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Blame the 1980's for This Performance Bug?

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Blame the 1980's for This Performance Bug?

ORIGIN STORIES

From teen celebrity, to art school dropout, loser misfit, and rebel-clown choreographer; my dance talents, for better or worse, have yanked me through life.

PART 1: Blame the 1980s

As a shy little Oregon boy, literally living on a dead end, in the middle of a forest, just off a pissant town, I was completely hidden from the world. When not quietly making friends with local trees, I was hungrily consuming movies that dared me to live large... by performing.

These films weren't just entertaining. Their greasy hands reached through the screen, pressed into my soft skull, and told me that performance (especially dance) could...

...make me the life of the party.

...help me find love.

...get me into a good school.

...gift me with a career.

...rescue a god-fearing town, through my angry dancing in a warehouse.

Funny, as I put this together, I see that they were almost right, if you get super loose on what "career" means (and ok the warehouse thing was a joke, though if only...).

When you can't fully invest in dance classes, gyms, unions, head shots, and a completely flexible, good paying day-job, you're immediately screwed. And even if you do manage all that, you're hoping to book gigs that still pay less than most professions. Insult to injury, it's best to get in sync with some cult of dance style by your mid-twenties, because you're already getting over that proverbial hill. Do most early twenty-somethings have anything figured out? I sure as hell didn't.

Click the title of this post to read the full article, see some hilarious GIFs, and contribute your thoughts. Thanks.

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Jamie Attempts to Make Sense of Himself as an Institution-less Artist

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Jamie Attempts to Make Sense of Himself as an Institution-less Artist

Photo by Emily Marchand

Photo by Emily Marchand

As part of this month’s series on dancers who facilitate their own dance practice outside of a major institution, New York based Jamie Benson attempts to make sense of his dance practice, how he keeps the wheels turning, and the “why” that drives it all.

How often and in what kind of situations do you perform?

Boy every day of this wild existence is so different, but I seem to have one or two performances/screenings a quarter on average. That being typed, I’ve had three separate performances within the same week before too. In the past, performances mainly occurred in black box theaters, but in recent years I’ve adjusted to performing site-specific work almost entirely (invading streets, piers, parks, museums, bathrooms, bars, etc.). Theater performances are a bit too removed from the guts of my work, which conjures situations and themes experienced in daily life. I’m also transitioning from doing more live work to more film work in order to access a larger online audience.

When and where do you rehearse?

I find myself using the space rental pimp that is SpaceFinder NYC often. In terms of time, I make some concessions based on who’s involved with each project and what their availability is. Evenings tend to be the best time for me to rehearsal. Chez Bushwick and Chrystie Street Ballet Academy tend to be recurring characters in the movie that is my life. Each performance is its own case-study though, each yielding varied results.

Do you take classes or do a personal practice?

Both. Finding a way to deal with this body is a near constant pre-occupation. Do I have a clear regiment? No. Do I wish I had one? Yes. Ultimately, I take some form of both Pilates and yoga two times per week (so four classes total). When I take dance class it’s usually ballet in an attempt to keep some semblance of my “lines” intact. This usually happens at the Mark Morris School or Brooklyn Ballet, but I’m kind of a dance class tourist so I like to mix it up. As a self-absorbed person functioning within a labyrinth-esque schedule, I also turn to YouTube videos to supplement my dance conditioning. A conditioning channel called Fitness-Blender certainly gets some action from me on a near weekly basis too.

How do you fund your work as an individual artist?

What are the benefits to working on your own (as opposed to working within a company or institution)? What are the drawbacks?

You are (terrifyingly) free when working outside of a company or institution. Nothing is diffused. You get all the credit and/or the blame for your creative convictions and how they’re executed.

CLICK HERE for full interview at Stance on Dance.

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The Ultimate Solo: A Group Therapy Session For Choreographers

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The Ultimate Solo: A Group Therapy Session For Choreographers

Photo by Stacey Adams

Photo by Stacey Adams

Lights come up on a lone figure, the one burdened with putting a trance over a packed house of smart phones. It’s a tall order to be sure. You don’t just have to dazzle, you have to captivate, ooze an indisputable it-factor that dares an audience of TV brains to look away, as if they could. The best/worst part is that you probably put yourself in the position to be this dance mystic. It’s your fault.

It’s your solo after all.

CLICK HERE to read the full article at 4dancers.org

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