Group Motion, Philadelphia’s longest running contemporary dance company, will present New Voices on February 24th and 25th, 8pm at the CEC’s Meetinghouse Theater. This will be the latest iteration of the Spiel Uhr Series, which has featured works by Group Motion and guest artists since 1983. For this series, Co-Artistic Director Manfred Fischbeck has curated the evening to include dances by new voices to the city. It will showcase senior dance majors from the University of the Arts Juliette Bernstein, Breyanna Maples, and Meredith Pellon, along with choreographer Paige Phillips, who had until recently been making work in Bangkok, Thailand.
I am | I am not is a solo choreographed and performed by Juliet Bernstein. It seeks to find the balance between that which is challenging, and that which is pleasurable. Moving through states of elation and despair, Bernstein attempts to understand what it means to be in control, and to find the pleasure in moments of effort, frustration, and moments of doubt. It is performed to an original sound score by the choreographer that includes spoken word from Still I Rise by Maya Angelou.
Pulling from a diverse training in ballet, modern, jazz, tap, hip hop, and African styles, Breyanna Maples’ Hello this is me emerges from a minimal set up: there’s a pulse, rhythm, and basic instructions for two dancers. The performers’ task is to work to be seen as two parts of a whole. As the piece continues, they must discover how they can continue to feel whole as various components begin to resist one another.
The heart isn’t even that red is inspired by choreographer Meredith Pellon’s fascination with surgery, particularly cardiothoracic surgery. The work, set on four dancers, imagines the human heart as an organ responsible for visceral emotions, extending beyond the idea of love. The piece considers what it would feel like to have this mythical emotion-organ pulled outside of the body, and then placed back inside.
Paige Phillips will be showing an excerpt from her evening length piece Après moi, l’obscurité (After me, the darkness). The work examines a myriad of social and political injustices that women have been forced to endure. By collaging together aesthetic and contextual references from the Renaissance, mid-century, and today’s pop-culture, the content lays witness to the longevity of such indignities. A wild ride of vignettes feature sexually anthropomorphic horses, Francisco Goya’s depictions of witchcraft, and contrived frivolity, amounting to a bold rejection for nostalgic ideals of purity and femininity.
Group Motion observes and expresses the human experience through movement, seeing dance as a universally accessible language. Our mission is to promote dance and movement as vehicles for personal and artistic expression, education, transformation and collaboration. This mission manifests through the following mediums: a professional dance company dedicated to the exploration and performance of multimedia dance theater, ongoing improvisational movement workshops for the public, classes, and educational outreach, exchange with other local, national and international artists, and bi-annual platforms to create and present new work for established and emerging professional artists (Spiel Uhr) and for community members (Performance Project).
Group Motion’s Spiel Uhr Series: New Voices
February 24th & 25th, 8:00PM
Meetinghouse Theater CEC, 3500 Lancaster Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Tickets $20 and $15 (Students and Artists)
More information at http://www.groupmotion.org
Photo: Ian Douglas