PDP explores local dance history & next generation of dancers


Philadelphia Dance Projects (PDP) announced its second annual dance series, Philadelphia Dance Projects Presents 2010, to be held February 26 – March 20. Following 2009’s highly successful inaugural series, this year’s presentation highlights trends in contemporary dance by offering a look back and a look ahead. The series will feature performances, film events, workshops, discussions and more by renowned independent dance artists and companies, including the work of both Philadelphia talent and visiting choreographers from around the country.

PDP Presents 2010 will showcase thematic, multigenerational programming, pairing the next wave of contemporary dance artists making their mark in 2010 with influential figures from the 1970s and 1980s Philadelphia dance scene.  Philadelphia and Pennsylvania-based artists include Michael Biello and Dan Martin; Jano Cohen; PDP’s Executive Director Terry Fox; collaborators Lisa Kraus, Vicky Shick and Eva Karczag who will present the World Premiere of Red Thread with Meg Foley, Gabrielle Revlock and Michelle Tantoco; Megan Mazarick, and Kate Watson-Wallace, among others. Visiting artists include Body Cartography (Olive Bieringa and Otto Ramstad) and Chris Yon of Minneapolis; New York City-based artist Ishmael Houston Jones; and Jacinta Vlach / Liberation Dance Theatre of San Francisco.

The 2010 series offers an array of stimulating and provocative programs, from the Local Dance History Project which looks at the rise of contemporary dance in Philadelphia, to Next Up which will present work by some of the freshest emerging choreographers, to dance on film with Motion Pictures, and the mobile showcase SCUBA National Touring Network for Dance which taps the country’s finest up-and-coming talent.

“PDP’s 2009 series, our first, was a wonderful success, with sold-out performances, thought-provoking dance and enthusiastic audiences,” says Terry Fox, Executive Director of Philadelphia Dance Projects and curator of the series. “With PDP Presents 2010, Philadelphia Dance Projects continues to provide a much-needed presenting platform for independent dance artists and small companies. We are working to enrich and sustain an audience for contemporary dance in Philadelphia and to facilitate a conversation about where we’ve been and how that influences where we’re going in contemporary dance.”

Through the Local Dance History Project, the series will provide an informative look at the development of contemporary dance in Philadelphia by showcasing the work of five dance and movement artists who were among the first to explore post modern, improvisation and performance genres in the city during the late 1970s and early 80s. In 1980, dancers Michael Biello and Dan Martin, Jano Cohen, PDP’s Terry Fox, and Ishmael Houston JonesDance & Dancers, a sold-out presentation at the Harold Prince Theater at the Annenberg Center for Performing Arts. Now, in PDP Presents 2010, these five dancers will reunite to revisit and reconstruct their work, which will be performed by young Philadelphia dance artists. were featured in

“The urgency is upon us to deliver some sort of semblance, flavor, and temper of those times to a new generation of artists and to contemporary dance audiences,” says Fox. “I hope the Local Dance History Project will answer some of the questions I frequently get from younger artists who are curious about what ‘came before’ in the Philly dance scene.”

Local Dance History Project performers include Navild Acosta, Theresa R. Cermanski, Meg Foley, Bethany Formica Bender, Greg Holt, John Luna, Megan Mazarick, Scott McPheeters, Heather Murphy, Jodi Obeid, Gabrielle Revlock, William Robinson, and Alie Vidich.

The program will also include The Local Dance History Project Forum, with a dance class led by project artists, and a panel discussion and presentation of archival video clips, photos, flyers, and more. The panel will include the dance artists featured in the project, along with Jeff Cain, musician, playwright and performance artist and co-founder of Old City Arts; Gerry Givnish, visual artist and co-founder of the Painted Bride Art Center; and Bruce Schimmel, journalist, founder of Philadelphia City Paper, and editor of Dance Dialog, a journal of critical writing circa 1980.

With the Next Up program, PDP Presents continues to look ahead by presenting new work from an inquisitive younger generation of artists who are widening the definition of contemporary dance. Curated by Philadelphia-based dance writer and artist Anna Drozdowski, Next Up will feature Chris Yon of Minneapolis, with additional artists to be announced.

In the spirit of exploring the relationships between generations of dancers, the series will also feature the World Premiere of Red Thread, a collaborative dance made by Lisa Kraus, Vicky Shick and Eva Karczag. The three choreographers have a longstanding history of collaboration, beginning in the late 1970s, including dancing together in the Trisha Brown Dance Company. A cross-generational piece, Red Thread pairs the trio with emerging Philadelphia-based dancer/choreographers Meg Foley, Gabrielle Revlock and Michelle Tantoco.

The dance film series Motion Pictures, which in previous years has been presented by Philadelphia Dance Projects as a stand-alone series, will now be offered in conjunction with PDP Presents. Now in its 9th year, Motion Pictures explores how film and video serve as a natural collaborative medium for dance, highlighting the power of image and motion in both. The series will preview Everywhere, an online video project by Philadelphia-based choreographer Kate Watson-Wallace, and a special showing of Beyond the Mainstream, the rarely seen PBS Dance in America series featuring postmodern, avant-garde dancers from 1980. The series will be presented in partnership with the Dance With Camera exhibition, now on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania.

Artists chosen for this year’s SCUBA National Touring Network for Dance include Megan Mazarick (Philadelphia), Jacinta Vlach / Liberation Dance Theatre (San Francisco), and Body Cartography (Minneapolis) featuring Olive Bieringa and Otto Ramstad. SCUBA National Touring Network for Dance, now in its eighth year, is a co-operative enterprise which supports the growth and expansion of the country’s next generation of contemporary dance artists through touring and the development of relationships with other artists and presenters. The consortium of sister cities includes Philadelphia Dance Projects, SCUBA founders Velocity Dance Center of Seattle, ODC Theater in San Francisco and The Southern Theater in Minneapolis. From the beginning, SCUBA has met the ambitious goal of supporting tours for regionally established and nationally emerging artists to and from the participating cities.

Most Philadelphia Dance Projects Presents events will be held at The Performance Garage (1515 Brandywine Street), with additional events at Temple University’s Conwell Dance Theater (Broad Street & Montgomery Avenue). The Motion Pictures series will be held at the International House (3901 Chestnut Street). Tickets to all PDP Presents dance performances are $20. Motion Pictures film events are $8. All Access Passes and discounts for multiple ticket buyers will be offered. Tickets to all series events will be available for purchase online at www.danceboxoffice.com or by phone at (215) 546-2552.

Philadelphia Dance Projects (PDP) supports contemporary dance through projects that encourage artists and audiences to more fully participate and engage in the experience and pursuit of dance as an evolving form. PDP began as a three-year mentoring project (1993-95) under the aegis of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and was established as an independent organization in 1996. PDP achieves its mission by presenting stimulating performances, workshops, classes, a film series, and dialogs and forums for artists, aspiring artists, students and a broad-based audience. PDP launched the Philadelphia Dance Projects Presents series in 2009 and continues with its second presentation from February 26 – March 20, 2010.  PDP constantly surveys the contemporary dance world, keeping a close eye on current trends in content and style, while actively engaging in and appreciating the depth of work being created today which plumbs dance precursors’ traditions. For more information about Philadelphia Dance Projects, visit www.philadanceprojects.org.