Interviews with the Artists of nEW Festival

Special Thanks to: Emaleigh Doley, Canary Promotions
Three Interviews  with nEW Artists –
Olive Prince Dance, Jeffrey Gunshol, Jen McGinn

oliveprince
OLIVE PRINCE DANCE

nEW Performance Schedule: Thursday, June 4 at 7:00 PM + Saturday, June 6 at 7:00 PM in a shared program with Charles O. Anderson / Dance Theatre X – $15

Emaleigh – You were selected to be a presenting nEW Festival artist and have been working on developing your new work over the past year. What has your experience been like working with the Festival?

Olive – The Festival has been a tremendous gift for exploration and community. When I began working as a nEW artist I experimented with another piece (Old Girl, New) and worked on that intention for over a year and half. This year I started working with another idea and OUT began to develop. I decided to use this inspiration to begin something new. I’ve been working with my dancers on this material for the last 10 weeks. And although it feels quick, I believe we are on to something. The nEW Festival has really been about my process and taking risks.

The nEW Festival has given me the space and support to create from my artistic mission and vision. Making art can be a process that is very isolating. For me, the nEW Festival creates a community that enhances the work of artists by encouraging us to interact in one space. This leads to supporting one another’s work, pushing boundaries, and learning from our colleagues.

Emaleigh Can you tell us more about your nEW Festival premiere of OUT? Did any particular event or image inspire the creation of this work?

Olive – OUT came from visual images. The piece is divided into two distinct works, Serenade and once i lived in a cardboard portal. The two pieces are not meant to be connected, but relate in theme and intention, blending the lines between reality and make-believe and OUTward appearances and inside realities.

once i lived in a cardboard portal was inspired from the image of living inside a suit. I used a business suit and attached a hanger that is above the dancer’s head. The result is an image of an inhuman, headless creature wearing a business suit. I was inspired to see what I could do with this image and what its’ potential is. Lately, I’ve been working with visual images and then trying to let the “story” or intention [to] unfold from researching the movement potential.

EmaleighWhat is your favorite part of OUT?

Olive  – I believe this is the first instillation of OUT. I think it will take on different forms and continue to be developed. So, in this instillation, my favorite part is the unexpected moments. Serenade is a duet for two women and it is about intimacy and violence simultaneously. I tried to present contrasting images throughout the piece and it resulted in moments of unexpected timing and relationships.

EmaleighPhiladelphia has a thriving performing arts scene and cultural community, and the nEW Festival plays a role in that. What are some of the benefits of living and working in Philadelphia and how does the city contribute to your artistic vision?

Olive – I am a big fan of the Philadelphia artistic community. I feel that the artists in this community are asking questions and pushing themselves to continually evolve. That makes me a better artist. My goal is to be a contributing member of this community. That means I go out and support the work my colleagues are making, I give my opinion, and I continue to create my work. This community is rich with opportunity for creative exchange and dialog.  I feel fortunate to have a community of artists to live in.


gunshol
JEFFREY GUNSHOL

nEW Performance Schedule: Friday, June 5 at 7:00 PM + Saturday, June 6 at 9:00 PM in a shared program with Jaamil Olawale Kosoko – $15

EmaleighYou were selected to be a presenting nEW Festival artist and have been working on developing your new work over the past year. What has your experience been like working with the Festival?

Jeffrey – It has been an engaging and invigorating process filled with challenges and triumphs. To take dance class, rehearse, and get artistic feedback with such a variety of artists is a wonderful gift and luxury. I have reconnected with one of the first dancers who inspired me (Nora Gibson) and we have formed a very close personal and artistic relationship. I also got a chance to work with some of my students from Baltimore and give them a chance to be part of a professional atmosphere. Though my young students must attend their graduations in lieu of the nEW performance it was so nice to watch them maintain their ground and be beautiful performers in the context of nEW.

EmaleighCan you tell us more about your nEW Festival premiere of Rite of Spring? Did any particular event or image inspire the creation of this work?

Jeffrey – I have come full circle in my creative research and have delved deeper into a duet I originally made. One thing I believe I try to embrace every day is in the midst of our sacrifices and loss we must remember to celebrate life, something that the City of New Orleans has shown me and I am forever changed.

EmaleighWhat is your favorite part of Rite of Spring?

Jeffrey – The historical power of the work has always intrigued me. I certainly hope no one throws tomatoes but if they do it would be nice to be in history books.

EmaleighYou are based in New Orleans. How does the city contribute to your artistic vision and what has your experience been like working in Philadelphia?

Jeffrey – New Orleans is a city that embraces death by celebrating life and has captured my heart in addition to influencing my work. Go-cups all around is what I say. I have loved working in Philadelphia. It is such a great artistic community filled with people who truly care about their craft and process. This has been a wonderful experience.

About Rite of Spring
New Orlean’s based dancer Jeffrey Gunshol will present Rite of Spring, a dance performance which explores the sacrifices we make as a society and as individuals of a larger community. In Rite of Spring, a village sacrifices a young virgin to ensure their success in the spring. The young woman must dance herself to death for the larger good of her community.


mcginn
JEN McGINN

nEW Performance Schedule: DanceHouse – Saturday, June 3 at 3:00 PM + 7:00 PM – $10

EmaleighYou were selected to be an incoming nEW Festival artist and have been working on developing new work. What has your experience been like working with the Festival so far?

Jen – My experiences have been very productive. Simply having a consistent space to work in allowed me to create this piece with five amazing dancers. Participating in classes and even just seeing people eating lunch outside the studio before and after rehearsals allows for a greater sense of community. I have really enjoyed watching the work of other choreographers in nEW Festival and receiving feedback.

EmaleighCan you tell us more about your performance of Naughty Bits at the nEW Festival’s Dance House program? Did any particular event or image inspire the creation of this work?

Jen – Naughty Bits implements age-old dichotomies of good vs. evil and the individual vs. the group through the lens of fantasy. Similarly composed as an allegory, the classic children’s novels: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, were the primary source of inspiration. Sounds of the ’60’s, including music by Bob Dylan, Harry Nilsson, and Otis Redding, create the familiar auditory environment. The underlying vulgarities of the mundane and the loaded concepts: “morals”, “values” and “self-expression” are examined through movement abstraction and by queering formal compositional structures.

EmaleighWhat is your favorite part of Naughty Bits?

Jen – The work is comprised of several carefully crafted sections, each one essential in the journey of the piece. The performers and I have really enjoyed blending the use of fantasy and reality and questioning the embodiment of these ideas.

EmaleighPhiladelphia has a thriving performing arts scene and cultural community, and the nEW Festival plays a role in that. What are some of the benefits of living and working in Philadelphia and how does the city contribute to your artistic vision?

Jen – There are many supportive spaces in Philadelphia; places to rehearse and present shows. These spaces cover a vast area and cater to all different kinds of performances. Also, Philadelphia’s proximity to other major cities has enabled me to steadily work while also presenting my work to new audiences in New York and Virginia. I have really felt an amazing sense of support and a deep community through this festival.

About DanceHouse
As part of DanceHouse, upcoming nEW Artists will present short works or preview excerpts from their work in progress, which will be presented in the 2010 nEW Festival. Sarah Gladwin Camp will present Drift, a surreal adventure of a seedpod, while Jen McGinn performs the fantasy Naughty Bits, a journey through self-censorship. In To be… Guillermo Ortega Tanus presents a labyrinthine dance reflecting how social historic and economic changes impact the lives of normal people, as Dina-Verley Sabb-Mills performs spirit/song, a choreographic venture exploring her experiences as a woman of color, who loves life and lives with depression. In NUMBERS, Nora Gibson Performance Project takes on the conundrum of white-collar professionals in America and our relationship to numbers, ourselves and each other, while Abigail Zbikowski’s Penetration attempts to bridge, expand, and dissolve the distance between audience and performer through live noise and rock body movement.

newlogo
nEW Festival

www.newfestival.net
Premiere Performances: June 3 – 7
Community Classes &
Workshops: June 1 – 19

The dance-driven artist fueled nEW Festival produced by Melanie Stewart Dance Theatre celebrates its 6th season with a series of dance performances and community classes at the The University of the Arts (UArts) School of Dance.

From June 3 – 7 at the Drake (1512 Spruce Street), the Festival will showcase a week of premiere dance performances by nEW Artists Charles Anderson / dance theatre X, Eun Jung Choi-Gonzalez (Da•Da•Dance Project), Jeffrey Gunshol, Jaamil Kosoko (KOSOKO/perFORMance), Olive Prince Dance, Gabrielle Revlock and Melanie Stewart Dance Theatre. The nEW Festival will also feature daily community classes and workshops taught by nEW Artists from June 1 – 19 at the UArts Terra Building (211 South Broad Street).

Tickets + Venue Info: All performances will be held at the University of the Arts Dance Theater at the Drake, 1512 Spruce St (side entrance on Hicks St). All performances are $10 – $15. Tickets are available online at www.tix.com, by calling (215) 359-7775 or at the door.

nEW Festival: www.newfestival.net

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