Not surprisingly, my work of the last several years has been greatly influenced by my introduction to the world of atypical development and mixed abilities and the complex societal position I find myself in as a person negotiating lifelong difference. Dance, as a body-based medium, has seemed an obvious place for me to explore some of these very physical experiences, and to explore some of the emotion that has come along with it.
I am in the process of completing one of the pieces that has come out of these explorations and am producing a show that has been built around it: no clean lines in the drying concrete will be shown at The Muriel Shulman Theater at Triskelion Arts on Feb 11 and 12, 2016 at 8PM.
no clean lines in the drying concrete translates the psychological state of living in the in-between into movement tasks mapped onto the dance space. Dancers Donna Costello, Jamie Graham and Alexis Steeves transition athletically, exhaustingly through solo, duet and trio as they navigate physical and spatial challenges, and their relationships to each other. The dancing occurs in carefully bordered zones, then sometimes spirals beyond those borders and coalesces into sections that emphasize subtle timing, rhythmic shifts and gentle, deep listening. Multiple group snapshots emerge and accrete to form an evolving family portrait of individuals trying to connect through hidden difference and quiet trauma.
Since the work is not quite a full evening in length, I looked to fill out the show with pieces by other choreographers. And because I am dipping my toe into the world of choreographing about atypical development and special needs, it was important to me to curate an evening that would approach that subject matter in a few ways.
I am honored that renowned LA-based choreographer Victoria Marks has agreed to contribute a solo she made for dancer Alexx Shilling. Marks has been creating work in the field of mixed ability for many years, often choreographing for companies which include typically able-bodied dancers, dancers in wheelchairs and dancers with prostheses. These dances are elegant and bold and ask the viewer to question their own assumptions about beauty and accomplishment. The piece she is contributing to the show in January comes from a more personal place, her experience as a mother of a son on the autism spectrum. In her own words, “Tourette Floret was initially constructed using my son’s tics. I have added a few of my own. This piece was made with his permission.”
Alyssa Gersony is a young choreographer who is going into the field of Orientation and Mobility/Vision Rehabilitation, and whose artistic mission is to share stories and raise awareness of disability rights through the experience of performance. I have invited her to show this place with the pretty-sounding name – a palimpsest of sounds, bodies, politics and events influenced by the personal and historical accounts of the tenure and subsequent deinstitutionalization of the Willowbrook State School.
Together, Marks, Gersony and I represent three generations of choreographers making work about atypical neurological experience or special needs from three different perspectives.
The practical information is below.
Rebecca Alson-Milkman presents no clean lines in the drying concrete at The Muriel Shulman Theater at Triskelion Arts. With dancer/collaborators Donna Costello, Jamie Graham and Alexis Steeves, original score by Aaron Drake and design by Piper Mavis. With guest choreographers Victoria Marks and Alyssa Gersony. Feb 11-12, 2016, 8PM. $14 in advance, $16 at the door.
facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1646399548975093/