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Dance Center Presents 2013 Improvisation Fest

Dance Center Presents 2013 Improvisation Fest


Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 11:20am

Performances, Workshops & Discussions

Dance Center Presents 2013 Chicago Improvisation Fest June 3–8

The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago presents the 2013 Chicago Improvisation Fest, curated by Assistant Professor Lisa Gonzales with support from and in collaboration with Links Hall June 3–8. The Fest features workshops led by prominent dance artists, showings featuring local and guest artists, a public discussion and several performances. Participating artists, all interested in interdisciplinary and collaborative performance, include Daniel Halkin, Jennifer Monson, Peter Schmitz and Susan Sgorbati (see bios below).

Performances and discussion
Monday, June 3, 7 p.m., Links Hall at Constellation, 3111 N. Western Ave., Chicago: Improvisers from Chicago and the surrounding Midwest kick off the festival with a performance.

Thursday, June 6, 8 p.m., The Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago: Jennifer Monson presents her newest work, Live Dancing Archive, which explores the dancing body in conjunction with the moving image of video and other media as an archive of place, experience and systems. This project draws on Monson's history of choreographic research exploring the relationship of place to self and the ideological constructions of environment and embodied identities. The solo returns to ideas developed in her work in the ’90s, when her involvement in queer activism was affecting her choreography, and connects to strategies developed in her recent work investigating phenomena such as animal migrations, geological formations and watersheds. Performer Jeff Kolar also composed the music. Monson will participate in a post-performance discussion. A related video installation, created by Robin Vachal, will be on display at The Dance Center throughout the Improvisation Fest.

Friday, June 7, 7 p.m., The Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago: Jennifer Monson, Susan Sgorbati and Peter Schmitz lead a free discussion for the community, moderated by Jennifer Kayle, associate professor and co-director of the graduate program in the Dance Department at the University of Iowa. Questions the artists will consider include: What is radical now? What is the importance of improvisation to progressive education and the development of the individual and community?  What kinds of meanings are revealed when we examine the profound depths of self-organizational structuring processes.  How can the improvisational approaches we generate in dance give us ways of understanding and adapting to the instability of the rapid climate change we are facing? How does the scale of massive data mining and collection change the production of bodies? What is civil disobedience in dance?

All workshops take place at The Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.

Tuesday, June 4, 6–9 p.m.: Contact Improvisation Workshop/Jam led by Daniel Halkin.

Tuesday, June 4 and Wednesday, June 5, 1–4 p.m.: Susan Sgorbati will lead two workshops beginning with the Solo Practice, developing an individual’s diverse and original movement vocabulary, and proceeding to the Ensemble Practice, focusing on spontaneous group composition. Two ensemble forms will be introduced: the Complex Unison Form, based on the observation of natural systems, which exhibit self-organizing structuring principles (June 4), and The Memory Form, in which the dancers and musicians create an event that the ensemble remembers and reconstructs over time, revealing memory as a complex structuring process. There will be an Open Practice following the workshop June 5 from 5 to 7 p.m. in Grant Park.

Thursday, June 6, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.: Peter Schmitz welcomes dancers, actors, poets and others to a class using improvisation as a warm-up tool for the body and the mind as well as a form of discovering immediate content and form.  “In my own work as a creative artist I have been exploring the collisions, the juxtapositions, the complementary rhythms of two languages: the language of spoken word (texts) and that of movement language.”

Friday, June 7, 1–4 p.m. and Saturday, June 8, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.: Jennifer Monson leads a workshop investigating “how we make scores out of the systems that we live in, observe and are attracted to. In this instance we will work with a score as a set of parameters that create improvisational choices within a particular context.”

“The 2013 Improvisation Fest seeks to remind us of the interconnectedness that blurs the boundaries we perceive,” said Gonzales. Furthering the appreciation of improvisation, engaging the relationship between dancing bodies, art-making and the natural (and not-so-natural) world, as well as celebrating the many improvisation practitioners in Chicago and around the Midwest are important components of the festival.

Tickets and registration
The 2013 Chicago Improvisation Fest takes place June 3–7:

  • The workshops with Susan Sgorbati (June 4 and 5 combined), Peter Schmitz (June 6) and Jennifer Monson (June 7, two sessions combined) are 0 per workshop, 0 for students; the Contact Improvisation Workshop/Jam on June 4 with Daniel Halkin is , for students. All workshops take place at The Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Registration is available by calling The Dance Center, 312-369-8330.
  • Tickets for Jennifer Monson’s Living Dance Archive Thursday, June 6 at 8 p.m. at The Dance Center are 5, for students, and are available by calling The Dance Center, 312-369-8330.
  • Tickets for the performance Monday, June 3 at 7 p.m. at Links Hall at Constellation, 3111 N. Western Ave., Chicago, are 5, 2 if purchased online and 0 for students at the door or at linkshall.org.
  • Admission to the June 7 discussion, which takes place at The Dance Center, is free.


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