My path with African-based dance began in Los Angeles at Occidental College when I studied Haitian and modern dance with Elizabeth Chin. I felt like the dances were speaking to me, saying things about respect, history, love, travel, study, and ultimately, fusion. My learning of African-based or diasporic dance from dance artists in Haiti, France, the U.S., and Africa has come from a deep respect both for, and of, the people I learned from and worked with.
Artists in Conversation:
The first inklings of the Chicago Fringe Festival (CFF) started in the fall of 2008. I had just returned from the Minnesota and NYC Fringes with Tantalus Theatre Group. By November, I was incredibly enthused about starting one in Chicago.
A recent article in The Guardian about
why men dominate choreographic commissions when women dominate the field of
dance hypothesized that perhaps the career trajectory—performance in one’s twenties,
followed by choreography in one’s thirties—was one of the reasons for the disparity.
I founded Lucky Plush Productions (LPP) in 1999 as a platform for movement research, cross-disciplinary collaborations, and performance experiments. With the passing of this first milestone anniversary, I’ve been thinking a lot about my original goals, as well as the countless inquiries that subsequently propelled me forward. The work that I have created in collaboration with LPP’s various dedicated ensembles has challenged my assumptions about the body
am an artist whose medium is dance and who also has a strong tendency towards
philosophical musings. As a sort of thought experiment, taking place both in
and out of the studio, I am looking at the question “What is dance?” I am referring to dance here as a performance art. I am
finding that along with my inquiry comes also what dance is not. Of course there are no hard and
fast rules or regulating body that defines what dance is, and surely
Interview with Rachel Thorne Germond.
I started dancing in my room with the door closed to Madonna as a child at the age of 12 or 13. My family lived in Tallahassee (FL), and I did gymnastics growing up. When I went to the University of Florida I studied Psychology. I was always interested in dance, so I took my first dance class there. I fell in love with it. It was something that I always wanted to do but I had been a little scared to try.
My company, MOMENTA
began doing historical works in 1988 when we decided to celebrate the life and work of Doris Humphrey who was born in Oak Park in 1895. We began by going to the Dance Notation Bureau and did the first two works from labanotated
scores, with a reconstructor.
In the fall of 2005
we started as a collective of three arts organizations who each selected one
invited artist. The first year we had seven artists present new work (one of
the organizations had two artists present work).
Accidentally! I moved here from Minneapolis in 1968 where I had been teaching at the University of Minnesota. To make a living I taught in several locations--sometimes five in one day. One of my students recommended me to the theatre director at Columbia who invited me to teach a dance class.
An Interview with CAR Dance Researcher Rachel Thorne Germond
I have been working a lot internationally for the past 10-15 years. But before that I was a Chicago artist working mostly in Chicago and in the United States. I mean, it took a while to get to the level where I can travel as much as I do. I have been doing this now for 33 years. It certainly didn’t happen overnight, all of this traveling I have been doing.
An interview with CAR Researcher Rachel Thorne Germond
I took slides of the plays at the Station Theater in Champaign, IL. One of the plays featured a dance professor at the University of Illinois. She liked me and the work I'd done for the Station Theater, so she introduced me to the dance department. I had taken modern dance for fun during school, but I'd never photographed dance or even considered it until she asked me.
Like many aspiring dancers, one of my earliest inspirations came in the form of the unapologetically melodramatic 1948 film,The Red Shoes, featuring Moira Shearer as art- and love-torn ballerina, Victoria Page. When asked why she dances, Shearer’s character famously responds, “Why do you want to live?” I became captivated by the movie’s strange and glamorous universe, complete with a Svengali-esque ballet impresario, Leonide Massine’s wild-eyed turn as a sinister cobbler in the fantasy-ballet sequence, and sweeping views of the French Riviera.
Diane Jefferson talks auditions, the Ailey School, and her relationship to Chicago.
I grew up as a serious bun-head. I studied ballet 6 days a week, I only listened to classical music, and, yes, I was even a Young Republican. I remember watching my first modern dance concert and literally thinking, ‘Why do they always think dance always has to be about something? Why can’t it just be pretty?’ The irony that I have since grown up, come out, fallen in love with gravity, danced ferocious Body-slam works with guns and gasmasks as well as classical modern dance pieces filled with line and grace, never ceases to amaze me. But I think that I always come back to these questions of who is watching modern dance. What do they know about it? How do we increase audiences for this fabulous art form? How do we create a strong community that enables audiences to engage with, be inspired by, and change their lives for the better because of modern dance?
The Space/Movement Project is a non-profit modern dance collective in its fourth season. While roles have shifted and new members have joined, the overall mission of the group has been maintained throughout its existence. The company has committed itself to operating under the condition that each member’s voice is valued and all resources are shared
I didn’t think so. Dance for someone who uses a wheelchair? I thought, you’ve got to be kidding! I must admit, as a professional actor and vocalist, the inclusion of dance in my career was a hard sell to me initially. I did not think artists with physical disabilities could legitimately compete, nor be taken seriously in the arena of dance.
But in 1995, I was wowed when I witnessed my first physically integrated dance performance by the Cleveland Ballet Dancing Wheels (now known as “Dancing Wheels”).
I don't have a story, I have a plea to the arts community, based on hundreds of stories told by the artists who come to us for help. My plea is simple, and not very original. I am urging each of you to realize that, whether or not you like it, you are in business.
Bad at Sports is a weekly podcast produced in Chicago that features artists talking about art and the community that makes, reviews and critiques it. Shows are usually posted each weekend and can be listened to on any computer with an Internet connection and speakers or headphones. Past shows can be accessed via the Bad at Sports website.
Every artist has to remember that, first and foremost, art is a business. If you don't want to face that fact, then do not try to survive off of your talent. Find something else to do. With that being said, I have learned early on that artists need to protect themselves.