I was on a year hiatus from dance, because I didn't feel content or fulfilled in body, heart, or soul while dancing, when a friend took me to my first Duncan class. I was captivated by the structure and approach and recall crying at the barre. Pachelbel's Canon in D accompanied our plies.
Artists in Conversation:
Flamenco Arts Center was founded in Chicago in 2000 by dancer, actress, and educator Cynthia Rosario. It was her dream to set up an open meeting place in the city where anyone with an interest in flamenco music and dance could come to teach, learn, and share their love of the art form. Before 2000 there was no central location for flamenco where everyone was welcome.
A year and a half ago, I was sitting on a folding chair at my friend’s high-rise apartment in São Paulo, trying to determine the number of train stations in the U.S. My plan was to move back to Chicago, create a show about high-speed rail, and then tour it to every town with an active stop. Using Amtrak’s website,
Last week, I was contacted by one of our art partners from the South Chicago community who had noticed a fallen tree in a vacant lot near the 92nd Street Bridge, the site of the earliest European settlement (established in 1813). This person sent me an email suggesting or asking about the possibility of preserving a fallen tree limb because it looked like South Chicago emerging from the earth, revitalizing itself.
Tanya Saracho was born in Sinaloa, México and moved to Texas in the late 80s. She is a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists and Teatro Vista, a Goodman Theater Fellow at the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Media, an artistic associate with AboutFace Theater, and the co-founder and former artistic director of Teatro Luna.
Dr. Carrie Sandahl is an Associate Professor in the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the head of the new Program on Disability Art, Culture, and Humanities, which is devoted to research on and the creation of disability art. Beginning in 2010, this program is the new administrative home for Chicago’s Bodies of Work, an organization that supports city-wide disability arts festivals and that promotes disability arts and culture year-round.
CAR Dance Researcher Meida McNeal sat down with Caitlin Strokosch, Executive Director of the Alliance of Artists Communities, for a valuable discussion about how to locate dance residencies in the U.S. and internationally.
I’m a Chicago guy to the bone. I used to go out of my way for cheeseburgers on Maxwell and Halsted (can smell those onions now), can identify 120 BPMs from two blocks away (that’s nerdspeak for house music), and if you give me a street address, I can get you to the nearest major intersection (I worked as a messenger).
Discovering your movement vocabulary is never an easy task. When I apply the artistic elements I have learned on my movement experiments, I try to grasp the core essence of the subject and adapt that philosophy to create my own dance.
In your book, you write that "A proposal is a creative act like any other." Can you expand upon this comment?
Proposal writing takes time away from all the other things you should be doing like making art, marketing, and grocery shopping. For this reason, I encourage my students to ensure they will benefit from the process of writing a proposal or grant application, even if they don’t win.
How has your diverse geographic history—Mexico, California, Arizona, New York, Illinois, etc.—shaped your ideas about, and approaches to, dance and performance?
I grew up in a small town called Zapotitan de Hidalgo, in the state of Jalisco, outside of Guadalajara, Mexico. Dance has always been a very common thing in my family and in the communities I grew up in. Dance was really rich in everything from weddings to weekend parties to birthdays to school.
When I was in my 50s, my body showed signs of wear and tear, and my lifetime career in modern dance began to limp. At the time, I was making site-specific work for dance concerts in churches, using both professional and community dancers.
Interview with Erin Kilmurray, with help from Suzy Grant and Anna Normann. This story includes editorial support from CAR Dance Researcher Meida McNeal.
What's the story behind The Open Space Project? How was it conceived?
I found improvisation by accident. I was seeking deep engagement in the moment—in the form of a dance class—and happened into a college dance program at Middlebury College, in Middlebury, VT, where improvisation is foundational to every aspect of the curriculum. As a prospective student, I remember going to watch a dance class, expecting to see something familiar to me, such as jazz or ballet. What I had happened upon, however, was improvisation.
Artist-in-Residence (AIR) programs provide unique opportunities for artists to expand their creative practice and broaden their professional networks in ways unimagined while sitting in a studio. And that’s the point: to shake up perspectives and disrupt work habits in pursuit of new inspirations and influences.
It took me a long time to figure out the business of being a dance artist in the U.S. Outside of NYC, there is very little useful training for independent choreographers in the realms of professional development. Entities like Fractured Atlas and Kickstarter.com provide wonderful services, but “services” do not equal “training.” Training, in my mind, means education, mentorship, and direct human-to-human support.
I am a classical musician: a clarinetist. I’m also a writer, an actress, a visual designer, and an almost 30-year serial arts entrepreneur. If you Google my name or go to any of my websites, it might appear to you that I am more of a business owner than an artist.
The Moving Vessel is a project that explores several facets of pregnancy and motherhood in relation to maintaining a dance career. As I write this, there is a baby boom occurring in the Chicago dance community. I have an opportunity to work with a wide variety of pregnant dancers this year. In exploring this growing population of dancers, I hope to learn more about what drives us to continue to dance and how our families motivate our work.