Friday, October 30, 2020
Monday, October 26, 2020
On October 24th 2020, artistic director Alexjandra Bodnarchuk and her artistic team premiered Heritage Sites, a dance film set on location in a warehouse in St.Paul.
Bodnarchuk explains in a Q&A how this film deals with owning one’s body and everything that comes with it-whether in water or in a space where others witness it. Various gestures were explained in details like the hands on the torso symbolic for maternity and the after effects and weight gain or loss. There’s great vulnerability and honesty in the discussion and how dancers view their bodies and how each one of us can release the shame that society places on the body.
In the beginning, hands are placed on the torso, and sounds of splashing inside a bathtub pick up in pace as each dancer explores what movement in water signifies to them. Dancer Sarah McCoulough holds her head under water which is supposed to demonstrate a fear of water she held as a child.
Cinematographer Arlo Myren’s camera work creates a world that is unfettered and unconcerned with glamorizing dance. In the middle of the film, everyone’s hands are up and the camera zooms in on each dancer, their fists formed in a fight pose, eventually they slap their thighs and do arabesques. Flipping their hair forward, it covers their eyes and the effect reminds me of the film The Grudge (2004).
Artistic Associate, Brandon Anderson Musser’s soundtrack layers in the live sound over a supportive musical landscape that amplifies the vulnerability of the dancers’ performance. The pacing picks up as cinematographer replaces one dancer with another so that it appears as one entity. Dancers scratch and jerk at their wet shirts, and the anxious movements show a struggle with an immovable force. There’s a feeling of anxiety and shame, many of the dancers are without pants. And they transition from tub to floor like dead fish until they start flapping erratically.
Then everyone stands fourteen feet apart and move together in synchronized modern dance moves, including pivots, twists and falls. One can hear rapid feet thudding on the floor and become accustomed to the rhythm and pace of the sound effects that crescendo until they release. The ending shows the dancers flipping their hair back and heaving themselves to the ground with their hands in the same pose that they begin with-holding their torso. We're left with a more powerful image reflective of how the society should value the body.
“We rehearsed in parks, parking lots, checked in, talked, videoed, took extra precautions,” said Bodnarchuk in July. “The pandemic won’t be over for a while, and if there’s anything I learned from doing this project is that artists need to work.”
There will be another viewing of Heritage Sites on November 7th . Bodnarchuk and her team appreciates any additional contribution as they are in a $6,500 deficit. They hope to continue to create work and equitably support those in the process. Tickets at: http://alexandrabodnarchuk.org/premiere, $20 suggested ticket price (additional Pay-As-Able prices available)
Saturday, October 24, 2020
Today's post will link up to The Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves for weekly updates.
LOOKING FORWARD TO October
HUGE, and went to my first Drive-in Ballet benefit. Patrons were tooting their horns. I tried the best to toot mine, but it sounded like one of those aggressive horns. Which reminds me, they're going to be releasing a movie about aggressive driving, called 'Unhinged' with Russell Crow. Can't wait! I've definitely saw some road road in my life time.
My son hiding from me in the playground
Virtual shows I'm excited about
Gallim: A New Dance by Andrea Miller and Helix Films based on "Boat"Nov 19thTickets at http://www.northrop.umn.edu/events/gallim-2020
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Photo by Sarah Whiting
Operation Immigration is a film, written and performed by Avi Aharoni, produced by Barbara Brooks and Rick Friede, Renae and Phil Goldman, Jeff and Katherine Tane, Harvey Zuckman and Phil Oxman made available by MJTC on October 17th, 2020. Tickets through October 25th. This one man show is like a homage to anyone who has ever dabbled in homemade film making, and anyone who has reconciled with their inner child.
After picking up a friend and coming home to boot my chrome book, ensuring the volume was on high. I was ready for this experience on YOUTUBE. (If you have a kid you may have noticed families obnoxiously vlogging their experiences on a similar platform- this coming from a very annoyed middle-aged parent herself.)
I was told to show up ten minutes early to prepare myself and read the program. Then I was metaphorically transported to a backyard in the Twin Cities made apparent by deciduous trees and finely mowed grass.
This film was first presented at the Fringe Festival in August of 2019. Under Robert Dorfman’s direction, Operation Immigration introduces you to Avi’s grandparents and eventually his late father, Menachem Aharoni (Shekrola). His father’s story recounts the physical pain he endured so his siblings could survive in Iran, Israel, and eventually Minnesota. Avi talked about his father admirably and how he literally built Israel with his bare hands. “When he’s in his late teens, he was promoted to construction. He would bend steel with his bare hands. I can bend a twizzler in half,” Avi joked.
I couldn’t help notice the video effects. The times Avi moved closer to the camera gives a more intimate story retelling. Sound design by Reid Rejsa, farsi musical interchanges take you back in time to life in Iran. For this film showing, sound amps are useful (As are for most videos on YOUTUBE). Very few props were needed, but the ones used were memorable like black and white ancestor photographs that laid on the ground, or the use of easels to mount important timeline messages like ‘Operation Magic Carpet.’ The outline made it easy to imagine how anyone could create their family's’ story given the right production team and film editing crew. Normal video challenges like blocking were overcome beautifully. The camera spanned fewer than twenty feet around Avi at all times.
Avi gave the impression of multiple characters by imitating the members of his family and their connections. The sound of crickets allowed scenes to change in pace. I found myself laughing when he did a Hamilton style rap to the rhythm of a Beastie Boys song. In fact, the more I watched Avi's performance, the more I was reminded of children's puppet shows. Avi certainly knows how to get at the heart of a character-no matter their age, and he will do whatever it takes to show that character's richness.
Avi says "You know through research of my father's story I learned a lot about myself. I have worked and continued to work with kids. I fell in love with it when I got my first job as a teacher... you really start to understand how truly complex and rich kids are, even today I tried capture and emulate children's sense of play, their vulnerability, their natural ability of being in the moment, every toddler is a natural performer, and I don't know if we grow out of it as we get older or change by our surroundings but that's where we all begun."
Avi poses questions about identity, like “Am I a foreigner? Who am I?” And he talks about how identities don’t define him, yet he questions about where he fits in. He discusses oppression, “We love labels, we don’t feel satisfied.” Avi reminded the audience that we’re all immigrants, “If you’re not a Native American, you came from somewhere else.”
The film is current and intensely emotional. Avi thanked Barbara Brooks for the opportunity and Jo Holcomb for the invaluable wisdom. Watch on YOUTUBE Operation Immigration. Tickets available through October 25, 2020 at http://mnjewishtheatre.org/
Saturday, October 17, 2020
LOOKING FORWARD TO october
This week I had some challenges and I had to remind myself of my goals and intentions. It wasn't easy but I made it through the week. I saw a great panel discussion about disability and comedy presented by HUGE theater.I thought about getting a turtle and then thought fish may be all I can handle for now. I took some great fall leaf pictures. We interviewed a comedian on our YouTube channel.
And guess what?!!!!! OUR channel interviewed broadcasting host 'Moon' aka Larry from the former 'Moon and Staci show' on KS95. Moon talked about some of his trials with MS and how he got to meet Elton John and then was quickly escorted away by security.
Shows in the Twin Cities
'Operation Immigration' by MJTC
Tickets on Sale Now! October 17 - 25, 2020"I am part of the whole picture that makes up our country. The descendant of an immigrant who came here with the promise of a better life. Maybe just like you." - Avi Aharoni
Shows in the Twin Cities