Hungry for inventive choreography? Up for a summer’s night adventure with performance that is unconventional and live? Hungry for inventive dance and movement? Desire a way to escape the summer’s heat and unsettling outside world events?
Let this column be your lure to the 2016 edition of the Kitchen Sink Fest at DC’s Dance Place. The Fest is ready for your exploration into the essentials of newly created contemporary dance. And what is truly unique, some of the DC area’s most risk-taking choreographers have created high-wire, one-minute dance pieces that range far and wide in spectacle and technique.
This summer’s Kitchen Sink Fest has nearly two dozen collaborating artists challenging themselves to develop and have performed one-minute dances. Yes, only 60 seconds to bring forth the total essence of a dance. They are artists who are fueled by the desire to experiment. Willing to edit themselves and their works of art into swift visual morsels. No easy task for anyone. Be aware, they are not shying away from the risks involved.
With about 50 different 60 second performances, The Kitchen Sink Fest will go well beyond the traditional world of modern, let alone, or classical dance performance. Isn’t it about time?
There will also be a number of freshly created installations throughout the Dance Place venue. All whether live dancers or installations, will use original projections, lighting and sound as well as original music by Jeff Dorfman and costumes by Claire Alrich.
And, just one more hint about the evening; a dodecahedron prop just might be a central theme part of the movements.
This column partners with the previously posted Part 1: An interview with Kitchen Sink Fest Producer Ben Levin. Part #2 column includes interviews with a number of the creative dancers and choreographers.
So, vintage and classic are great, no question about that. But, how about the completely new and created for you for an evening. Let’s call it something ephemeral.
Be ready for the wide array of the quick-minute pieces that are ambitious, outrageous and bold, with plenty of fun along with a remarkable, tantalizing technical design elements. Each piece is just a tempting one-minute in length. And a partnership of movement and technical design.
As Ilana Silverstein of the modern punk rock dance band Tia Nina put it, “Come and escape preconceived notions about time, dance, performance, and media.”
So, let’s jump to the question with some of the reactions to further whet your appetite for an evening meant not just for dance “insiders” – but to showcase dance for everyone.
The question asked was: “How do you distill longer works into 1-minute pieces?” Below are the responses:
Editing dance is always a process of letting go: of ego, of preciousness, of the attachment to different parts of the work. It has been really rewarding to edit in such an ambitious way…having a clearly stated goal in mind: not just “shorter” or “clearer” but indeed “what is most essential.” Every piece I’ve worked on has become conceptually and visually stronger for having to push through the editing process to get down to one minute.
During the fall I created a 6 minute piece knowing that I would then distill it down…I looked at paring it down in two ways: first I gathered feedback on what was the most “interesting,” then I also thought about what would be the most interesting in the context of the festival as a whole. Ben Levine saw the potential to use projection in my dance – and I wanted to make the best use of it.
The process to distill my work went like this: I made a 7-minute dance, then broke it down to 2 minutes of its best/ most essential parts. From there I expanded it back out into a 6-minute dance, using just the best, most essential parts. Then I shrunk it back down into a one-minute dance pulling the most well-received parts from the new 6-minute dance, after showing it to friends and colleagues.
Most of my choreographic works are a series of 2-3 minutes sections that are placed in context with other 2-3 minutes sections that create a work. For the “Kitchen Sink” we edited a section from a dance that was originally 2.5 minutes – editing it down to a 1 minute mark helped us to find the essence of that section and to make certain that each movement had a reason to be present.
The process for each of the pieces I am creating has been different, but the common thread throughout has been allowing other people to edit. The collaborative intention for the entire “Kitchen Sink Fest” process has been so clear from the start, so it’s been easy to remind myself to let my ego go; this letting go then allows me to boil the work down to its essential bits.
Our work is already pretty contained. Each piece is a short dance choreographed for our originally composed rock songs. We started by asking Jeff [Dorfman] to distill our tracks and then squished together our favorite choreography in the dance. I had always wanted to make multiple versions of one song so this was the perfect time to give in to that desire.
I usually find a seed, or theme, or “motif” and manipulate it into a larger piece. With 60 seconds, there is only time to show the motif in its most essential form. This is both a relief and a challenge: a relief to solely work on one singular vision without variation, and a challenge to fit that tiny vision into 60 seconds. I see these short motifs like a breath, scene, or passing mirage.
In the Moment: ‘Kitchen Sink Fest’ at Dance Place Part 1: An Interview with Ben Levine by David Siegel.