Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pics from (in)visible veins

Frank Bicking and his family generously shared their Friday with us. Here are some of the moments he captured from (in)visible veins. Lighting by Matt Sharp.

Katherine Kiefer Stark

Jodi Obeid and Belle Alveraz

Jodi Obeid

Marcie Mamura and Katherine Kiefer Stark

Belle Alveraz and Marcie Mamura

Jodi Obeid

Jodi Obeid and Belle Alveraz

KC Chun-Manning, Marcie Mamura, and Katherine Kiefer Stark

KC Chun-Manning

KC Chun-Manning, Marcie Mamura, and Belle Alveraz

KC Chun-Manning, Jodi Obeid, and Katherine Kiefer Stark

Monday, April 27, 2015

Press from Unveiled

A giant "Thank You" to everyone who shared Unveiled with us!

We had a full house and are so grateful for all of the support and feedback we've received.

Kat Richter and Bill Hebert shared some of their impressions for The Dance Journal and Kirsten Kaschock wrote a review for thINKingDANCE. Check out some quotes and links to the full articles below.

"...two words came to mind about this choreographic project: taste and invitation. And indeed, throughout the piece, the generosity of the movement and the sometimes careful and more often care-taking focus of the five dancers moved both in- and outwards."

Read more of Kirsten's review: Unveiled: Authorial Intent
Kirsten has a beautiful way of weaving words together and I deeply appreciate her perspective. Thank you for "seeing" the work!

"...'We're not the only women going through transitions. Let's just show this to the world.'..."
Read more of Kat Richter's preview: Preview: Unveiled with Jessica Warchal-King and Brandi Ou
During my interview with Kat, she asked some challenging questions. Thank you, Kat for capturing the essence of the performance!

"Sometimes it's important to see things from a different perspective."
Read and see more of Bill Hebert's Behind the Lens article: A Lesson and then a look at Unveiled from a different perspective
I'm so grateful that Bill felt empowered to play with his craft during the performance! I think so much of this research has been about discovering and listening to new perspectives.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Dancing Horseshoe Crabs at Widener University

This is an amazing weekend of dance!

Today, my students at Widener University share their perspective on some similar research to that of (in)visible veins. 

(A giant THANK YOU to everyone who came out to that performance, Friday!!!!)

There are some very special elements to this performance:

1) Dean Dr. Francis Weaver, an amazing biologist at Widener, does research on horseshoe crabs. She shared the biological aspects of these nifty creatures with my dancers. My dancers were able to make metaphorical connections between the horseshoe crabs and their own lives - being tossed in the waves, molting, needing to grow and leave "barnacles" behind... who knew horseshoe crab development was so relevant to undergraduate life?

2) We're performing with the Chamber Music Program! Wow! Dancing to live music is so very special! Thank you, Dr. Parker for bringing us together!

3) Collaboration. Interdisciplinary research. Multiple modes of learning and processing. Developing leadership and team-building skills. Storytelling. Community building. Self-reflection. These skills were all engaged during this semester and are present in the performance. #whydancematters

Come see the performance! It's free and open to the public, but seating is limited! Show time is 3pm.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Behind the Scenes with KYL/D

KYL/D regularly hosts Open Dialogs for the community to get a peek into the process, ask questions and converse with the artists and Artistic Director Kun-Yang Lin's collaborators, and see some of the work.

I'm excited to share this process today! Please join us at 4pm at the CHI Movement Arts Center, home of Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers. Check out the website: Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers

Thursday, April 16, 2015

"Unveiled" Updates - Brandi Ou

Thank you, Brandi.

It's important for me to take a moment and publicly thank Brandi for this challenge. She approached me with this challenge in early 2015. A new year? Our own work? (insert much conversation and some external encouragement from other family and friends...) Okay....!

Brandi and I have known each other for about five years. As a dancer, one creates a unique bond with another dancer.

In all honesty, anyone who spends five years moving, creating, and trying to be honest in artistic practice with another person for five years develops a special relationship.

Brandi and I connected quickly and she saw through my external performances to the truth in my heart. She always challenged me not to be so protective of myself and begged me to answer the questions that I didn't know how to ask. She wasn't always sure how to ask them, either, but she knew that the questions existed.

"A dream is an answer to a question you have not yet learned how to ask" ~unknown

One of those dreams and not-yet-learned questions was this performance.

I have learned so much about myself as a leader, a creator, an educator, and as someone who feels called to create beauty where there is so much destruction in our world.

I have been challenged in my patience, in my acceptance, in my aesthetic, in my self-belief and self-worth, in asking for help, and in knowing when I've reached my limits - but have still been encouraged to find the ability to take one more step.

I've failed and tried again. and again. and again.

I've learned that there are many people who love me and that I love. I've learned that accepting that unconditional exchange is scary, but rewarding and ultimately safe.

Brandi spear-headed our Hatchfund campaign (we divided the work of producing this show) and describes herself as "a hard-working woman who loves to love and gives my heart to everything I do 110%". I agree.

Brandi's showing her work, Not All Who Wander Are Lost alongside my work (in)visible veins on Friday as part of Unveiled.

For tickets: The Dance Box Office

Brandi in my work Embedded Layers. Photo by Bill Hebert. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Behind the scenes of "(in)visible veins"

Artist Kaitlin Chow stopped by my rehearsal at the Performance Garage and graciously shared her time and perspective of (in)visible veins through her lens (literally).

Thank you, Kaitlin! Check out more of her work, check out: KChow Studios

Performers: Jodi Obeid, Marcie Mamura, KC Chun-Manning, Belle Alveraz, Katherine Kiefer Stark

Get your tickets for the performance: Dance Box Office

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

"(in)visible veins" - Who's Who in the Cast

My dancers are vital to this work.

I want you to know a bit about how incredible they are, before you see them on Friday. They're amazing women, artists, thinkers, feelers, dreamers, citizens, and inspirations for me. So, in alphabetical order and in motion, here are their "professional" bios. But, there's so much more to them then the pictures (although these are beautiful, thank you KChow Studios!) and the words. You'll just have to see them dance!

Belle Alvarez is originally from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. She spent the first half of her childhood in Manila, Philippines before immigrating to the USA. Belle is a Dance Artist currently based in Philadelphia. She is a Teaching Artist with award-winning Pierre Dulaine's Dancing Classrooms and an Apprentice Instructor with Koresh Dance Company's School Outreach Program. In 2014, she earned her BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from Temple University. During her undergraduate years, she performed in work by Jillian Harris, Colleen Hooper Performance Projects, Dance Exchange, Charles O. Anderson/ Dance Theatre X, Larry Keigwin, and Beau Hancock. Belle's early training includes the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Performing Arts, where she studied under the direction of Kim Maniscalco, Amy Lawrence, and Jennifer Dite-Weaver. Belle has presented work since 2009 in venues located in Bethlehem, PA, Philadelphia, Quite, Ecuador, and Auckland, New Zealand. For more info on Belle, check out her website: Belle Alvarez

KC Chun-Manning received her MFA in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, while simultaneously completing her certification at The Alexander Technique Center Urbana with master teachers, Joan and Alex Murray. Her Philly-based teaching has ranged from teaching Dance for Parkinson's Disease and for the Cancer Support Community Philadelphia, to coaching gymnastics at Philly InMovement. She has served on the Dance faculty at Temple and Drexel Universities and as an Alexander Teacher for the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training. Beyond Philly, she has been a guest artist at West Chester University, Trinity College, Denver University, Bucknell University, and for breast-feeding moms at the North Suburban Hospital in Thorton, Colorado. KC is the Artistic Director of Fresh Blood, which has presented choreography regionally and in Colorado and NYC. She has also collaborated with Pasion y Arte Flamenco and Olive Prince Dance. KC has performed for many artists such as Susan Rethhorst, Guillermo Ortega Tanus, Carolyn Merritt, kim olson/ sweet edge, Maedee Dupres, Sara Hook, Jennifer Schmermund, and Cynthia Oliver. For more info on KC, check out her website: KC Chun-Manning

Katherine Kiefer Stark is a Philadelphia-based dance artist, teacher, and artistic director and founder of The Naked Stark. Katherine received her MFA in choreography from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro and her BA in dance from Connecticut College. Her work has been presented in New York, North Carolina, West Virginia, and New Hampshire, as well as produced by a variety of presenters in Philadelphia including FringeArts, Mascher Space Cooperative, Hybridge Arts Collective, University City District's Programming at the Porch, and First Person Arts. In 2012, she received a FringeArts JumpStart grant and a Rocky Award, a peer-to-peer award for outstanding achievement in the Greater Philadelphia dance community. Katherine has also performed with Eleanor Goudie-Averill/Stone Depot Dance Lab, Colleen Hooper, Jodi Obeid, and Guillermo Ortega Tanus among others, as well as collaborating with Loren Groenendaal and Marion Ramirez. Katherine has taught as a guest artist at Muhlenberg College, University of Texas, El Paso, Widener University, and Enloe High School. She has also been adjunct faculty at Bryn Mawr College and Mascher Space Cooperative, where she is currently an Artist-in-Residence. For more info on Katherine, check out her website: The Naked Stark

Marcie Mamura is an artist, educator, and collaborator from Sioux City, Iowa. She earned a BA in Theatre with Dance emphasis from Kansas State University and a MFA in Dance from the University of Oregon where she held a Graduate Teaching Fellowship. Marcie's work as a teaching artist in Philadelphia communities includes Girard College-Dream Camp, Asian Arts Initiative, KYL/D's CHI Movement Arts Center, Montgomery County Community College, and Drexel University. As a freelance artist, she's performed works by artists Mina Estrada, Gabrielle Revlock, and Nicole Bindler. Her work has been presented in the InHale Performance Series, the Philly Fringe Festival, TRANSForm Dance Collective Concerts (Charlotte, Minneapolis/St. Paul), Dance Chance 2013, and Creative Nests: Welcome to Our World, Vol II (Chicago). She is a founding member of TRANSForm Dance Collective. Marcie is wildly curious about community practices and artful exchange. For more about Marcie's work  check out: TRANSForm Dance Collective

Jodi Obeid is a choreographer, performance artist, and dance educator. Jodi is obsessed with the study of movement of all kinds. Her work concentrates on the investigation of movement for movement itself and on the quirky pitfalls of human nature. Since her arrival in Philadelphia, Jodi has produced work at the Painted Bride Theater, for the Mascher Space IN FLUX Series, the CEC New Edge Mix, Glue Series and in collaboration with Stadium/ Praxis - a puppet theater. Jodi has guest choreographed in the area at West Chester and Rowan Universities and taught for the Mascher Space COSMOS master class series and KYL/D CHI Artists Summer Workshops. A serious globetrotter, her work was presented in Washington DC, Toronto, North Carolina, and in Belgium at various festivals. As a performing artist, Jodi has worked with Kosoko Performance Group, Ring Dance Theater, PDP Philadelphia Local Dance History Project., anonymous bodies, SCRAP Performance Group, and many other independent artists. She earned her MA in Dance Education from the American University and her BA in French and Dance from Goucher College and the Sorbonne University in Paris.

All photos are by Kaitlin Chow - KChow Studios - and are from rehearsal for (in)visible veins. 
For tickets: Dance Box Office

Monday, April 13, 2015

FAQ's about "Unveiled" Friday, April 17th

A few things you should know if you're coming to the show:

1. What's going on? Unveiled is a shared performance between me and Brandi Ou. It's at The Performance Garage in Philadelphia. The address is 1515 Brandywine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130. It's located between Spring Garden & Green Streets and 15th and 16th Streets. Brandywine Street is a one-way street.

2. How do I get there? Where do I park? What can I do if I come early? The Performance Garage has listed that information here: Visiting The Performance Garage. There is free, on-street parking and a paid-lot option. I recommend that you plan to come early, though, just in case. Public transit, traffic, and parking can be a challenge on a Friday evening in Philly.

3. What time does the show start? The show begins at 8pm. The house will open 20-30 minutes before the show.

4. Is there assigned seating? Nope! Please come early to pick your seat! The house will open 20-30 minutes before the performance.

5. I bought my ticket online. Where is it? Thank you! You can pick up your ticket at the door when you come to the performance. It will be waiting for you. Please give your name at the desk.

6. I didn't buy my ticket online. Should I? The Performance Garage has sold out many of its shows this season, in advance! Please purchase your tickets early: Dance Box Office.

7. Oh no! I didn't get my ticket yet and the Box Office says there are no more available! The online Box Office closes 24 hrs before the show. If you don't get your tickets online, you can get tickets at the door, provided there is space available. Please come early to get your ticket.

8. This is really awesome! Can I take pictures or video with my phone? Nope! To protect the safety of the performers and the rights of the artists, no video or photography is allowed. Please contact me or Brandi if you're interested in learning more about the work or read the other updates on my blog!

9. How long is the show? Approximately 60 minutes. There is no intermission.

10. I have to pee. There is no intermission. Please take care of any personal needs before or after the show.

11. Wow! What a show! What's next? Please join us immediately after the performance at Bourbon & Branch on 705 N 2nd St.

12. No, really, what's next for Unveiled? We'd love to share this work with a larger audience, especially those who supported us, but couldn't make this performance. Our goals include another Philadelphia performance and a Mid-West Tour. Additionally, we're open to other venues and developing relationships with like-minded organizations. If you'd like to help make this possible, please make a donation at the performance or contact me or Brandi. (

Thanks so much for your support! We look forward to seeing you!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Artist's Defeating Self Talk

If you hang out with me on other social media sites, you know I'm a sucker for good quotes and inspirational words of wisdom. I don't post too many to this blog because I feel as though I've already filled up my social media quota through Facebook and Pinterest. (@jcwarchalking - check out my Pinterest pages for more creative research).

But, this article, 15 Things You Should Give Up to be Happy, popped up in my feed and number 4 was particularly pounding at this point in my creative process.

"4. Give Up Your Self-Defeating Self-Talk".
(Read the article to get the rest, including some useful tips for "How to"!)

My "Self-Defeating Self-Talk" includes:
  •  the moments of panic during rehearsal when I want to say, "um.. yeah... let's just forget this whole thing. You're totally great but... We can just cancel the show and move on with our lives."
  • the moments when my (very carefully chosen) collaborators ask for more information or clarification or provide feedback. "This costume feels strange to dance in." "The program description might be shorter." "What about the visual effect?" "What is the intention with that moment, this work, these images?" Answer: moment of panic. I don't know. Reality = these very carefully chosen collaborators are asking because they're invested in helping me through this process. The questions aren't asked with criticism but curiosity and a challenge for me to investigate them. But I still panic when I don't have the answers. 
  • the moments when the work, itself, challenges my own perceptions of myself - my values, my aesthetic, and my goals. I'm not prepared to write too much more in this post, other than that these moments cause me to revisit and reflect and repeat familiar processes with new information to see if I'm making the right choice for the work and my creative spirit.
  • Why do I do this to myself? The panic days, weeks, moments before the show. The hours of physical and intellectual research on my own. The hours of research in the studio. The marketing. The asking for financial and in-kind support. The asking for emotional support. The questioning of artistic choices. The self-doubt and "if only's".
  • The if only's - I had more time. I had more funding. I could hire a costume designer. I could collaborate with a lighting designer. I could do more physical research. I could do more intellectual and emotional research. I could book more opportunities for performance research...   
And yet...

I did choose this challenge - to produce my first professional, shared-evening, dance concert.
asked my collaborators to provide their feedback.
I need the work to challenge my aesthetic values.
I sought financial, in-kind, and emotional support.
I have done extensive physical, intellectual, and emotional research.

But I still worry.

Reality check and giving up my own self-defeating self-talk: A large part of "Unveiled" is participating in a very vulnerable, uncomfortably honest process. I need to trust that even if that is my only success, I fully participated in that work.

On another note, I'm reassured by the conversations that I have with other artists that I admire and who are looking out for me during this time. "How are you doing," they ask, fully aware of the answer. "I'm in that uncomfortable place where nothing feels right and I'm questioning everything." 

"Uncomfortable? Isn't that a bit of an understatement?" from an established artist and respected mentor/friend.

Deep sigh on my part - "oh goodness, yes. I'm freaking out!"
My mentor nods, "Yep, that's where you should be right now."

I also find solstice in the many conversations I listen to on NPR where the interviewer asks the artist if they ever get nervous before they read their poem, sing their song, play live, or perform. They most always say that they do feel a sort of nervousness or anxiety before a performance, showing, sharing, reading, or event, but they also understand that nervousness is part of the role of being an artist and sharing work. It's a part of being vulnerable, but also a part of having something to say and holding the responsibility of saying that.

And, in the words of another mentor, "A little nervousness is good. It means you care. When you stop getting nervous, then it's time to move on."

Original photo by Bill Hebert, from microcosmic current, 2010

Saturday, April 11, 2015

"Unveiled" Updates - Thank you!

Our Hatchfund fundraiser ended yesterday and we reached beyond our stretch goal!


Thank you to everyone who supported us through this endeavor! The Hatchfund was a risk, but a challenge you helped us to overcome! Thank you so much for believing in us!

Original pic by Bill Hebert of KC Chun-Manning in my work "Embedded Layers" 
 And, a thank you to Molly Ray who donated after I had posted this image publicly to Facebook!

Come and see the work and share in the process! Get your tickets: Dance Box Office

Friday, April 10, 2015

Again. and Again. and Again... on Repetition.

"It's like when you look at the ocean, and it seems like every wave is the same. But then you move in closer, and you realize that they're all different and constantly changing the landscape," said my student when prompted to reflect on my use of repetition when choreographing.


Repetition. It's a tool, in my toolbox, that I use repeatedly.

I repeat, precisely for that previously stated reason.

"It seems the same, but it's all different."

Every time is different. Every time I, we, you seemingly "repeat" something (in dance, in music, in life) time has already changed the original experience. We have new information with which to review the subject matter.

Compositionally, the dancer and the audience have an opportunity to experience the movement again, but differently. What else, besides the dancer and the audience member, has changed in mere moments? Spatially? Musically? In the relationship between the dancers on stage? Within the lighting? (and yes, biologically and psychologically, we are constantly changing.)


New questions: Theoretically, why do we revisit familiar patterns?

Emotionally, physically, and psychologically, can we let go of familiar patterns or do we re-enact them to get more information and more understanding?

What do we gain from the re-enactment?


Personal story: My parents tell me that, as a child, I needed to verbally recount my day before falling asleep. As an adult, I do spend a lot of time (sometimes too much time?) thinking and reflecting. I'm sure that my obsession with repetition stems from an early point in my life.

I can't help but circle back to check, again.


It's like the ocean...

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

6 Bulletpoints on Bach's No. 6 (and a few more)

In my professional work, I'm committed to using music by artists with whom I'm (at the very least) professionally familiar. It's part commitment to my community, part commitment to sharing the work of other artists, and part logistical in getting permission to use someone else's creativity for public consumption and my own inspiration. (More on permission and legal rights of artists in another post, but, yes they are real. Yes, artists have rights to their creative work, and yes, the internet has made that a bit more challenging.)

David Cullen has been playing in my ear for over ten years now, and I'm still star-struck every time I attend one of his performances. He graciously granted me permission to use his interpretation of Bach's Cello Suite No. 6 for (in)visible veins. Thank you, David! Check out more of his work, his performance schedule, and get some of his music: David Cullen's website

Bach's Cello Suite No 6. was particularly interesting to me because:

1. The very first solo I performed professionally was to one of the movements to one of the Cello Suites. (I was too young to know much more than that and too emotionally effected by the experience to think objectively about the music. But I am so grateful for that opportunity and that solo!)

2. Bach is timeless. Horseshoe crabs are timeless. The female experience is timeless. Dance is timeless. It's an organic gathering in time and space!

3. I didn't recognize No. 6 as one of the more familiar of Bach's Suites. (I'm also hesitant to use familiar music because [a]- Audience members bring their own experiences to the work, including their experiences with music and [b] I prefer to use less familiar music to support and share things that might be overlooked, but that still have importance and relevance).

4. Clear craftsmanship in the composition and the performance!

5. David Cullen played the Suite on the guitar - taking something "created" for one instrument (the Cello) and translating it into a new medium. (Yes, it could be argued that the Suites weren't created for one specific instrument, but it's in the title. And I believe in backing up what one says. They're not called the Trumpet Suites or even the String Suites or even Suites made for Stringed Instruments.)

6. David Cullen is taking a classic structure and a classic vocabulary and giving it contemporary value by putting it in his repertory and on his album "One Night, One Guitar". What's contemporary? By definition, anything that's happening now.

As I do, I did more digging. And I discovered even more reasons why Bach's Cello Suite No. 6 is relevant to (in)visible veins. (Please note, this is not a scholarly paper and these are my - perhaps artistic - interpretations of the research that I uncovered).

1. The Cello Suites weren't meant to be public phenomenon. They were structural and foundational and created for that purpose.

2. The Cello Suites No. 6 are the only suites that use the alto and soprano octaves or "voices" as I read. Alto and Soprano are classically female voice parts. The Cello Suites No. 6 are the only ones that include the female voice!

3. The Suites were written to be cyclical. Like the tides, and life cycles, and story-telling. (So relevant to this research!)

4. Seemingly foundational/ elementary/ simple music structures + seemingly foundational/ elementary/ simple movement structures + seemingly foundational/ elementary/ simple ecological structures + seemingly foundational/ elementary/ simple relationship structures = so much complexity!!! = (in)visible veins

5. Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. In structure and performance. Boring? Perhaps. But repetition provides me (my viewers, dancers, and collaborators) with an opportunity to experience something again, but with more information and a new perspective. Bach has repetition in his Suites. I use repetition in my choreography.

6. The Cello Suites No. 6 were written in D Major. D Major is associated with joy and triumph. (Insert big sigh here.) Joy and Triumph = Community Building. Coming together to share stories. Continuing to do the Hard Work (of creation), despite Advisory and Obstacle.

I'm especially inspired by the idea of "Triumph."

I wonder - what will you feel after the experiencing the work?

Tickets are available: here

Get your tickets at the Dance Box Office.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

"Unveiled" updates - Thank you!

We've reached our initial goal through our Hatchfund fundraising campaign. My heart is so full and I am so honored and humbled by the support, love, and trust that we've received through the initial stages of this process! Thank you for helping to make this possible!

Original pic by Bicking Photography. Evalina "Wally" Carbonell in Brandi's
"Not All Who Wander Are Lost"

So.. Hatchfund also provides the opportunity for a "stretch" goal. It's still possible to donate to this stretch goal and take "Unveiled" beyond April 17th. Unveiled Fundraising

Brandi and I are already dreaming of taking this work on tour to all of the people we love, but can't see the work in Philadelphia.