I’ve always admired dance. I remember my parents taking me to contemporary dance performances from a young age, and always enjoying them. I also grew up in a culture that had dance as part of everyday life and so it was always around me. Deciding to become a performer was taking a leap, chasing a passion to see where it would take me. It took me somewhere unexpected, somewhere great.
Q: What is your guilty pleasure?
I always try to own up to my pleasures, strip them of guilt, so it’s hard for me to say. I will admit that I enjoy sugar more than I’d like to. I guess that’s a little guilty because it’s bad for you. But I do love a good chocolate bar or, even worse, the gummies. Give me a bag of gummy bears and I’m a happy guy.
Q: What is your favorite meal?
Sushi. Indian is a close runner-up.
Q: What is your favorite quote?
Some brand once told me “Just do it.” It’s simplistic, but it’s true, especially when it comes to art — it’s so easy to get bogged down by your insecurities or the magnitude of your ideas.
Q: What is something most people don’t know about you?
How to pronounce my first name. Give it a try.
Tell us a joke.
I’m terrible at telling jokes. The always fall flat. I prefer to dance them.
Q: How have you been involved with Frame?
I love being a part of Frame. I think the work that we do is really unique, and we seem to always be trying something new, which is fun. I was a part of Crease, Points and Coordinates, There’s a Height Limit, Mortar, Satin Stitch, Framing Bodies: Love Me, the Framed at the Photobooth series, and now getting ready for Context.
Q: Do you have a memorable Frame Dance moment?
Two moments jump to mind. Filming Satin Stitch was a really interesting group experience. It brought us all closer, I think, and it was one of those occasions when you found the work as you experienced it, and it became something more. Love Me was also really special. The process to develop it was unique, almost therapeutic, and I got to work with an incredible group of people.
This week’s Links We Like is brought to you by guest curator Melissa Brading, a stunningly beautiful, powerfully fluid dancer freelancing in New York. Check these out!
I was trying to think of who my inspiration was as a young dancer. If I had to tell the truth, it was Fly Girls.
I get emails and messages daily of artists asking for money to do their art. It’s hard out there and the art community is making it happen. This is an article from The New York Timesabout the trend of financial crowd-sourcing on the internet and how it is making art possible for the artist and accessible for the community.
I spend an enormous amount of time looking at animal videos at work when I should be working. I especially love animals which appear to be doing human-like things- especially dancing. I didn’t realize dolphins were so evil…
I currently work at The Joyce Theater and we are gearing up for our big gala. This year we have a special guest: Sylvie Guillem. She is in her 40’s and her feet are unbelievable. I am pretty pumped about the performance and wanted to share a clip.
Melissa Brading is a dancer from Topeka, Kansas living in New York. She received her undergraduate in dance education at the University of Central Oklahoma, then relocated to Houston to dance with Ad Deum Dance Company. Melissa is currently a freelance dancer and has worked with such artists as Nejla Yatkin, Chris Ferris, Hope Boykin, Sarah Council, Amanda Selwyn and Megan Harrold in New York. Melissa has also had the privilege of working with such organizations as Jacob’s Pillow, Ailey, Dance Theater Workshop (now New York Live Arts) and The Joyce Theater. She is also a founding member of The Woods Cooperative- a studio space designed to give artists affordable space to make work. Melissa has a passion to see the end of child sex slavery and acts as a member on the New York Love146 Task Force. She practices yoga, tries to learn German and has a cat named Deborah.
As we get closer to CONTEXT (May 11-13) I will be posting about the collaborators. CONTEXT will be an interactive, multi-sensory exhibit involving dance, photography, music and film. First up, Sil Azevedo.
To Sil Azevedo, photography is a means of self-discovery. Sil’s love with this artistic medium started at age 7 when his parents gave him a Kodak Instamatic camera. He started shooting away, producing a fashion shoot with his cousins at grandma’s barn, in his hometown of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. During high school, Sil spent every free minute he had in the darkroom. He kept developing his photographic skills in college as he studied arts and architecture. Sil graduated in ‘89 from the School of Arts and Architecture at I. Hendrix Methodist University. His first love for photography never faded as he continued to self teach and to apprentice under the local masters.
Sil moved to the Dallas, TX, where he spend time in self-search and developing artistic expression through photography as he studied under accomplished local photographic artists such as Charlie Freeman, June VanCleef and Byrd Williams. During this time he also won two Columbia Scholastic Press Silver national awards for his design work. In 1999 he opened his studio in Dallas, TX. In 2004, Sil was invited by Parish Episcopal School to create the school’s photography program. In seven years he developed a comprehensive program that takes students from intro to AP, with both digital and traditional labs. His students have earned numerous regional and national awards since the program was created, including Scholastic Press scholarships and Congressional merit awards, among many others.
In 2010 Sil left the school to dedicate himself solely to his studio and gallery, and to found the Dallas School of Photography. He currently is working on several personal projects and special commissions. Sil enjoys working with people to produce images that are a true reflection of who they are, capturing their special moments in a way that is authentic and perceptive. He photographs for various local publications and travels nationally and internationally on assignment.
I haven’t written too much about CONTEXT, just some pics, video, and of course the dates of it: May 11 at 8pm, May 12 at 2pm and 8pm and May 13 at 8pm. It will be held in the upstairs gallery of Winter Street Studios. Where-ish is this place? It is roughly in between Washington St. and the Target at Taylor St. right off of I-10. It is very industrial, and we’ll have a sign out to make sure you go to the right part of the building. The building is an old train depot.
On to the juicier stuff: this past week collaborator photographer Sil Azevedo and his partner in crime, Adriana Azevedo came down to Houston for site visits and our first photo shoot with him. If you’re new to the site, here’s the premise of CONTEXT:
Houston’s fresh, new dance company, Frame Dance Productions, presents a show that makes live and visual arts social and interactive. CONTEXT is a multi-sensory gallery of music, photography, choreography and film.
The experience is cyclic and begins with a facilitated discussion through the photography and film exhibitions, leads to the live dance performance, and flows back into the gallery. The eye will see dance in both 2D and 3D shapes and movement, with each perspective coming from a different artist.
CONTEXT runs May 11-13 in the upstairs gallery of Winter Street Studios. This interactive format engages audiences and offers many ways of looking at the human body in movement: through photography by Sil Azevedo and Lorie Garcia, film by Lydia Hance, live performance by Frame Dance Productions and music by Charles Halka.
Cortney Piper, who will lead the discussion in the gallery, has worked with the Dallas Museum of Art, the Meadows Museum, and is currently at the University of South Carolina. Piper specializes in audience engagement in art, making the discussion of art approachable for all—from children, to seasoned arts aficionados, to first-time participants. All artists will be at the event to engage with audiences.
That’s CONTEXT. So while Sil and Adriana were here, we scoured Houston for sites for his upcoming photo shoot which will make up all or part of his CONTEXT exhibition and spent some time in the event venue to soak in all the possibilities of installation of the exhibit. Sil is based in Dallas, so after seeing parts of the dance, hearing the music, and listening to me talk just a little bit about my choreogoraphy, he gave me some concepts and ideas he wants to play with in his photography of the dance. I arranged for several site visits, and now he is deciding which place(s) will make the final cut.
I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited for a Frame Dance event. Come absorb the art, because at a Frame Event, we’ll never seat belt you into a dark theater. Walk, mingle, see, discuss, and fall in love.
This week’s “Links We Like” is brought to you by Cortney Piper, who comes to us from the world of visual arts. She is an educator, facilitator, and advocate for the arts and specializes in integrating digital arts into student curriculum. She’s a perfect match for our Links We Like. And she just happens to be my best friend. Pay special attention to these links today:
Cortney’s Links She Likes:
Dr. Henry Jenkins, Provost Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, speaking on on digital media’s role in creating opportunities:
Sir Ken Robinson, PhD, author of Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative (2001) and The Element: Finding Your Passion Changes Everything(2009), art educator and leader in the development of creativity, innovation, and human resources, speaking on collaboration and creativity in the 21st century:
Dr. Ronald W. Neperud, former Professor of Art and Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, addressing the crisis of contemporary art curriculum, presented on artist and leading art educator, Olivia Gude’s, Spiral Workshop Website, an online resource for art teachers to share innovative approaches to curriculum developed by research projects out of the University of Illinois in Chicago Art Education Program where she is a professor:
Cortney Piper is currently completing her Masters in Art Education and Arts Teaching Certification at the University of South Carolina, where her research focus on the integration of digital media within art curriculum to empower students’ participation in and creation of popular visual culture. She teaches art to a wide range of students in both school and community settings, including a hands-on media literacy class for undergraduate students, film and animation workshops for the Girls Juvenile Arbitration program, afterschool art classes for at-risk 4th grade girls, and summer art camps for four to seven year olds. Piper advocates strongly the need of arts education to embrace new media in a dance between student relevancy, process focus, artist intentionality, and social participation.
I guess I’m on a TED kick this morning. Always a great place to look for inspiration. Here’s another very important TED talk by Glenn Lowry, Director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, who discusses the trend toward performance art and the rise of the individual.
I just recently found out about SkyNova which is the internet TV show featuring Culture Warriors in their native habitat and is co-hosted by Sydney Skybetter & Tim Cynova— two men you should know about.
This is their great interview of Amy Fitterer of Dance/USA. I am thrilled to be going to the conference this summer in San Francisco. Who else will be there?
Here’s a few minutes of our rehearsal on Thursday. We are preparing for a full throttle dance, film, photography gallery event in May— you must come. It will be ravishing. It’s called CONTEXT.
Here we are mid-process. Love this stage when the dancers aren’t quite comfortable yet, and they’re hustling to get it done. I think the magic is lost when a dancer is completely comfortable. I’m always changing things on them…every show is different, keeping them alive in their performance. It’s a beautiful fury. Here’s the clip from rehearsal: