Close to Home is a new performance work created by Leah Stein in collaboration with the dancers in partnership with Woodmere Art Museum. The work is an intimate performance project for nine dancers in response to the paintings of Edith Neff, a Philadelphia native and visual artist whose subjects include family, Philadelphia public spaces, and mythological allegory. This intimate, surprising work invites audiences into striking, humorous and candid moments grounded in the feminist lens of Edith Neff’s paintings and moves into the bodies of the performers.
Performing in the work are Shannon Brooks, Maddie Hopfield, Kimya Imani Jackson, Jillian Jetton, Graciella Maiolatesi, Jenny Sawyer, Jonathan Stein, Gabrielle Revlock, and Michele Tantoco.
A leading realist painter of her day, Edith Neff (1943–1995) was praised for her dynamic compositions, her sophisticated use of color, and her ability to portray drama in everyday life. She explored questions of race, gender, and identity, probing the social and cultural fabric of Philadelphia. Working from photographs she took herself, Neff made self-portraits as well as pictures of her family, fellow artists and colleagues, friends, neighbors, and students. The city itself was central to her work: its public buildings, playgrounds, parks, pools, schools, and beaches were frequent settings. Our Town, an exhibit of Neff’s paintings opens September 2019 at Woodmere Art Museum. Our Town will be the first large-scale exhibition of Neff’s work in over two decades. The accompanying catalogue will include firsthand perspectives and commentary from members of the artist’s circle as well as a chronology of her career.
Now in its 18th year, Leah Stein Dance Company seeks to deepen and enliven a sense of place by creating works that bring dance to people from diverse backgrounds, age groups and communities. Inspired by the physics of movement and the forces of nature, Artistic Director Leah Stein, along with her dynamic group of talented performers, produces dance works that highlight the interaction between people, their culture and physical environment at major sites throughout the region, including the Fairmount Water Works, Eastern State Penitentiary, Longwood Gardens, Christ Church Burial Ground, and Bartram’s Gardens, among others. Since 2009, the company has enjoyed an ongoing partnership with the Science Leadership Academy, where Leah Stein has created an annual site-specific performance festival with 60 tenth-graders. In 2017, Leah Stein Dance Company moved to its new home, The Art Room Studio, in the heart of South Philadelphia.
This work is made possible by Woodmere Art Museum and CultureWorks FestiFund, in addition to LSDC’s 2019-20 season partners Wyncote Foundation, PA Council on the Arts, Philadelphia Cultural Fund and and FringeArts. LSDC receives additional support from PCF Youth Arts Enrichment, and The Fairmount Park Conservancy in collaboration with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation.
Close to Home
September 21, 22, 28, and 29 at 4:00 pm
The Art Room Studio, 2329 S. 3rd Street, 2nd Fl, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Information & Tickets: https://fringearts.com/event/close-to-home/
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