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In Process – PhiladelphiaDANCE.org’s new residency program to have its first showing with Sam Tower + Ensemble

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photo credit: Kate Raines

by Steven Weisz for The Dance Journal

In January of 2016, PhiladelphiaDANCE.org launched a new initiative, In Process, a residency program for Philadelphia based dance artists. This goal of this program is to focus on contemporary dance makers, offering choreographers concentrated time and a private space in which to explore new ideas.

Funded solely through PhiladelphiaDANCE’s membership program, selected artists are awarded twenty-four hours of rehearsal time during a six-week period in one of several area venue partners. The culmination of the residency includes a performance of work in progress or completed work.  Artists are chosen from a competitive application process and reviewed by a panel of professionals in the dance field on the basis of artistic merit, description of intent for the residency and work samples.

The spring residency was done in partnership with Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers and the CHI Movement Arts Center and was awarded to Sam Tower.  The upcoming Summer residency will be held in collaboration with The Whole Shebang and has just been awarded to Jessica Warchal-King.

On Friday, May 13, 2016 at 7:30pm as part of the Inhale performance series, Sam Tower + Ensemble will show a selection of In Process material that has resulted from their Philadlephiadance.org residence at CHI Movement Art Center. The ensemble met weekly to explore a wide-reaching source constellation for a new dance theatre project called Strange Tenants. This included working with  fabric tapestries from New Orleans artist, Chris Roberts-Antieau; existential sounds from the void by sound composer, Alec MacLaughlin; surreal visual art landscapes and relics from women of the 1950’s. The project draws on real experiences and narratives from the ancestors of the collaborators, and ruminates on relationships to these phantom tenants, who haunt their genetic makeup. The studio investigation has included an exploration of personal lineages, surreal duets, physical storytelling and dissonant sound scores.

The PhiladelphiaDANCE.org residency afforded Sam Tower + Ensemble the time to generate a large quantity of brand new movement material and sound composition. The group has also continued to build their personal language for critical response and engage in a deep dramaturgical dialogue about the material they have been creating. The work that will be shown as part of InHale Performance Series is a collage of raw imagery, sequencing, character and sound scores that explore themes of ancestral identity and the memories that simultaneously haunts us and drive us forward. This is the first development phase of a long-term exploration, as the work will continue to evolve from this embryonic phase.

Strange Tenants is set to premiere in full in 2017 and will eventually grow into a dance theatre, psycho thriller, investigating the bizarre ways in which inherited experience inhabits our bodies. The material shown at InHale has been directed by Sam Tower with collaboration by ensemble members Merri Rashoyan, Anna Szapiro, Emilie Krause, Nia Benjamin, Katie Croyle, Alec MacLaughlin and dramaturgy by Jeremy Gable.

photo credit: Kate Raines

Strange Tenants (work In Process)
Sam Tower + Ensemble
Inhale Performance Series
Friday, May 13, 2016 at 7:30pm
CHI Movement Arts Center, 1316 South 9th Street, Philadelphia
Tickets $10 general admission. $8 for students and PhiladelphiaDANCE.org Members
Online at http://www.danceboxoffice.com/?js_events=kylds-inhale-performance-series

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