at the university.
Aesthetically pleasing, fulfilling and truly amazing. Kudos is definitely in order for the creativity and beauty that came out of the sum of 4 / + one.
ABOUT the AUTHOR / Ciara Speller is currently studying for her Masters Degree in Journalism at Emerson College. She recently graduated from Salve Regina University, where she received her Bachelors Degree in English Communications, with a Minor in Dance. During her time at Salve Regina, she wrote for Salve Regina's Mosaic Newspaper and contributed in making the first student run online broadcast. Ciara also took on the role of Broadcasting Editor for the Mosaic in 2012, as well as the news correspondent for SALVEToday. In the summer of 2013, Ciara interned with WMUR channel 9 news as an associate producer, as well as ABC6 in Providence, Rhode Island.
|Posted by imeedanceco on October 26, 2015 at 1:00 PM||comments (0)|
the sum of 4 / + 1
Written by Nina Muzzi, Behind the Curtain
October 23, 2015
On Saturday, October 10th, 2015 I had the pleasurable experience of attending an iMEE performance, entitled; "the sum of 4 / + 1", at the Megley Black Box Theatre on the Salve Regina University campus. Fluid movements, sharp transitions, and a universal story unfolded right in front of our eyes.
The mood was set, the audience walked into an intimate black box theatre, in silence, passing by dancers who were already posed onstage. To our front, the performer's backs were to us, dressed all in black against a video projection of wheat blowing in the wind. One of the dancers was sitting at a table.
As the performance unfolded, the intimacy of the space created an even more intense feeling of living out the story that the dancers were telling us. We were taken on a journey of love, loneliness, happiness, death, and reminiscing. The window let us peer into the lives of the players; sometimes we are lucky enough or perceptive enough to peer into the lives of those around us, or even ourselves.
To touch upon the fringe of what was experienced; we are all on our own journeys, people come and go throughout our lives that have touched us in many ways and have shifted our paths in many directions. We look into other's lives, we look into our own lives, we let people look into our lives, we let society dictate what is seen through our windows, and yet we "try" not to. This piece may have thousands of meanings but I think just igniting a conversation about issues that are more substantial than skin deep is a magnificent feat that iMee should be applauded for!
We all go through the same journeys in life regardless of status or demographic. We have basic primal needs; subsistence, protection, affection, understanding, participation, leisure, creation, identity, & freedom. We tend to branch off into different directions when one or more of our primal needs aren't being fulfilled.
I shift to the more technical aspects of the show and reflect on those for a little bit. The costumes that were chosen were black dress pants and suit jackets with nude body suits underneath. I loved the simplicity of what they had chosen. For me it symbolized how we are all stripped down to a basic human form regardless of what frills and statuses we hold in everyday life. We are all the same on a human level.
The lighting (Urban Uproar Productions) and video (Oliver Halkowich) design were very interesting. For such an intimate space, the lights created areas and moods that told a story even when there was no movement onstage. The shadows that the lighting created were, in essence, extensions of the set, actors, and emotions that drove home their messages even stronger. One thing I would like to see would be more interaction between the video and performers. Perhaps that might be something iMee consider in the future.
The music for "the sum of 4 / + 1" included a wide variety of artists; from Robert Plante and Alison Krauss to Doris Day and Jimmy Soul to Max Richter. Each piece of music accompanied the performance in the perfect way.
The set consisted of a "floating" window, a table, & chairs. I felt that they were all used well in the pieces. to me, the window represented the many metaphorical "windows" we look into on a daily basis. The table and chairs made me think of the different relationships we have with people in our lives.
There are countless ways of interpreting "the sum of 4 / + 1" and we could discuss the philosophies of human nature for days, but I for one, appreciate the raw intensity that iMee consistently has in their performances. There is something innate within a person that connects them to this work on another level, whatever that may be for you. This was one of those performances where you see sound and you hear colors.
A job well done to the fabulous Alan Alberto, Cristian Laverde Konig, and Brit Wallis! Huge kudos to co-founding directors; Spencer Gavin Hering & Andrea Dawn Shelley! Cheers to all! I can not wait to see iMee's next venture!
ABOUT the AUTHOR / Behind the Curtain is a blog designed by Nina Muzzi's Technical Theatre class. BTC writes about theatre in their neighborhoods, school, and the theatre world at large! What is going on Behind the Curtain?
|Posted by imeedanceco on October 16, 2015 at 7:30 PM||comments (0)|
iMEE Dance Company’s Cohesive And Emotionally Satisfying Content Demands Full Attention From The Audience
Written by Tara Christine Gragg
October 12, 2015
From the moment the audience entered the Megley Black Box Theatre for iMEE's the sum of 4 / + one, co-founding directors Andrea Dawn Shelley and Spencer Gavin Hering had carefully framed the world containing the hour-long dance experience. iMEE artists Shelley, Hering, Cristian Laverde Konig, and Brit Wallis stood stoically shoulder to shoulder, backs turned and gazes fixed through the panes of a disembodied window, with Alan Alberto a lone figure seated at a rectangular wooden table. Projections by collaborating artist Oliver Halkowich flickered unassumingly in the background: grasses rippling in the wind, the fractured images of a kaleidoscope. The scenery and costuming (each dancer began in tailored black pants, black jazz boots, and a long black coat) evoked post-apocalyptic Americana; the aesthetic could be described as a 21st-century imagining of American Gothic.
One of the great strengths of the sum of 4 / + one was its superbly constructed continuity. Shelley and Hering, a married couple, each contributed to the evening's choreography. The pieces listed in the program were less chapters of a story than stanzas of a poem; as a whole, sum was an hour of undeniably narrative dance without becoming a story ballet. The choreographic styles of husband and wife complemented each other to great effect here, and I was glad to disregard my program until after the show and let the individual works blend seamlessly into one another. Shelley's Missing the Blues was a strong introduction, allowing gestures as simple and familiar as rock-paper-scissors to have as equal importance as the complex partnering among all five dancers when they joined one another at the table. This moment in particular was exhilarating to watch, with the dancers sliding, rolling, and lifting one another across the table's lacquered surface--a playful exchange that appeared fun and breezy but surely must have required a great deal of trial and error in rehearsal.
I Walk the Line, a brief but compelling solo, singled out Hering as the + one. While Hering danced jauntily through the quirky choreography the other four dancers took turns walking from the table to the window--attached to a zip line--to interact with him, none of them quite crossing the line that might bring him into the fold. Hering's outsider status was cemented in the next offering, Shelley's Sun, Moon & Stars, in which he became a Friar Lawrence figure to the two couples, Wallis paired with Konig and Shelley with Alberto. Tenderness escalated into tension, providing a fitting transition into Shelley's the sum of Her and Him.
Once again Halkowich's work appeared on the backdrop, one of two short films that became the main focus, providing additional ambiance while allowing the dancers some time to rest and change. If these films felt a bit too long for me, perhaps it was only because the dancing was so good. The first film, featuring both still images and video recording of Konig and Wallis, was slightly more effective. The more mercurial of the two couplings, Konig and Wallis were by turns combative, affectionate, and reflective. Shelley used the costuming to great effect here, allowing the dancers to seize control or show vulnerability by adding or removing clothing. At the climax of the piece, Wallis forced Konig to remove his pants, quite literally stripping him of power, before he lifted her onto his chest for a kiss. Although the next two pieces for the couple, Hering's You Are my Sunshine and Shelley's If You Wanna Be Happy, could very well have been about completely different people, I viewed these vignettes as if they were memories in this couple's history, a prequel to the sum of Her and Him.
Perhaps, Hering's solo for Wallis to Doris Day's song of the same title, was delightful. A welcome, lighthearted respite from the previous pieces, Perhaps had Wallis sauntering about the stage in a white and red waitress uniform. Somehow neither the inclusion of twerking nor drumming her inexplicable prop coconut seemed out of place. It was Halkowich's La Te Da beforehand that was most problematic. The film's enigmatic subject, Phoebe Halkowich, frolicked forward and back through the Spanish moss of Micanopy, FL, slowed and sped in turn, to Perhaps, first sung a cappella and followed by the instrumental Doris Day version. When the song began to play a third time for Wallis's solo, it was a bit much, but Wallis's urgent and commanding presence made it worth the repetition.
Just when we began to wonder when Shelley and Alberto might take the stage, they arose to give us Shelley's riveting The Secret of Life is to Fall Seven Times & Get Up Eight. Set to Tomaso Albinoni's funereal adagio and danced in the long black coats, Secret is certainly about loss. It is unclear whether the two are dancing as a couple untimely separated or seeking solace in one another over their own personal losses, but it doesn't matter. The chemistry between Shelley and Alberto smoldered, and the pairing provided a nice contrast with that of Wallis and Konig. Whereas the satisfaction in watching the latter couple came from a sensation of peering in on their private lives, Shelley and Alberto satisfied by pulling the audience directly into their experience of pleasure and pain.
The culmination of the sum of 4 / + one showcased the full ensemble in Hering's choreography. Just as in the opening table sequence, iMEE was at its strongest in this piece when seamlessly navigating intricate group lifts and patterns to Max Richter's shimmering score. The unison work suffered slightly by comparison to the polished solos and duets, but the sweeping movements were satisfying to watch.
iMEE accomplished an impressive feat with the sum of 4 / + one: the realization of their artistic vision. No component felt out of place throughout the evening, and the directors' intelligent programming along with Amanda Motta's stage management and lighting design helped pull the pieces together in an age during which the use of technology can so often go awry. Many repertory dance companies would do well to learn from iMEE's format; the hour-long run time filled with cohesive, aesthetically and emotionally satisfying content was the perfect length of time to demand full attention from the audience. Although there were many applause-worthy moments throughout, it is a testament to Shelley's and Hering's pacing that the crowd held their hearty applause until the end of the performance.
iMEE presented the sum of 4 / +one on Saturday, Oct. 10 and Sunday, Oct. 11 at Megley Black Box Theatre, Newport, Rhode Island, USA. www.imeedanceco.com
ABOUT the AUTHOR / Tara Christine Gragg received her early training in her hometown of Flint, MI at the Flint School of Performing Arts. She went on to graduate from the University of Oklahoma with a BFA in Ballet. During her time with Oklahoma Festival Ballet, OU’s performing company, Tara had the opportunity to perform featured roles in works by renowned choreographers and was fortunate to participate in an international tour to Shanghai, China. Since graduation, she has danced with City Ballet of San Diego, Tulsa Ballet, and Grand Rapids Ballet; her professional repertoire includes ballets by George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, August Bournonville, Paul Taylor, and Lew Christensen. She was also a founding company dancer with NomadicLIMBS, a summer dance collective based in Milwaukee, WI from 2011-2012. In 2012, Tara moved to Chicago and performed with many companies in the city including Chicago Repertory Ballet, the Ruth Page Civic Ballet, and Aerial Dance Chicago; she also appeared as a featured solo dancer and aerialist in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Richard Wagner’s Parsifal. Ms. Gragg is currently in her second season with Island Moving Co in Newport,RI.
|Posted by imeedanceco on October 16, 2015 at 7:15 PM||comments (1)|
We would love to hear what you have to say about our recent performances of the sum of 4 / + one presented at Megley Black Box Theatre in Newport, Rhode Island on Oct. 10 & 11, 2015.
Inquiring minds would like to know... what was your favorite part? Was it the table dance, the finale group section or the entire hour of iMEE dance? What were your thoughts about the Program?
|Posted by imeedanceco on October 16, 2015 at 7:05 PM||comments (0)|
"the sum of 4 / + one" with infinite movement Ever Evolving
written by Dance PVD
October 10, 2015
Dance PVD visited iMEE’s rehearsal at Festival Ballet Providence on October 4th 2015
iMEE (infinite Movement Ever Evolving), a contemporary dance company co-founded and directed by Spencer Gavin Hering & Andrea Dawn Shelley, is a force to be reckoned with. Originally established in Santa Barbara, CA in 2009, in recent years they have been producing work around New England. Their most recent evening-length work, “the sum of 4 / + one,” will be premiering on Saturday, October 10th at 8PM and Sunday, October 11th at 2PM, in the Megley Black Box Theatre at Salve Regina University in Newport, RI. These performances will mark the company’s first full programming of multi-disciplinary contemporary dance offered to Rhode Island audiences.
This body of work is a conglomeration of solos, duets and quintets that explore a wide emotional range as well as provocative imagery. Throughout the work, their dramatic storytelling has allowed space for difficult and light matters of life to be explored, examined, and exhibited.
Every element of this work has come from a personal place, co-founding artistic director Andrea Dawn Shelley expressed, “the work involves different perceptions and how we constantly shift between the perspectives of looking within and out.” Also, when dealing with those difficult matters of life “that it’s about falling down and getting back up, shedding light on the strength of those around you and how strong they need to be. This constant struggle has become a theme for us.” These images and themes are woven throughout the work.
“the sum of 4 / + one” has been through several stages of development since work began in May of 2014. The piece was originally conceived as a series of separate duets and quartets, which the company has been gradually combining to form an evening-length piece. Throughout the process, short vignettes have been performed at various festivals.
This past summer, the company traveled to Plovdiv, Bulgaria to present 30 minutes of the work at “The Black Box International Festival of Theater and Dance” and the Great Friends Dance Festival in Newport, Rhode Island. They will be presenting the most complete version of the body of work, so far in Newport RI, this upcoming weekend.
It’s clear that the caliber of the work thrives on the collection of hand-picked dancers from around the country. “We are quite selective about choosing our dancers,” Andrea explained that, for the most part, she and Spencer invite dancers that they have met throughout their careers as dancers and choreographers. Currently, one of those dancers is a company member at Festival Ballet Providence and the others are artists based in NYC, dancing for companies like Armitage Gone! Dance.
Multidisciplinary artist Oliver Halkowich, a frequent collaborator with iMEE and a soloist with the Houston Ballet, has created a video landscape featuring two short films set to a variety of music such as Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Cesar Franck and Doris Day. These elements of visual and auditory stimuli contribute to the environment that the work exists within.
Be prepared to watch this performance with an open heart. Each of these incredibly accomplished dancers and versatile performers bare a part of their souls in this work. The emotional range, diverse and compelling, the journey takes us to unexpected places.
“We dance to actively engage, and inspire the audience’s mental perspective, to grow and evolve. The art of dance is primal…universal, and can be voiced through an unlimited amount of movement, Infinite Movement Ever Evolving.” –Spencer Gavin Hering, Co-Founding Artistic Director
|Posted by imeedanceco on August 25, 2011 at 8:55 PM||comments (2)|
What do you have to say about iMEE's recent performances presented on August 18, 19 & 20th in conjunction with the Houston Dance Festival at Barnevelder Movement / Arts Complex in Houston, Texas? iMEE welcomes your feedback about "Superfluous" (iMEE Directors first, collaborative effort!) & "Grim Eye" choreographed by Maurice Causey. We look to hear from our audiences for our continued growth as an organization of national prominence.
|Posted by imeedanceco on December 19, 2010 at 5:30 PM||comments (5)|
With two months now under our belt with classes having been taught in November by Spencer & December by Andrea...
What do you think about Sunday Ballet with Spencer (& Andrea)?
|Posted by imeedanceco on September 7, 2010 at 3:25 PM||comments (3)|
What do you have to say about iMEE's recent performances of VERSED presented August 26th- 28th as part of Hope Stone's three week dance festival, Lemonade Stand at Barnevelder Movement / Arts Complex in Houston, Texas?
iMEE welcomes your Feedback and Love. . .