Brilliant Possibilities

Brilliant Possibilities

Frame | Work Houston Hot Spots

Houston’s Hot Ticket this weekend shines on screens city-wide

Join Frame Dance in Celebrating 10 Years of the Houston Cinema Arts Festival, held November 8-12 at multiple venues in Houston

Viewing the one minute teaser video of upcoming screenings for the Houston Cinema Arts Festival 2018 program, you glimpse infinity, the teetering moment, and the glow of hope.

 

The program in this, the tenth anniversary of the pioneering festival, is characteristically stellar and far-reaching. Offerings range from the local (Invisible City: Houston’s Housing Crisis; Citizen Blue; A Dazed and Confused Cinema Arts Celebration), to the regional (The Low Turn Row; Jaddoland), to the cosmic (the CineSpace program co-sponsored by NASA).  Are you ready for the latest films from Alfonso Cuarón and Julian Schnabel? Want to spend time with Maria Callas or Vincent Van Gogh? Wondering what Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen have been up to? How about Natalie Portman? Want to see both 2D and 3D Jonathan Lessem? Would you like to blend film with live musical performance (A Thousand Thoughts; The Ancient Law)? Are you into found images and creative reuse aka the actual meaning of “montage” (Bathtubs Over Broadway; Imaging Actors; Love and the Epiphanists)? Ready for a virtual reality film experience (Queerskins: A Love Story; 360 Cinema)?

 

My friends, this is a pre-Thanksgiving smorgasboard for eyes and minds. Prepare to be stuffed. Seriously. There are so many dishes on this table that I haven’t mentioned. Read the full menu here.

 

Wait! You love dance, right? And dancers with enormous passion and empathy and vision? Join me to view Moving Stories at 10 AM, Monday, November 12, at the MFAH Brown Auditorium. Like almost a dozen other offerings in the festival, this screening is FREE. See you there.

All images courtesy of Houston Cinema Arts Society

Forces of Movement

Forces of Movement

Frame | Work News & Updates

Core Dance Opens Human Landscapes Tonight at Harrisburg Art Museum

Travel. Attach. Separate. Expand. Contract. Lean. Turn. Fall. The movements of the body are also the movements of peoples, communities, cultures, and both domains are investigated by Core Dance in choreographer Germana Civera’s conceptual dance piece Human Landscapes, performed October 25, 26, and 27 at Harrisburg Art Museum in Houston’s Second Ward.

 

In Human Landscapes, Civera confronts the effects of migration both on the body and culture of the exiled and on the people and areas they contact and influence, inspired by the artist’s familial history of exile from Francoist Spain. Civera is part of the generation that had roots in a more democratic republic of Spain but came of age during the decades of Fascism when those who disagreed with Franco’s ultra-conservative nationalism either left Spain – carrying their influence to Europe, Africa, and the Americas – or went into an “internal exile” of quiet resistance in their increasingly repressive and artistically sterile homeland. It is easy to see why Civera, who resides in France, has developed sophisticated ideas about why and how one moves, and what results from those movements. It is easy also to see why these ideas are of critical importance for us as viewers today.

 

Civera is an artist whose work happens actively both on and off stage, and for whom collaboration, mutual influence, is paramount. She has worked with dancers, writers, visual artists, and musicians in her repertoire, and in Human Landscapes she brings fellow French musician and composer Didier Aschour into the process with rich, panoramic music composed especially for this piece.

 

We Houstonians are lucky to share Core Dance with Altanta, GA, under the capable and eminently creative leadership of Co-Founder and Artistic Director Sue Schroeder, Company Manager D. Patton White, and Executive Director Elizabeth Labbe-Webb. Happy 39th Season, friends!

 

We Framers are especially excited to see our own Rocket Repass, dancer in the Frame Dance Youth Ensemble, perform in Human Landscapes. Congratulations, Rocket, and break a leg!

 

Be Advised: this performance contains prolonged periods of full adult nudity.

 

Photo by Simon Gentry

Your Specific and Inventive Take on a Drumroll, Please!

Your Specific and Inventive Take on a Drumroll, Please!

News & Updates Uncategorized

Frame Dance Productions Announces 2018 Composer Competition Winners

The selected musicians join an illustrious list of composers whose works debuted with Lydia Hance’s choreography in performances on screen, on stage, and even on Houston’s MetroRail. The Houston arts community waits with bated breath, eager eyes, and expectant ears for the union of Frame Dance with the following composers and compositions.

Congratulations to…

Karl Blench for Axiom

Karl Blench is a composer and conductor who holds degrees from Rice University and the University of New Hampshire. His music has been performed throughout the United States, Asia, Europe, and Cuba. Most recently, his work “Axiom” as well as several of his arrangements for string quartet were toured throughout China by the Axiom Quartet.  He has been the recipient of the Indianapolis Symphony Prize, and an ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award. When not writing, Karl can be found stuck in Houston traffic, discussing wine, or brewing beer.

Daniel Harrison for Breathing, Being

Cincinnati-based composer Daniel Harrison (b.1987) writes music that is recognizable for its poetic melodic and harmonic expressiveness. His works are characterized by uniquely striking combinations of instrumental colors and unfolding linear forms. His music has been performed by numerous outstanding performers and ensembles such as members of Fifth House Ensemble, Del Sol String Quartet, Columbus Ohio Discovery Ensemble, Iktus Percussion Ensemble, All of the Above, the CCM Chorale, and Hypercube. In 2015 and 2017, he was a finalist for ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award. In 2015 he was awarded a commission to compose a new work for chorus and electronics for a recording project for the CCM chorale. He was recently named the Ohio Music Teachers Association’s commissioned composer for 2016. Recently his piece “Sometimes My Arms Bend Back” was selected from a call for scores for performance at the upcoming 2018 Contemporary Music Festival at the University of Tennessee at Martin. He currently is an Adjunct Professor of Music at the University of Northern Kentucky.

Joshua Hey for lensflare

Joshua Hey is a composer living in Philadelphia as a PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. His music has been commissioned and performed by the Daedalus Quartet, ICE, Ensemble Dal Niente, PRISM, Omaha Symphony, Quatuor Bozzini, Bearthoven, Variant 6, and Marilyn Nonken, among others. The work has been presented through MATA, Time of Music—Musiikin aika, June in Buffalo, the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, RED NOTE, and as composer-in-residence at ICon Arts in Sibiu, Romania.  In 2014-15, he was a visiting scholar at the Sibelius Academy on a Jane and Aatos Erkko fellowship from the American-Scandinavian Foundation.

 

Houston Hotspots

Houston Hotspots

Houston Hot Spots

Sometimes I say I’m Houston’s number one fan. I love that it’s a place where people can not only dream big, but that others will come alongside and help. I love that it is down to earth, without an air of pretension. Houstonians work hard and they work hard together. We care more about our reality and our future than our reputation. In Houston Hotspots, we will shed light on places, people, organizations, companies that we think are really special. Because Frame Dance is so collaborative, we’ve had the opportunity to work with so many incredible people we think you should know about.

Ready for our first list?

  1. Composer Charles Halka. Our second year winner of the Composer Competition, and we have since collaborated (I believe) three more times. He is as patient and kind as he is brilliant. Technically, he doesn’t live in Houston anymore, but I’ll over look that.
  2. Axiom Quartet. We prioritize new music, and that means we do a lot with live music. I am a sucker for a string quartet (hint for submitting composers), but it’s honestly hard to find an ensemble that is excellent, cohesive, and game for my crazy ideas. (Hey, Axiom, want to dress up like this performance is your 80s prom? Hey, Axiom, want to work on a chance piece where you will only see one measure of music at a time during the performance? Hey, Axiom, want to play this ridiculously hard piece?) They are cheerful collaborators and incredibly accomplished musicians.
  3. Horse Head Theatre. I have worked as a choreographer and movement coach with this theatre company three times. I am thankful for how much they have pushed my creative process. Horse Head makes theater in Houston that stirs my insides and leaves me questioning my limits on live performance. We are working with them on Advance Man, come see it October 8.

I could go on and on and on, so good thing this is a recurring column.

-LH

Lydia Hance Interview – Part 2

Lydia Hance Interview – Part 2

Interviews

Interviewer: Kerri Lyons Neimeyer

Interviewee: Lydia Hance

K: How did you become interested in dance film? What was your entry into that? Because I think most dancers, especially early on, think about being on stage and that is what they think of producing for. Although, you’re right that screens are ubiquitous now, so it does make a lot of sense that you would use that in the service of dance if you can.

L: I think I was drawn to dance film because I am so interested in and drawn to dance in other environments. I mean, I can’t always take an audience to where I want to make a dance. It allows me to offer things about dance that you can’t really get on the stage. For example, getting really close to a dancer. I mean, you can get close in small venues, but I’m talking really close. What if you want to see a wrinkle on somebody’s face? Also, the beauty of editing allows for the brain and the eye to see dance in a different way. You can tell a different story because you can make things happen really quickly; you can change location; you can change how you are seeing a dancer. A lot can be told through the choreography of editing. Oh, and another thing, you can ask a dancer to do things infinity times when you’re going back on a video. The human body gets tired. When I’m with the dancers and we’re working on something, I have to ask them to “do it again. Do it again. Do it again.” I don’t have any trouble asking a dancer on the screen to do it again while I watch it, and go through it, and get really focused and detail oriented. When you’re dealing with something that is recorded, there’s just more capacity to focus on detail.

And textures. I am so drawn to textures. And colors. And use of light. There is an importance to the theater, I mean, live performance is magical in a way that screened dance can never be. But screen dance does offer a lot in terms of storytelling, and tricks of the camera, and location. I would say number one, it fulfills my desire to make dance in a space that I couldn’t bring people to.

K: I am going to ask you to talk about the Frame Dance vision and what it essentially is; the ideas and beliefs that hold all of these things together, from the Little Framers to the film fest, from the times of hard work to the times of applause. What is it that runs through all of it that makes Frame what it is?

L: I’m trying to hold on to those things right now because I always get really nervous before the beginning of a season. I hear lies in my head, you know? Like, “Why are you doing this?” And I keep coming back to this idea that everybody is and can be an adventurous mover, and that when we dance, we become better humans. What keeps me going is seeing people’s lives change, or shift. Seeing their hearts open. I grew up in a very technical, career-bound dance environment, which equipped me to do what I’m doing. But there were a lot of times when my heart was pulled out of my body, it felt like. I was constantly asking myself, “Am I good enough? Do I have what it takes? Are they going to like me?” I want to help people get their heart back in their bodies and move. And then to use that movement to find out more about themselves, about who they were made to be. All with the belief that they don’t need to change who they are to be a dancer. I mean, technically we want to grow, but, dance is this gift, and I want everyone to experience it. I think that in a lot of ways dance has become for a select few, and that makes me really sad. We find out so much about who we are and the world that we live in through moving and through dancing. This is how we are on earth; we are in a body. The capacity for the body to move and do these incredible things, small or big, changes how we think, changes how we see each other, and it changes how we feel about ourselves. When I walk out of MultiGen on Saturdays, I see people who have found out who they are again. Dance has the power to do that. I have to remember that that’s the work. When I get discouraged, or things don’t seem to be going in a way that I think that they should be going, or things seem a lot harder than they should be, I have to remember to trust the work itself. One really great example of this happened after I had Micah. When I was pregnant, I just didn’t feel good. I moved, but I didn’t like moving. I didn’t like being pregnant. And then I broke my tailbone during delivery. So, after delivery, I just felt awful. All you’re doing is sitting down and nursing with a newborn, and I couldn’t even sit down without being in unbelievable pain. Then I went to this workshop with Anna Halprin when Micah was about 40 days old. So, I flew out to California to go to this workshop, and I remember we were doing all of these very simple human movement things, and I was there but also sleep deprived. I danced and I moved as much as I could. And then there was a part of the workshop when we started activating our voices in order to inform our movement, and we started humming. It was the smallest movement, but we started doing it at the very base of our pelvis, and with just that tiny movement from humming down where my tailbone is, I felt it starting to heal. It was like, “Oh, yeah. I can trust dance. I can trust the work.” And it’s not just me. It’s me, and this community gathering around this really powerful thing called dance. When I remember that, when I remember that it’s healing – for myself, too – I remember that there’s a reason why.

K: It makes me think, too, about how it is in everybody. It’s so natural. With Micah you probably learned all over again just how born with it we are; how we are born with movement, and rhythm, and expression through non-purposeful movement, which is dance. Like, not reaching for the ball, but moving to move.

L: Yeah, so the next summer I started doing this thing called Daily Dances because I was trying to figure out how to dance in my everyday life. I talk about how dance should be in everybody’s life, so I was like, “OK, Lydia, do that. Do that yourself! Don’t just encourage other people to.” I started out for a month, every day doing something in my life where I was just dancing, or I was dancing to accomplish another task, moving my body, I guess like you’re saying, in a non-purposeful way, or in the least direct way. Now it’s pretty awesome because Micah is like, “Mommy, dance! Mommy, my dance! Mommy, let’s dance.” He asks for it, and I don’t know why I’m surprised. I love that it’s part of him, that it’s part of his experience growing up. When he’s really excited he starts dancing around, or I’ll turn around and he’s doing something creative with his body. But I also wonder when he’s thirty and starts telling stories about how he would walk outside and his mother is rolling around in the grass, and what kind of implications that’s going to have. Hopefully good.

K: Any last things?

L: I want everyone to know that they are welcome. We want them to be a part of our community, whether it’s in a movement class or dance class, little child, pregnant mom, youth, mom with a sixteen year-old. BOYS. Men. Everybody’s welcome. There’s no pre-req for what we do. We believe that dance is for everybody and that there are a lot of ways to do that. Dance is life-giving and brings joy. Moving the body does incredible things for the heart and the mind. I just want everybody to dance.

Relaunch of Frame|Work [Blog]

Relaunch of Frame|Work [Blog]

News & Updates

Hello, and welcome to Frame|Work, the revamped blog representing Frame Dance Productions. I am Kerri Lyons Neimeyer, and I sit on the board and dance in the Multi-Generational Ensemble. I am also involved in the new blog formatting. We intend this blog to be a connection and a frame (get it?!) of reference for content on modern dance, dance education, arts events in Houston, and other topics that uplift us here at Frame Dance.

Let me tell you why I am involved with this dance company, and give you an idea of the work we wish to share with our community.

In 2006 Kurt Vonnegut declined a request to speak at a New York high school by sending a letter of thanks that included the message he would have delivered in person. “To wit,” writes Vonnegut, “Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or how badly, not to get money or fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.”

Executive and Artistic Director of Frame Dance Productions Lydia Hance is of the Vonnegut school of arts practice. In her interview for the initial post of Frame|Work, Lydia says:

I want to help people get their heart back in their bodies, and use that to move, and to find out more about themselves, about who they were made to be, about understanding each other, with the understanding and the belief that they don’t need to change who they are to be better dancers. I mean, technically we want to grow and everything, but dance is this gift, and I want everyone to experience it. I think that in a lot of ways dance has become for a select few, and that makes me really sad because we find out so much about who we are and the world that we live in through moving and through dancing. This is how we are on earth; we are in a body. The capacity for the body to move, and do incredible things, small or big, changes how we think, changes how we see each other, and it changes how we feel about ourselves (emphasis added).

Lydia is more generous than Kurt Vonnegut. I am not. I practice arts because I discovered that these practices enrich and satisfy me; they make my soul grow. And, for the most part, I practice arts as an amateur, which is to say that I do it for love of the practice or field, not for mastery of the practice or field. Lydia, on the other hand, is a degree-holding, working dance artist who is respected, celebrated, and promoted by her peers. She created a professional company to realize her vision of artistic production, and then, seeing a need, she developed curricula for dance education with the same open yet specific spirit as her performance practice. Do you see in the quotes above how Lydia took the idea of practising art for self-discovery, for soul-growing, and expanded it to include community, the connection and interaction of souls, and the kind of understanding about oneself and one’s world that can only come from practices that are communal? Dance is a gift, and it can grow souls, and it can grow communities. This is what Frame Dance Productions offers its dancers, professional and amateur. This is what I get out of being a Framer. I hope you will join us; in classes, in audiences, and in our social media communications, which includes this re-imagined blog. Talk to us, here and anywhere. Be part of the community, part of the communication. Build this Frame|Work with us.

Looking ahead, Frame|Work will feature more interviews with Framers from the professional company, dance classes, youth and multi-generational ensembles, as well as behind-the-scenes folks and what I like to call Frame-adjacent creatives and professionals. There will be articles about the arts working in people, in education, and in the community. It will also offer a curated look at Houston-specific happenings, and some of our favorite places on the World Wide Web. Let us know what you like. Let us know what you need. We look forward to working with you.

Lydia Hance Interview – Part 1

Lydia Hance Interview – Part 1

Interviews

Interviewer: Kerri Lyons Neimeyer

Interviewee: Lydia Hance

Kerri: Lydia, tell us what’s going on with Frame. What are you working on? What are you excited about?

Lydia: Well, I just had a conversation with Laura Gutierrez, who is going to come on board with the youth ensemble, and [will be] teaching the Junior Framers with me. That makes a trio of Jennifer Mabus, Laura Gutierrez, and myself. I feel excited about that program and what we’re offering kids, because I think it is something that is not  happening anywhere else. We have the best of the best professionals working with them, and that’s not a common thing, to get these experienced professionals working with kids in a program that’s just a little bit out of the ordinary. We’ve been talking about making makers. I think that’s such a beautiful way of putting it. They’re also getting photography from Lynn Lane, and costume design from Ashley Horn, and repertory from Jennifer Mabus’ professional dance experiences. I’m really pumped about the future of that program. I am so thrilled for the students, and also to be working with them to build this program, because I don’t think a post-modern maker’s dance program is out there, especially not in Houston. I’m collaborating to discover what is possible with these really smart, creative kids. Because, we don’t want to put them in a box, and we want to bring them the highest level of teaching and education, but do it in a way that opens doors for them, and opens their creativity and their exploration, and their technique, and doesn’t necessarily send them all down one path.

And then the film festival. I’ve had a lot of fun curating that with Rosie Trump, and creating these three distinct film programs. So, the first night is going to be called “Cozy,” and it is dance films that center around the idea of intimacy and moving towards or away, emotionally. It’s also in our coziest setting at the Ronin Art House, which is a more intimate performance space. The second program is the slightly more “Experimental” – I had a really hard time unpacking this word – films. I would say there is a lot of play with techniques of editing, techniques of the camera, techniques of movement, trying to open up new ways of seeing dance on film. Then the third evening, I’m calling “Silken,” and the films are slightly more mysterious, and there’s a lustre to these films. There are a few documentaries on there, so it’s a peek inside someone else’s world. In each film you dive into a different, sometimes a really different, environment. I’m really excited about that, and about bringing in filmmakers to Houston. We have a filmmaker, Paris Wages, who is coming from Australia. And we have Rosie Trump, who is coming from Reno, Nevada. We have Jennifer Terazzi-Scully coming from North Carolina, and Jordan Fuchs who’s coming from Denton, and Alexandra Mannings from Alabama, who all have films on this program. We’re going to be able to offer panels, and ask them questions, and have more interaction with audiences. Dance film is kind of a niche thing, and I want to make it accessible because, I think, in the end it is an accessible medium. It’s a familiar context and format for the average person because we’re so used to screens. I want to give more artistic insight from the filmmakers because they’re all so different, to help people dive in a bit more to feel really comfortable, and enjoy the festival.