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PDP presents the finale to a year-long range of creative and performance activities in the Philadelphia region with new work by venerated New York “downtown dance” artist Susan Rethorst choreographed for Group Motion and its indy cast of dancer/creators including David Konyck, Ellie Goudie-Averill, Gregory Holt, Lesya Popil and others.
Choreographer, Susan Rethorst has said, “In my work, I rely on these ineffable dimensions of movement; the extraordinary phenomenon that we study every day as we decide who to talk to, where to sit on the bus and what we think; we read every situation through movement. To make performance out of this aspect of our nature, this phenomena, is what fascinates me.”
“…how well she pays attention to all of the little gestures people make. Entire worlds open up for the viewer in simple movements …”
“Meticulously made, sensually satisfying and thrumming with possibilities” - New York Times
With more than twenty years of staying power within our dance community, Group Motion certainly rates a salute for meeting the challenge of creating new works.” — PHILADELPHIA WEEKLY
This project has made possible with the support of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Since 1975, SUSAN RETHORST has created dances out of New York City. In 1995, she began dividing her time between New York and Amsterdam, teaching choreography throughout Europe and Scandinavia and continuing to make work in both Europe and America.
Rethorst’s work has been presented by The Museum of Modern Art; The Kitchen Center, Dance Theater Workshop as well as at various dance theaters, universities, and festivals throughout the U.S. Internationally her work has been produced by The Holland Festival, Spazio Zero Rome, The Kunsthalle Basel, The Aix-en-Provence Festival, among many others. She is a 1999, recipient of the distinctive Guggenheim Fellowship.
In 2011, the Danspace Project presented a retrospective of her work, Susan Rethorst: Retro(intro)spective, to much critical acclaim. It was a unique Platform Series paying homage to a single and singular dance artist. “Moving in Philadelphia” grows out of this retrospective with new and reconstructed work which will culminate in the premiere of a commissioned work for local venerated company, Group Motion.
“Ms. Rethorst’s particular, and particularly sublime, form of dailiness,”
‘…when watching her choreography, how well she pays attention to all of the little gestures people make. Entire worlds open up for the viewer in simple movements like a slow turning of a carefully held hand or a quick backward glance, the performer’s chin ducking below her shoulder as she widens her eyes with enigmatic emotion.
“Meticulously made, sensually satisfying and thrumming with possibilities”
(Claudia La Rocco,
NY Times 2011)
Two choreographers on a shared program
Local choreographer/dancer Nora Gibson seeks new formalism in dance where patterning relationships reveal themselves without giving away their secrets. She will premiere a dance work that is integrally bound with sound and light. Gibson creates dances with “unrelentingly dynamic movement…spellbinding.” - The Philadelphia Inquirer.
John Scott, from Dublin Ireland, seeks to expose the tenor of movement relationships which are laden with human aspects, where music and light expand the dimension of motion/emotion.
“Body Duet” is an energy-packed, highly physical dance featuring two spiritual and witty performers, New Y ork’s “Bessie” award winning Michelle Boulé and one of Ireland’s outstanding male dancers, Philip Connaughton. Choreographed by John Scott with music by the dynamic US duo BLACKFISH and lighting by Eric Würtz.
Irish Modern Dance Theatre is made possible in part through a partnership with the Drexel University Dance Program.
About the artists
NORA GIBSON, Director of the Nora Gibson Performance Project, is a Philadelphia based dancer and choreographer, whose training spans classical ballet to post-modern improvisation. Early training included attending Baltimore School for the Arts, acceptance to ballet residencies with Jean-Pierre Bonnefous of NYCB, Chautauqua, and NCSA. She later graduated with a BFA from Tisch, at NYU, where she had the opportunity to perform in the works of Elisa Monte and Mark Morris . Nora studied improvisational forms with Daniel Lepkoff, Andrew Harwood, Nancy Stark-Smith, and KJ Holmes. Nora has had the privilege of dancing for the Ellicott City Ballet, PATH Dance Company, The Second Avenue Dance Company, Andrew Marcus in New York, NY, Olive Prince Dance, and Jeffrey Gunshol, formerly of Mark Dendy Dance. Nora was selected to work these past few years in a project with Lucinda Childs and Ty Boomershine to learn and perform various Childs’ pieces from the 1970s, such as “Interior Drama” and “Melody Excerpt” and others.
Nora has performed her own work throughout Philadelphia and in NYC at various downtown venues such as P.S. 122, St. Marks Church, and DIA Center for the Arts. In 2009, she established Nora Gibson Performance Project, with Philadelphia as its home base. Since that time, her work has consistently received recognition. NGPP was awarded a 2009-10 Artist in Residence with the nEW Festival in Philadelphia, the CEC New Edge Residency for 2009-10, and the Ellen Forman
Memorial Award in 2011 to commission new work for Drexel University. Gibson’s choreography has been presented by New Dance Alliance at Joyce SOHO in April 2010, at Dance Place in Washington DC summer 2012, and by Philadelphia Dance Projects in 2014. Gibson’s work was heralded by the Philadelphia Inquirer as “spellbinding” and “the most authoritative work in Philadelphia this year.” Philadelphia Inquirer, 4.12.10. Recently, Gibson was awarded a residency through DanceUSA/Philadelphia to work and study in Poland. http://noragibsonperformanceproject.weebly.com/
Irish Modern Dance Theater (IMDT), based in Dublin, Ireland, is a physically/culturally diverse ensemble under the artistic direction of JOHN SCOTT, Scott , a choreographer and singer, has studied and performed with Meredith Monk, Sara Rudner, Yoshiko Chuma and Anna Sokolow He also studied with Susan Buirge. His recent works include BODY DUET, ACTIONS, FALL AND RECOVER and THE WHITE PIECE. Tours include CDC- Les Hivernales, Avignon, studio le regard du cygne and Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, France, Tanzmesse NRW, Germany, Dance Base, Edinburgh, La MaMa, PS122 New York, Queer Zagreb, Croatia, Centro Culturel del Bosque, Mexico, Forum Cultural Mundial, Rio De Janeiro, Kanuti Guildi SAAL, Estonia. Scott’s choreography is playful, virtuosic and passionate and has been described as Beckett meets Monty Python. Touring Ireland, the company has pioneered dance as an art form in a country known more for literature and text based drama.
The IMDT is a culturally diverse modern/post modern inspired dance company based in Dublin under the direction of Founder/Artistic Director/Choreographer John Scott. The Company engages dancers of different backgrounds, ages and body types from Ireland, Europe, Africa and USA. Scott pioneers innovative dance expression and promotes dialogue with international dance practitioners and audiences to achieve this.
Michelle Boulé is a performer, choreographer, teacher and BodyTalk practitioner based in New York. Her work has been shown in New York at Dance and Process at The Kitchen, Center for Performance Research, Movement Research Festival at Judson Church, Food for Thought at Danspace Project, Catch Series, and Issue Project Room (Emerging Artist Commission May 2013). She has been a choreographic assistant and performance coach for Deborah Hay solo adaptations, including an adaptation presented by El Auditorio in Tenerife, Spain. In 2010, she was an artist-in-residence at DanceHouse in Dublin, Ireland and a participant at the SKITE residency in Caen, France. She received a 2012 space grant from Brooklyn Arts Exchange and is a 2012-14 NY Movement Research Artist-in-Residence.
She has collaborated and performed in every group piece by Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People since 2001, and received a ‘Bessie’ for her performance as James Dean and collaboration in the creation of Last Meadow. Other dance artists she has worked with include John Jasperse, John Scott, Deborah Hay, (William Forsythe commission If I Sing to You), David Wampach, Donna Uchizono, Neal Medlyn, Christine Elmo, Neal Beasley, Beth Gill, Judith Sanchez-Ruiz, Doug Varone (Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Opera Colorado), and Gabriel Masson. She has also worked with playwright/director Rosie Goldensohn and has an ongoing collaborative relationship with cellist/composer Okkyung Lee. She is part of the teaching faculty at Movement Research and The New School in New York. She has also been faculty at Hollins University and the University of Illinois as well as a guest teacher at other dance institutions in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.
Philip Connaughton was born in Dublin where he trained prior to continuing his studies at Rambert Dance School, London. Since then he has worked internationally in contemporary dance, musicals and opera including Bavarian State Opera, Glyndbourne Opera, Wexford Festival Opera. Philip joined Irish Modern Dance Theatre in 1997 and has created roles in numerous works by Artistic Director John Scott, touring in USA, France, Brazil, Estonia and Italy, including Just Bodies, Intimate Gold, That Place Those People, Rough Air and Fall and Recover, The White Piece and in works by John Jasperse, Sara Rudner, Chris Yon and Sean Curran. He also works in Barcelona, Spain and has performed with companies like Thomas Noone Dance, Rami Levi and Lanonima Imperial.
NICHOLE CANUSO/ Philadelphia SUPER GROUP/Minneapolis
JOSE NAVARRETTE/San Francisco ELIA MRAK/Seattle
Philadelphia Dance Projects continues to present exciting contemporary dance work through its partnership with the SCUBA Touring Network, where emerging to mid-career dance artists begin to tour nationally - and this year for the first time audiences will have the chance to see artists’ work from all four partner cities.
Local bright light, Nichole Canuso, founder/artistic director of the Nichole Canuso Dance Co. will perform her “Solo,” a new work she is developing and refining to create a “composite view of a life.” This work has been influenced by a year long mentorship with British movement/theater artist Wendy Houstoun,
Super Group, Erin Search-Wells, Sam Johnson and Jeffrey Wells from Minneapolis will perform “The Tent Has Been Pulled Down.” The trio builds movement and text together, exploring and accumulating the impulsive energy of the “mess contradictions of our complicated lives.”
”[This] collaborative, interdisciplinary ensemble has been delighting and wowing audiences with super-imaginative explorations that blur the boundaries of dance, theater, and performance art.” – Citypages
Jose Navarrete and Debby Kajiyama are the co-directors of Kajiyama Dance Theater in San Francisco. Navarrete returns to SCUBA ( in 2008 he performed his poignant and memorable “Huitlacoche”) for this round of SCUBA he and Kajiyama will perform “BAILOUT! Or can you picture this prophecy ? The temperature too hot for me” a suite of dances that respond to our earth’s upheavals as the climate changes.
Elia Mrak from Seattle will present “erica” a solo performed by Ella Badgeley. “Badgeley performed with intense beauty, authenticity, and stamina. Mrak has taken artistic risks that keep the audience hanging on every movement …” – Seattle Dance Blog
SCUBA is made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts and PDP’s partner in presenting the Temple University Boyer College of Music & Dance Conwell Theater.
Choreographer Niki Cousineau and Composer/Designer Jorge Cousineau, as Subcircle, have created poetical and moving theatrical works that focus on the space where performance happens. When the synchronization of their specific ideas turns into movement, video/film,light, sound and set, their performances have engulfed audiences into virtual, real, imagined and imaginary places.
Usually the space is completely pre-constructed into which sound, images/light and movement build drama and meaning. For this performance the two artists will create a new work in which the movers and set become performing antagonists. The active builder of the environment will be present. The meaning of how they interact, support, thwart and resolve such encompassing is the subject to be explored.
Subcirle’s attention to detail and the intensity of their full scale atmospheric work is outstanding among their peers. “Riveting” and “magically surreal,” Subcircle’s work “unfolds episodically yet seamlessly, with continuous transformations” which transform theatrical and site-specific spaces by merging dance, sound, set design, lighting and film. Whether site-specific or performance for the stage, each work aims to convey to audience and performer alike - an inseparability of performance from environment.
about the artists
Subcircle was founded in 1997 by co-directors by Niki Cousineau and Jorge Cousineau
Their work transforms theatrical and site-specific spaces, merging dance, sound, set design, lighting and film. Whether site-specific or performance for the stage, the work aims to convey to audience and performer alike - an inseparability of performance from environment. With collaboration at its core, the company has worked with choreographer/director Carol Brown (London/New Zealand), composer Toby Twining, actor Geoff Sobelle, choreographers Darla Stanley and Gin MacCallum among others. Some of their works include Just Between Me (2001), Crevice (2003), Somewhere Close to Now (2005), and Only Sleeping (2010). In January 2011 Niki traveled to Auckland, New Zealand to work with Carol Brown on Subcircle’s SEED which premiered in November 2011. In 2012 Subcircle created forget me…forget me not as part of the site–specific Commotion Festival, Grays Ferry neighborhood in Philadelphia.
Subcircle’s work has been performed throughout Germany in Potsdam, Berlin, Dresden and Broellin, where they participated in the Body and Landscape Residency at the International Theater Research Center Schloss Broellin. In Philadelphia, they have been presented in DanceBOOM, the nEW Festival, Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, and Blindspot 2011. Their dance film HERE was presented at the Michener Museum as part of the exhibit Lucid Dreaming and in the Philadelphia Dance Projects’ Motion Pictures mini-fest of dance on film/video. In 2010, Niki and Jorge collaborated with Arden Theatre Company’s production of Sunday in the Park with George.
Niki Cousineau is a Philadelphia based choreographer, dancer. She is a 2007 Pew Fellow and recipient of grants from Pew Center for Arts & Heritage’s Dance Advance program, the Independence Foundation and PA Council on the Arts. As a performer Niki works regularly with Headlong Dance Theater. In Spring 2012 Niki was a choreographic fellow at Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC) in Florida.
Jorge Cousineau is a Designer/Composer. He was born in Dresden, Germany, where he studied scenic design and painting from 1992-97 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Dresden and received a diploma in painting in 1997. During that time he started to combine aspects of his visual training with other genres such as dance and music. In 1996 he was invited to create music for Group Motion Company during their residency in Dresden, which opened him a way to Philadelphia. Since then Jorge has created sets, lights, sound and video for over 150 dance and theater productions in and around Philadelphia, most notably with the Arden Theatre Company, where he has designed over 40 shows, the Wilma Theater, 1812 Productions, Pig Iron Theatre Company, and New Paradise Laboratories.1998 marked the beginning of the collaborations between Jorge and his wife Niki which resulted in the founding of their company Subcircle. He created aural and visual environments for all Subcircle pieces, starting with Channel (1998) and Subcircle (1999), collaborating with a wide range of artists and choreographers. In 2004 Jorge was awarded a fellowship from the Independence Foundation, which allowed him to conceive his first solo work, The Absence, a radioplay in a minimal light installation which was produced by the Live Arts Festival. In 2009 he received a second fellowship to support his research in sound design and new approaches to theater in London and GermanyJorge was awarded the 2004 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Theatre Artist and has won Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Set Design for The Four Of Us (1812 Productions), Outstanding Sound Design for Anodyne (Pig Iron), The Giver (People’s Light And Theatre), Scorched (Wilma Theatre). For his sound design on the New York production of Opus he received a Drama Desk nomination and won the Lucille Lortel Award. In 2011 Jorge was awarded a Pew Fellowship in the Arts and was named Theatre Artist of the Year by Philadelphia Weekly.
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