Thursday, September 24, 2015

(in)visible veins: Rivers Merge - FAQ's and what you need to know if you're attending

A few things you might want to know if you're coming:

1. What's going on? 
2 nights, 2 sites, 4 performances. Friday & Saturday/ September 25th & 26th. 6pm at Easton's Scott Park (Riverside) (in)visible veins: Rivers Merge choreography by me. 8pm at the Williams Center for the Arts at Lafayette College - "Diverse performances, choreography by Lehigh Valley-based choreographers" to "Celebrate the rising level of dance in the Lehigh Valley and the 40th anniversary of the LVAIC Dance Consortium". 

2. How do I get there? Where do I park? What can I do if I come early?
Check out directions: here
There is on street parking at the Riverside Park in Easton, or you can park at the Williams Center. Choreographers on Campus has arranged for a bus to transport audience members from the Williams Center to Scott Park and back. 
Easton is a very lively town! Check out this link for things to do in Easton and the surrounding areas: Discover the Lehigh Valley

3. What time does the show start?
(in)visible veins: Rivers Merge starts at 6pm at Scott Park. The staged performance is at 8pm at the Williams Center for the Arts. 

4. Is there assigned seating? 
(in)visible veins: Rivers Merge is an outdoor performance and there is no assigned seating. If you have difficulty standing for more than 30 minutes, please bring a blanket to sit on or outdoor seating as if you would to a picnic or outdoor festival. 

5. How long is the performance?
(in)visible veins: Rivers Merge is approximately 26 minutes. 

6. This is really awesome! Can I take pictures or video?
(in)visible veins: Rivers Merge is a unique performance. You are welcome to take pictures and/ or video. If you post these publicly, please credit Jessica Warchal-King with the choreography and David Cullen with the music. You can also find a list of the performers in the program. Also use the hashtags #riversmergedance  #jcwk #jcwkembodimentproject. 

7. I have to pee! 
There are no restrooms at Scott Park. Please take care of any personal needs before coming to the performance. 

8. This is awesome! What's next? 
Please contact Jessica at for updates on The Embodiment Project and future performances of (in)visible veins. Also, please come and spend the evening at the Williams Center for the Arts for more amazing dance! 

Thank you so much for your support! I look forward to seeing you!

Merging stories:veins and throughlines

The Delaware and Lehigh Rivers converge in Easton and then travel to Philly, create a barrier between NJ and Delaware in the Delaware Bay, and join the Atlantic Ocean. Easton is a small, but important stop on the journey.

The point where the rivers met in Easton was/ is sacred Native American ground. 

Presenting (in)visible veins: Rivers Merge in the Lehigh Valley is particularly poignant to me because:
1. I'm returning to a place that was highly influential in my young artistic life. 
2. It was a young artist's dream of mine to build community through dance. I have the opportunity to do that in this work. 
3. I am re-connecting with a good friend and colleague through dance. 

And this is the heart of this post. 

Angela Sigley Grossman and I first merged in grad school at Temple University. We had both completed our undergrad in the Lehigh Valley, but it was at Temple where we connected. Angela was always able to make light of any grad-school frustrations and was a genius when it came to understanding musical structures. She was fearless in attacking the challenge of pairing physical expectations with music and guided us (those in her grad school cohort) in breaking sound and movement partnerships into understandable phrases.

Angela has stood by my side many times, including at my wedding. She has been a patient, reassuring presence in my creative exploration of princesses, mousetraps and watermelons, chakras, the ocean, and now, horseshoe crabs and the interconnectedness of human relationships, society, and the environment. 

I am so grateful for her confidence in this current project. I am grateful for her continued professionalism and friendship. I am grateful that she has been a sounding board for my artistic growth. Thanks, Angela!

Here is her professional bio:
"Angela Sigley Grossman is an Assistant Professor of Dance at DeSales University. She holds an MFA degree in dance performance and choreography from Temple University and a BA degree in dance as a magna cum laude graduate of DeSales University. Angela has presented choreographic work at Temple University, St. Gregory's University, DeSales University, the American College Dance Association, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, and the Baltimore Dance Invitational and has performed for various local and nationally known independent choreographers. Angela has also designed lighting for dance performances in the Philadelphia area. Previously, she has taught at Temple University and the Lehigh Valley Charter School for the Performing Arts."

A brief look at our journey through photos:

"Doris Says..." a performance based upon breaking the rules in Doris Humphrey's "The Art of Making Dances"

"Doris Says..." a performance based upon breaking the rules in Doris Humphrey's "The Art of Making Dances"

"Doris Says..." a performance based upon breaking the rules in Doris Humphrey's "The Art of Making Dances"
Grad school, Faculty Concert 2008. Choreography by Lisa Kraus

Grad school. My MFA thesis microcosmic current
Mousetrap - Philly Fringe 2008

Angela's MFA thesis - The Rented World

Angela is performing with me on Friday and Saturday as part of (in)visible veins: Rivers Merge and is also presenting her own work in the staged performance on Friday and Saturday at 8pm at the Williams Center for the Arts. Tickets are free, but seating is limited, so call and reserve your tickets. More info on Rivers Merge

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

(in)visible veins: Rivers Merge - the cast (part 2)

Over 20 students from DeSales University are diving into this process of re-staging (in)visible veins: Rivers Merge. In no particular order and in their own words, I'd like to introduce them to you (continued from part 1):

"My name is Brittany Clark and I am a sophomore dance major at DeSales University. I have been dancing since I was three. Rivers Merge is my first professional performance and I am excited about it."

"Mariette Aungst is a Dance and Communications dual major at DeSales University. She has been dancing since she was 4, and has competed and performed extensively in musicals and showcases, including Dance the World in Disney World and Beat Addikts United. Since coming to DeSales, she has participated in a dance photography workshop and has also modeled for TV/Film magazines. She is thrilled to be able to have this opportunity."

"William Brazdzionis is a freshman dance major at DeSales University. William has performed in Giants Stadium with the East Stroudsburg North High School North Color Guard, and performed in many musical performances with The Shawnee Playhouse. William wishes to continue with his dance career and become a performer and educator for future dancers."

"Cailin Sweeney is a junior dance major at DeSales University. She has choreographed for the DeSales Informal Concert and the 48 Hour Screendance Film Challenge, where she won best film for "Colder Than Your Shoulder" in 2014. She has performed in DeSales Emerging Choreographer's Concert, Informal Dance Concert, and Dance Ensemble Concert. She is currently a principle dancer for "Lehigh Valley Dancers" a local screendance company."

"Krista Capra is from Lopatcong, NJ. She is a dance major at DeSales University. She loves dance and has been dancing for 15 years. She was so thankful to have the opportunity to dance in Rivers Merge, it is such a great experience to perform. Every chance Krista can get to perform, she will take. In the future Krista dreams of moving to New York City to teach dance and audition. She also hopes to dance in Disney and on a cruise line."

"Chiedu Mbonu is a sophomore dance major. He has previously been seen in Amplify and in DSU's Screendance Festival '14. I would like to thank Jessica for allowing us to be in my first professional performance, and allowing me to be one with nature. :-)"

"Lindsey Mitchell is currently a freshman dance major at DeSales University. She previously studied at the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts where she also majored in dance. She is very excited to have this opportunity and is looking forward to a professional career serving the artistic community."

"Tara Swann. I am a freshman Dance and Business Administration double major at DeSales University. I hope to own my own dance studio and use it as an outreach program. I would like to help kids with learning disabilities or families who can't afford to put their children in dance classes."

I'm grateful to be working with such a diligent group of dancers. See you this weekend at Scott Park, Easton.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

(in)visible veins: Rivers Merge - the cast (part 1)

Over 20 students from DeSales University are diving into this process of re-staging (in)visible veins: Rivers Merge. In no particular order and in their own words, I'd like to introduce them to you:

Krysten Struk. "I am a freshman at DeSales University, I am a Dance major with a business minor. I have been dancing all my life, and wish to travel the world dancing. I do not know how I will get there so for right now I just want to live in the moment doing all that I can."

"Gina Palumbo is a senior dance major at DeSales University. She grew up in Philadelphia,but learned to appreciate the tranquility of nature when she moved to the Lehigh Valley. She is delighted to have been a part of Jessica's vision, as well as to be performing with her in such a beautiful environment."

Katie Hay. "I am a freshman at DeSales University and enrolled in the sports and exercise and dance departments. Sports and dance have been my life since I was three and I am excited to combine the two. With my degree, I want to be a physical therapist with a focus in dance therapy."

"Amy Gramling just transferred to DeSales University as a Junior Dance major. Amy grew up in the Bucks County area where she began dancing at age four. Amy has always loved to dance and hopes to continue dancing and teaching in years to come. Before coming to DeSales, Amy taught locally and was a member of EDdanceCohesion. She has performed at ETC Performance Series with work set by Rebecca Cupples and Liz Lyle. This is the first time Amy has done a site specific piece and is blessed to have such an opportunity."

"Haley Gilbert is a junior Dance Major at DeSales University. She is hoping to become a professional contemporary ballet dancer. Haley hails from Enola, Pennsylvania, but has familial ties in the Lehigh Valley. She is excited to have the opportunity to perform in such a beautiful area and be a part of Rivers Merge."

"Cora Savage is a freshmen dance major at DeSales University where she intends to initiate a future career in dance performance or choreography. Having attended the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts, Cora has been exposed to many different styles of dance. In her free time, she enjoys long mountain hikes, drinking coffee, spending quality time with family and friends, as well as experimenting in dance improvisation with her fellow dancer friends. Cora is very grateful for the opportunity to work with Jessica Warchal-King and experience site-specific performance for the first time."

"Sarah Duffany is a senior dance major at DeSales University. She is so grateful to have been able to be a part of the Rivers Merge Festival. Sarah plans to attend graduate school in the future for dance history/ criticism, while also teaching dance and performing professionally on the side."

"Samantha Burns is a junior dance major at DeSales University, where she has both performed in and choreographed for various concerts. Most recently, she has performed in the New Street Group's 2015 showcase in Philadelphia's FringeArts Festival, as well as presented her own work in the 2015 installment of Ten Tiny Dances at Bethlehem's Touchstone Theatre."

"My name is Liza Marie Levy. I am currently a sophomore dance major at DeSales University. I have been dancing since the age of three. Throughout the years, I have been trained in many styles, which include: Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical, Modern, Contemporary, Hip Hop, and Gymnastics. Over the summer I interned at my dance studio. The main focus for this internship was teaching, choreographing, and learning how to adapt to different students. In the future I hope to dance professionally on Broadway or on Cruise Lines. I also would like to achieve my Master's degree and teach at the college level."

"Hello, my name is Jaclyn Yerkes and I am a freshman dance major at DeSales University! I have been dancing all my life and could not picture myself in any other career choice besides dance. After graduation I plan on continuing my love for dance in hopes to become a backup dancer, work with a contemporary company and be on Broadway; these plan are more like dreams to me. Something I also want to work towards would be opening up a studio with my sister for disabled children. It would give the children an opportunity to dance and fun at their own level and pace."

(in)visible veins: Rivers Merge in process

Sunday we were so lucky to share the tech/ dress rehearsal for (in)visible veins: Rivers Merge with the city of Easton's 2015 Riverside Festival of the Arts! Pictured below is the schedule of events that was posted throughout Riverside Park. 

When doing an outdoor performance, part of the performance practice is being aware that we're always "on stage". Very much like the traditional theatre setting, we needed to be prepared to improvise within the intention of the work, if necessary. By rehearsing outside, we had the opportunity to experience the sun in our eyes, enthusiastic passers-by, bugs, and the changing of the temperature as the evening progressed. We also needed to get accustomed to the space - not only being outside, but performing in a way that projected our energy and intention way out into the universe. Usually, in a theatre, the space is already contained. Outside, there is no limit to the space and therefore, the performers need to adjust the way we perform. 

We began our rehearsal at the Amphitheater with a beautiful view of the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers merging in the background. 

As you can see, the Amphitheater has a huge audience seating space and we did have an audience for our warm up - a guided improvisation of finding internally and externally circular pathways, plies, tendues, and swings. Blake, our technician, set up speakers for us to amplify our music and Kelly, the coordinator of Choreographers on Campus and the Rivers Merge Dance Festival, was on site to help curious onlookers understand what was happening and to let them know about the Rivers Merge Dance Festival next week at Scott Park and The Williams Center for the Arts at Lafayette College. 

There were local bands playing at Scott Park until 5pm, so after our initial rehearsal in the Amphitheater, we moved over to Scott Park and really dropped into the performance practice. We talked about how to negotiate where the audience might be and how to fill the space, both with our physical movement and with our energy. Again, Blake and Kelly were on site to help with the technical issues and administer information to members of the public who provided an audience for us during the rehearsal.

The lighting will be a little different on Friday and Saturday as the world continues to rotate around the sun and the seasons change, but I'm really excited for the performance! Some of the audience members said that it was a really "magical and calming" experience.

The Morning Call previewed the Arts Festival. Thanks for the shout out! Riverside Festival of the Arts

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Rivers (and more) Merge in the Lehigh Valley

Angela Sigley Grossman and I have been working diligently in the studio. I'm expanding (in)visible veins: Rivers Merge to include a new community and new dancers. We'll meet again in the studio on Friday!

Until then... some of the promo materials are out: