A unique collaboration between Philadelphia’s dance and book arts community

Three pairings between local book artists and choreographers explore the unique challenge of how a book can become a dance.

Here[begin] Dance                 Ananda Connolly

Movement Brigade                 Rebecca Kelly

Stone Depot Dance Lab          Judith Robison

Three Philadelphia dance companies interpret  handcrafted and unique books, selected from many submissions by Philadelphia Center for the Book members.  The May 2011 installment of choreographic creations by Stone Depot Dance Lab, Movement Brigade and Here [begin] Dance, will be performed on Friday, May 27th at Studio34 located at 4522 Baltimore Avenue in West Philadelphia at 8 pm followed by a discussion with the Choreographers and Book Artists, moderated by Philadelphia Center for the Book’s Curator, Mary Tasillo.  The performances will continue throughout the weekend at the historic Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 North American Street in Old City on Saturday May 28th at 7 & 9 pm and Sunday, May 29th at 7 pm. All three works  are world premieres and explore different aspects of the natural and the organic world.
Stone Depot Dance Lab’s co-director and Bodies of Text Curator Eleanor Goudie-Averill’s new work is inspired by Judith Robison’s gorgeous interpretation of Colette Inez’s poem, The Woman Who Loved Worms. Inez created the poem based on the legend of a Japanese woman with “unpinned hair, weevils queuing across her bare and unbound feet.”  In the early 1970’s, Robison and fellow dancer, Janet Brodie created a solo dance inspired by the poem. Robinson said that she has found herself coming back to the images presented within the poem throughout her adult life.  Many beautiful layers of Tibetan paper make up the book she created almost thirty years later, just as many layers of interpretation have gone into Goudie-Averill’s intricate dance about how legends are passed throughout time.  Danced by Goudie-Averill and Katherine Stark, the piece explores the expectations placed on women across cultures and mimes the poem’s kinetic, natural imagery.
Working within the context of the body and how it relates to various states of blue, Movement Brigade artists Heather Cole, Erin Shanti Desmond, and Alie Vidich have created a new dance theater work inspired by Rebecca Kelly’s The Blue Book. Kelly’s work is one of a kind handmade book that was created in the aftermath of 911. It is a true collection of artists’ and writers’ reactions to different states of blue. Working collaboratively, Cole, Desmond and Vidich are inspired by their own personal associations with blue:  an emergence of crushing loneliness, the vividness of water pushing limbs, and the inevitable submergence that is essential to living and renewal.
Zornitsa Stoyanova of Here[begin] Dance has created a movement performance featuring three dancers:  Emma Morehouse, Lisa Rothstein and Greg Holt.  Inspired by the elaborate textures and subject matter of Collateral Bee Box, a book by Ananda Connolly, Stoyanova will offer a string of dances mirroring the architecture of the book. Transforming the visual aesthetic of Connolly into a moving image, she explores qualitative and performance state changes that correspond to the textures found in the book. Stoyanova will approach the work in a new way that is unique to any of her previous choreographies. She will generate movement utilizing the skills she learned in her work with the internationally renowned dance maker Susan Rethorst. With this skill set, she will create complex phrase work based on the ways bees move and communicate.

BODIES OF TEXT is a festival featuring collaborative dance performances and art exhibitions tied to the book and its interdisciplinary interpretations.   Premiering on April 16th as a part of the 2011 Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts and its theme of Paris 1911, Bodies of Text continues with a May installment rooted in the idea of Art à la Rue and brings Art to Philadelphia’s Rive Gauche, West Philadelphia and to Center City.
Drawing on the rich cultural traditions of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Center for the Book serves as a catalyst to advance the book as a vital contemporary art form, connecting the diverse community of institutions and individuals whose passion is books, PCB facilitates exhibits, workshops, and book fairs, as well as collaborations with Philadelphia-area special collections libraries.  Quarterly members and friends meetings are open to anyone interested in learning more about the organization.

Fri, May 27th, 2011 at 8pm at Studio 34 (PREVIEW)
Sat, May 28th, 201 at 7 & 9pm at Christ Church
Sun, May 29th, 2011 at 7pm at Christ Church

Studio 34, 4522 Baltimore Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19143
Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N. American St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Tickets: Buy in advance on or purchase at the door. $10-$15




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