Vervet Dance presents Semi-Composed: Metamorphosis, August 12th

In “Semi-Composed: Metamorphosis,” Philadelphia-based Vervet Dance director Loren Groenendaal with New York City-based pianist Melinda Faylor present structured improvisational compositions from the past decade of collaboration along the themes of metamorphosis and change. “Semi-Composed: Metamorphosis” will have two performances at The Performance Garage located at 1515 Brandywine St, Philadelphia, PA 19130 on Saturday, August 12, 2017 6 p.m. & 8 p.m.  Tickets are available at the door or through https://www.artful.ly/store/events/12683

“Semi-Composed: Metamorphosis” includes dance and music performance works that are partially set compositions and partially improvised in the moment, all playing with ideas of change. Groenendaal and Faylor will be presenting two larger works “SWARM!” (2012) and “… of changes” (2012) and and a solo dance work accompanied by prepared piano, “0.03 grams Cantharidin” (2009). This duo, “0.03 grams Cantharidin,” takes its inspiration from the “Spanish Fly” beetle, whose secretions have been distilled to create aphrodisiacs – sometimes with fatal consequences. … of changes comes to life through the use of the book “I Ching,” along with audience participation engaging in coin tosses, the musicians and dancers create the improvisational piece inspired by the ancient book. Metamorphosis is explored in a more literal sense in their work “SWARM!,” an improvisational game between dancers and musicians which explores ideas of swarm intelligence in choice making and leaderless movements. These longtime collaborators develop a creative vision together for each work, but they don’t hold onto it tightly; they allow themselves and their ensemble members to take some liberties in the moment, resulting in fresh and unique performances each time.

Also on this concert will be work by New York City-based composer and saxophonist Charles Waters with bassist Luke Stewart and Philadelphia-based contemporary modern dance artist and University of Arts Professor Curt Haworth. Vervet Dance’s ensemble will be completed by Philadelphia-based percussionist Julius Masri, New York City-based violinist Charlotte Munn-Wood, and several area contemporary dancers.

Dancer Loren Groenendaal and pianist Melinda Faylor have performed together in numerous venues throughout Maine, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania since 2006. They share parallel interests in Balinese gamelan, John Cage, improvisation, science, nature, visual art, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and audience participation. Their work became more collaboratively devised in 2009 when they first presented “0.03 grams Cantharidin” at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in a concert, On the Edge of Red. However, their history goes back to when they first met as freshman roommates in 1998 at Oberlin College and Conservatory. This seemingly random match by Residential Life Services turned out to be a fruitful pairing. Their mutual inspiration has deepened their personal and collaborative growth.

Biographies of Featured Artists

Loren Groenendaal earned an MFA in Choreography at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a BA in Dance and Visual Arts from Oberlin College, and is a Certified Movement Analyst, completing her training at the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies. She is a dancer, improviser, and the founder, artistic director, and choreographer for Philadelphia-based Vervet Dance. She is also a founding member of the Mascher Space Cooperative and the Impermanent Society of Philadelphia through which she has curated and produced multiple shows and festivals. “Semi-Composed: Metamorphosis” is a continuation in the series of Semi-Composed concerts that Groenendaal launched in January 2017. Her work has been supported by multiple venues and organizations on the east coast including the Biennial of Performance and Sound Art (MA), Frantasia (ME), Green Space Blooms (NYC), Inhale Series (PHL), Mascher Space Cooperative (PHL), Mosaic Dance Festival (NJ), North Carolina Dance Alliance Annual Event Choreographer’s Showcase, Philly Fringe Festival, StudioSeries (PHL), Red Room (MD) as well as being supported by residencies at the Abington Art Center (PA) and the CEC’s New Edge Mix (PHL). Loren builds unique movement vocabularies drawing from her experience with modern, Balinese, social, breakdance and contact improvisation. Her work investigates the community-building possibilities of live art, the spectrums between improvisation and composition and between ritual and performance, and the idea that humans are part of nature. She is a proponent of complexity, adaptability, and empathy.

Melinda Faylor is a Brooklyn-based pianist and multimedia collaborator/curator who enjoys working with dance, theater, puppetry, film, and electronics. She is involved in collaborations with dancer Loren Groenendaal and the Vervet Dance company, the Curiosity Cabinet, composer Sugar Vendil and singer Leighanne Saltsman. A graduate of Oberlin College and the Manhattan School of Music, Melinda is employed as organist/pianist for the Lutheran Church of Our Savior, as a freelance accompanist and soloist, and she maintains a private teaching studio. She has curated the festivals Get Your Gamel-On! (2011-2012), Cage Hop (2012), a festival in NYC celebrating the centennial of innovative American composer John Cage, and the Firehouse Space Two Piano Festival: Burning Pianos (2015).

Loren and Melinda often draw on their mutual interests in nature, Balinese music and dance, and the work of John Cage as inspiration for their contemporary aesthetic, resulting in percussive music and movement and a theatrical performance style with ritualistic connotations. Together, they have made multiple dance/music compositions together with varying degrees of structure and cast size. They have performed together in the Philadelphia area at the Performance Garage, Mascher Space Cooperative in “colorFULL,” “Fresh Juice,” and “Making the Rounds,” The H-O-T Series of Philadelphia, the Rigby Mansion produced by the Impermanent Society of Philadelphia and Vervet Dance, the Studio Series at Studio 34, Last Mondays at Broad Street Ministry, at for the Fall Experimental Music Festival, and Andrea Clearfield’s Salon; in New York City in Cage Hop, with Areté Ensemble at Church of Saint Paul and Saint Andrew, Music Mondays at Advent Lutheran Church, and in “Get Your Gamel-On!” at Greenwich House Music School; in Hamilton, New Jersey at Grounds for Sculpture in the Outlet Dance Project; in Washington DC in In the time Before I Knew You: Dances of Making Contact; in Greensboro, North Carolina at UNCG and in “SOUP” at the Guilford Grange; and in Maine at The Improvisation Festival in Penobscot and Frantasia in Livermore Falls.

Charles Waters, saxophonist and composer. Founding member of renowned avant jazz collective Gold Sparkle of Brooklyn, who have performed across the US and Europe . Leader of numerous groups Charles Waters Trio & Quartet. Recordings and performances with Gold Sparkle Trio, Band & Brass Band, Duo (with Andrew Barker), Nuzion Big Band, William Parker (Little Huey Orchestra), Matthew Shipp, Ken Vandermark, Thurston Moore, Sabir Mateen, Daniel Carter, Steven Dalachinsky (poet), Adam Rudolph, Butch Morris, Chris McIntyre, Nate McBride, Mick Rossi, Eugene Chadbourne, Andrew Bemkey, Matt Lavelle. Recent commissions and performances by SEM Ensemble, Anti-Social Music, TILT Brass Band, MATA Festival Orchestra, People’s String Quartet, Williamsburg Winds. Television and Film music includes works for “Iconoclasts” on the Sundance Channel, The New Actor’s Workshop (Present Elevation Company), WC#4 (Waters concert documentary). Playing and/or producing credits in rock/electronica Stars like Fleas, Oneida, The Silent League, Akron/Family.

Curt Haworth is an expatriate Californian who lived in New York City for twenty years before moving to Philadelphia in 2009. He holds a BA in Creative Writing from UC Santa Cruz and a MFA in Dance from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He has an eclectic movement background ranging from athletics to modern dance and postmodern techniques, to yoga, contact improvisation and ballet. Curt toured internationally with David Dorfman Dance from 1990 to 2002, while creating over 15 original roles. He was a Movement Research Artist in Residence in 2001-2002, he has taught regularly at Movement Research and DNA (formerly Dance Space Center) in NYC and the ADF. He has taught and set work as a guest artist throughout the United States, Europe, South America and Asia and is currently a Professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. His work has been shown in Philadelphia at the Annenberg Center, The Painted Bride, The Performance Garage, The CEC, PARD and various Fringe venues; and in NYC at The Danspace Project, LA MAMA, DNA, Symphony Space, Movement Research at the Judson Church, IFNY, Dixon Place, PS122, Metamorphosis, DanceNow, New Dance Alliance; as well as at: Rockland Community College, Bennington College July Program, and Tanecne Divadlo in Bratislava, Slovakia and the ADF.

More Detailed Descriptions of Featured Creative Works

“SWARM!” is a structured dance improvisation designed by Loren Groenendaal inspired by both the aleatoric interests and tonality of John Cage’s music as well as the swarming behavior of locusts. The original music is by Melinda Faylor. The dancers change from isolated creatures to more gregarious entities just as locusts become more sociable as their serotonin levels increase. The design of the dance structure follows the same pattern that the locusts inhabit. The improvisatory nature of the score encourages just enough chaos to keep this artwork present and more like the moment to moment reality in which the locusts live. Further, this blurring of art and life, presentation and presence is in keeping with interests of John Cage, a prolific artist of much inspiration for the artists behind “SWARM!,” Melinda Faylor (composer and pianist) and Loren Groenendaal (dance score designer and performer).

“… of changes” is an audience-interactive improvisational composition designed and performed by Melinda Faylor and Loren Groenendaal and other collaborators that uses the chance operations of coin tossing by audience members to select I Ching characters for interpretation by the performers. The I Ching characters are hexagrams (six-line characters) used in the ancient Chinese divination practice described in the Book of Changes (the I Ching), and represent a variety of ways in which changes can occur (in life, art, nature, society, etc.) and some inspiration or wisdom for how to navigate these changes. The performers interpret each hexagram character in several ways: the natural elements that make up that hexagram, the kind of change or narrative that it evokes, and the balance of yin/yang or receptivity and action.

“0.03 grams Cantharidin,” a solo dance work accompanied by prepared piano, takes its inspiration from the “Spanish Fly” beetle, whose secretions have been distilled to create aphrodisiacs- sometimes with fatal consequences. This dance work places the pest or the toxin as the central character whereas most exorcism stories highlight the narrative of the host person or organism. Mature audience members will likely see a toxic character trying to hold onto its pest or a human character flirting with danger and mystery, lusting for madness, or mad with lust. However, there is no graphic or nude content, so younger audience members are likely to perceive the metamorphosis or life cycle of insect from egg to larvae to climbing beetle to flying beetle to a mysterious fate waiting to unravel.


Vervet Dance

Semi-Composed: Metamorphosis
Saturday, August 12, 2017 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Runtime 75 minutes
The Performance Garage, 1515 Brandywine St, Philadelphia, PA 19130
TICKETS: $25 general; $15 student/artist/senior
Online at https://www.artful.ly/store/events/12683
At the door $30 | $20