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SCENES & MOTIONS: Breaking Through

How immersive performances in the ATL are redefining the theatre experience

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Photo credit: Courtesy of hereafter arTist collective
The Black Box presented by Hereafter Artist Collective.

Immersive. Interactive. Experiential. Site specific. Whatever the term, the allure of art that invites your direct participation is very much alive all over Atlanta.
Sky Creature, LifeVisionVR, Fly on a Wall, gloATL, Flight of Swallows, Deer Bear Wolf, Out of Hand, PushPush Film &Theater, Seedworks, The Object Group, Hereafter Artist Collective, Liquid Sky, MakeShift Circus Collective, Serenbe Playhouse, and Brian Clowdus Immersive Experiences are among a growing array of ATL-based visual, media, and performing arts groups and companies creating sensory-heavy (and often phone-free) environments for exploring emotions, sharing stories, and building community.
Some of ATL’s most captivating storytellers and cultural connectors create all-enveloping environments:
• Sitting in the dark during The Black Box, you feel the cellist’s bow caress the strings. The lonely sounds massage your eardrum and open your heart.
• The night’s first sultry zephyr floats across your face, a slight kiss on your moist cheek. A sassy ingenue sails overhead from a trapeze in Ragtime: The Musical, her song of lust and passion floating through the air.
• You creep ever so gently through the Skin, the tactile environment in Sky Creature’s Sin Piel, that “holy place with a once divine presence, a place to confess, atone and heal, but that has now become a corrupted sanctuary…”  In order to pass through its gates, you must participate in a ritual that involves tasting the space you exist in.
These are just a few of the sensory experiences you may have encountered over the last few weeks, as a guest of these dreamweavers of the “stage.”
Immersive theater shows take place in abandoned warehouses or hidden basements or former mental institutions or public parks at midnight. They’re not just about stepping into an imagined world. They’re about exploring overlooked and mysterious corners of the city. Real estate-obsessed urbanites love nothing more than entrée to buildings that were formerly off-limits, and intrepid explorers love visiting neighborhoods that are off the beaten path. 
In the past year or so, several theatrical productions and creative events took place in unusual performance spaces around Atlanta. Fly On A Wall presented Byte indoors, but Dave and Public Arcana took place outside Colony Square and in a West End park. Small audiences gathering in private living rooms last fall to see the one-woman play Shaking the Wind (Out of Hand Theatre) and in the bathrooms of private residences this past spring to participate in another one-woman play, Broken Bone Bathtub.
Deer Bear Wolf produced their re-telling of the Peter Pan story, Second Star to the Right, in three parts in three outdoor locations, including a trio of large tree houses. Audiences were encouraged to dress in style to witness their version of “CLUE” inside the Swan House at The Atlanta History Center. The Sleepy Hollow Experience by Serenbe Playhouse took audiences in and around an actual horse stable, and Brian Clowdus’ The Edgar Allan Poe Experience invited everyone to enjoy a cocktail while following the tormented author in and out of four 19th-century rooms at the Wren’s Nest in West End. And back in February, gloATL held a screening of their documentary A Night of Alchemy and served food and drinks in the empty shell of the abandoned Rhodes Theater on Peachtree Street in Midtown.
Curious Holiday Encounters (7 Stages Theatre, The Object Group, Weird Sisters Theatre, etc.), The Golden Record, Dead Poets Lounge, and The Black Box (all by Hereafter Arts Collective in collaboration with other artists), and especially TRANSMIGRATION and Sin Piel by Sky Creature (formerly Saiah), also banished traditional theater’s Fourth Wall and pulled audiences out of comfort zones and deep into other lives, eras, psyches, dreams, and dimensions.
Beginning this month and into the fall, curious culture seekers and anyone seeking authentic human connection can dive head first into several immersive experiences. Mediums Collective’s first project Are We There Yet? will guide audiences through a labyrinth they’ve constructed at Windmill Arts Center in East Point where you encounter ritual and individual expressions of grief before being invited into spaces of healing. Other opportunities include gloATL’s month-long “activation” of the contemporary art in the Cousins Galleries, The Object Group’s multi-media exploration of anti-Arab racism in Camus’ “The Stranger” at 7 Stages, Liquid Sky’s steam punk celebration of the 20th anniversary of The B Complex artists studios in Oakland City, and the return of The Poe Experience with its Sleep No More-style of multi-room, interactive (and potentially confrontational) performances.
 


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Sky Creature's 'Sin Piel'. Photo by Laura McCrain.
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'Hz' presented by Fly on the Wall. Photo by Paige McFall.



These days, the average age of audiences attending the often excellent productions at the more established subscription theaters tends to be 45 or older. Why are millennials and their 20-something siblings avoiding these more traditional theater and seeking out something — anything — immersive or interactive?
“Younger audiences are restless. They’re definitely less interested then their parents or grandparents in seeing a show on a stage,” says Object Group founder (and former 7 Stages associate artistic director) Michael Haverty. “They don’t want to sit in seats for two hours or more watching actors recite lines. Nowadays, everyone wants to talk to the ringmaster. This is all part of the evolution of the art of theatre.” Haverty adds, “Millennials want accessibility and flexibility. They want to be able to touch someone, be part of the performance; anything to feel part of the ‘family’ of performers around them.”  
Over the past decade, Haverty, an accomplished puppeteer and director, has created some of the most exciting and innovative work in the city. The Navigator (2013) at 7 Stages and The Breakers (2016), both presented at The Goat Farm, were popular with younger audiences who were fascinated by the surprising use of puppetry, video projections, sound effects, specially-designed props and, in the case of The Breakers, an entire house built inside a cavernous 19th century-era brick-walled factory.
Haverty left his position at 7 Stages last year to spend more time with his young son. “I’m still full of ideas for new theater works, but I’m really not that interested in directing actors on a stage anymore.”
Another multitalented Atlanta artist who’s worked in a wide range of settings is Nicolette Emanuelle, a classically trained cellist and experimental storyteller. In 2016, Emanuelle helped start Hereafter Artist Collective and began hosting the Dead Poets Lounge, a one-night event in various locations that combines literature, circus arts, acting, and live music to bring to life the poems of dead poets. Their promo blurb read as follows: “Imagine The Raven is a woman, watch Porphyria’s Lover dance in the air, and let your imagination go wild.”
Emanuelle thinks younger audiences are not so much bored with traditional theater, but desperate for something bolder. “So many people are unemployed or underemployed. They crave something that will snap them out of their funk!” She’s quick to add, “Don’t get me wrong. I really love millennials. Believe it or not, they actually have hope for the future.”
This looser, experience-based vs. plot-based approach to theater and storytelling happens in a real, physical space alongside fellow humans as opposed to virtual or smart-phone space so many people live in. Being in such close proximity to performers also heightens an awareness of the artist’s physical body. Voyeurism is part of any theatrical experience, but participatory performance often involves physical touch. In many instances, you can share an intimate one-on-one encounter with a performer. 
“As a female and a professional aerialist, I’m not comfortable with random people touching me,” declares Marilyn Chen, owner of the cirque-style entertainment company Liquid Sky. “But I understand how much everyone seems to crave authentic connection. As performers, we’re able to look into people’s eyes in a way that most nonperformers can’t. The people watching us are able to experience a kind of intimacy that they seldom have in their daily phone-focused lives.”
Few Atlanta storytellers have been as bold and adventurous with sensory performance as director/playwright Marium Khalid. Just a few years ago, Khalid was the toast of Atlanta theater with her company Saiah and their daringly immersive productions. City of Lions and Gods was ArtsATL’s choice for best production of 2011. The following year, the even more ambitious Rua | Wülf, an adult retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood story that took audiences in and out of every corner of the Goat Farm, was voted Best Play by the readers of this publication. But after Saiah’s critically acclaimed outdoor production Terminus in 2014, Khalid dropped out of sight. 
Khalid has returned with a new production company, Sky Creature, and a new show, Sin Piel, which was presented last May in The Circus School building in Grant Park. Khalid describes Sky Creature as “the next evolution of Saiah.” In her words, “We dive into truths from all perspectives and explore them through a new form, using scent, taste, touch, sight and sound — and a new form of virtual reality like you’ve never experienced before.”
Sin Piel is an enveloping sensory experience inspired by “the ‘Anatomical Venus,’ mental illness, and an exploration of spiritual darkness.” After suffering a serious, life-threatening illness over a period of two years, Khalid decided to create Sin Piel as “a journey that draws us into the innermost sacred parts of our spiritual and physical anatomy …(where) we explore the shadow and light of our internal being, as well as how we choose to engage with our individual pain …”
The scrupulously tactile and gloriously surreal Sin Piel, like all the best immersive theater works, seems to have the same goal as theater or art in any form. Namely, to move, to engage, to amuse, to enlighten, and to connect. To make us feel less alone and to build empathy and, ultimately, to make that authentic human connection all living beings long for.



More By This Writer

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  string(13075) "Why should I step outside of my warm home where I am often tantalized with endless streaming of Amazon Prime and Netflix and CBS All Access ... and make my way to a live stage production on a chilly winter night? An experience that can pull me away from hearth and home is a performance that surprises me, upsets me, or makes me feel something, suddenly and deeply. 

That usually means art that puts me intimately in touch with someone else’s reality. I have yet to see the six productions described below, but from what I have read about them I believe they each share the same dramatic DNA. They offer the promise of a powerful or playful hour or two experiencing what it is to be alive and aware while sitting still in a room filled with strangers.

Maybe Happy Ending

Maybe Happy Ending is a sci-fi musical now playing at the Alliance Theatre through February 16. Set in Seoul, Korea, 50 years in the future, it is a tragicomic love story about two robotic servants known as “helperbots” living in an apartment building for obsolete models. Before they meet and fall in a certain type of “love,” Claire and Oliver are living alone and isolated like “hikikomori,” the Japanese cultural phenomenon in which people never leave their rooms for years at a time. 

The English-language premiere of Maybe Happy Ending in Atlanta is directed by Tony nominee Michael Arden (Once on This Island, Spring Awakening). ”Humanity has been around for a while and grown cynical,” says Arden. “Compared to humans, Claire and Oliver are innocent and trusting. They have a pure way of connecting to each other and to the larger world they discover together.” 

Composer Will Aronson and lyricist Hue Park shared their owns observation in their author’s note for the play. “It’s easy to imagine a future when people start to become indistinguishable from their electronic gadgets. But underneath this, all the old human longings and fears and dreams are still there, unchanged …. Once you take that risk and go out into the world, you have the possibility of experiencing something beautiful. But you don’t have any kind of guaranteed happy ending out of it. It’s all a question mark.” 

If the romantic sci-fi premise of Maybe Happy Ending isn’t a compelling enough emotional tractor beam to pull you in, this Alliance production is also full of stellar Broadway talent. This includes scenic design by Dane Laffrey (Once on This Island), costume design by Clint Ramos (The Rose Tattoo, Eclipsed), lighting design by Travis Hagenbuch, projections design by Sven Ortel (Newsies the Musical), and sound design by Peter Hylenski (Beetlejuice, Once on This Island). 

Originally written in Korean, Maybe Happy Ending premiered in Seoul in 2016 to smash success, winning six Korean Music Awards. Like so many other popular Alliance musical premieres, (Aida, The Color Purple, Bring It On, The Prom, etc.), it’s easy to imagine a not-too-distant future where Maybe Happy Ending ends up on Broadway and earns its own accolades.

$10-$85. Through Feb. 16. Alliance Theatre. 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. 404-733-4650. https://alliancetheatre.org/production/2019-20/maybe-happy-ending

This Random World: The Myth of Serendipity

“… the cascading series of coincidences neatly illustrates the idea that, as the title suggests, we are all hostages to chance.” — Charles Isherwood, The New York Times.

Since 1981, American playwright Steven Dietz has had over 50 of his plays and adaptations produced across the US and around the world; indeed, over the past 10 years, no living playwright has had as many of their plays produced on American stages. Out of Box Theatre is the first ATL ensemble to present Dietz’s This Random World: The Myth of Serendipity since it premiered at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville four years ago. More than one publication has described the play by saying it “asks the serious question of how often we travel parallel paths through the world without noticing.”

Dietz’s wistful comedy of missed connections reveals brief emotional moments in the lives of an aging mother, her grown son and daughter, and four other people all just one degree of separation away. Their stories intersect so closely that audiences are convinced they’ll all collide or converge sooner or later. But they … .

Dietz doesn’t go for the easy, expected dramatic payoff. In This Random World, serendipity is less about coincidental encounters down the street or at the other end of the world, and more about missing someone by a just few moments. None of Dietz’ characters will ever know what they’ve missed. But we will. And perhaps leave the theatre poignantly wondering, “if only…”

$22. Feb. 14-23. Out of Box Theatre, 585 Cobb Pkwy. S, Suite C-1, Marietta. 678-653-4605. http://www.outofboxtheatre.com/randomworld

Fun Home

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Freddie Ashley, Actor’s Express has had 13 seasons of popular success mounting bold productions of major musicals and critically acclaimed dramas. This track record is reason enough to buy a ticket to anything they do at their cozy quarters in the King Plow complex on the Westside. But by any theatrical standard, Fun Home is something special: a wholly original 90-minute musical about what happens when you finally see your parents through grown-up eyes.

The loyal fanbase for Alison Bechdel’s long-running Dykes to Watch Out For comic strip adored Fun Home as a graphic novel when it was published to rave reviews in 2006. By 2013, Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori had adapted the book into a musical premiering Off Broadway at the Public Theater. Fun Home became a critical sensation once again, not only named Best Musical by the New York Drama Critics’ Circle, but also a finalist for that year’s Pulitzer Prize in Drama. After several reruns by popular demand, Fun Home moved to Broadway in 2015, where it won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Book for a Musical. The following year, the live cast recording won a Grammy award.

The TV ads for the first national tour screamed, “Welcome to a musical about a family that’s nothing like yours — and exactly like yours.” Okay. So, I wonder, how many of you can relate to this author’s wonder years? Alison’s autobiographical tale, which traces the childhood events that led to her becoming a graphic novelist, allows her to reflect upon herself at various points in the past — three ages, played by three actresses. The oldest version often shares the stage with one of the younger versions and looks sweetly or critically at herself at various points in her past. 

As Small Allison, she remembers her funeral director/home remodeler/high school teacher dad as spirited, eccentric, preoccupied, and demanding. She romps around the “fun home,” the family’s nickname for the funeral parlor, hiding in the coffins with her two brothers. She doesn’t realize her father is also a closeted, very repressed homosexual having secret affairs. Later, Medium Allison, the college freshman, finds the courage to come out as a lesbian, first to a female classmate she loves and later to her parents. Finally, looking back on her father’s struggles from the vantage point of middle age, she comes to believe that his untimely death must have been suicide.

I said I haven’t seen these productions. However, I did see the Broadway production of Fun Home with the original cast. I can tell you that the script is one of the best I’ve heard in a musical. Very smart and achingly honest. Incisive, wry, compelling, and yet, at certain moments, laugh-out-loud funny. But the music and the songs are what really make this piece of theater so moving and emotionally powerful. The music and lyrics are woven as effortlessly as the best works of Stephen Sondheim, and I can tell you from memory that the sounds of Fun Home seamlessly shift from giddy to gorgeous, melancholy to zany, angry to haunting, and, ultimately, to heartbreaking and luminous. 

Even if Actor’s Express does half as good a job as the Broadway cast, this Fun Home promises to be one of the highlights of the theater season.

$20-$40. Showtimes vary. Through Feb. 16. Actor’s Express, 87 West Marietta S.t N.W. Suite J-107. 404-607-7469. https://www.actors-express.com/plays/fun-home

Tribes

British playwright Nina Raine explained in a 2010 interview that the idea of writing Tribes came to her after she saw a documentary about a deaf couple who were expecting a child and were hoping it would be born deaf. It occurred to Raine that this family was essentially a tribe whose members wanted to pass on values, beliefs, and language to their children. Each tribe has its own rituals, hierarchies and ways of communicating that are often hard for “outsiders” to understand. She began to see that there were tribes everywhere, including individual families, religious communities, and groups like the (self-defined) deaf community. 

Raine’s play focuses on a dysfunctional middle-class British Jewish family with three grown children, all living at home. One of the two sons, Billy, born deaf, was raised to read lips and to speak but was never taught sign language. Billy’s family, like every other, behaves like a club with its own private language, jokes, and rules. In this Jewish household, arguments, no matter how heated, are considered an expression of love. 

But then Billy meets Sylvia, a hearing woman born to deaf parents who is now slowly going deaf herself. She hates that she’s losing her hearing and begins teaching Billy sign language. After learning about the values of the deaf community, Billy confronts his own family’s beliefs and values. Finally, it is the deaf family member who demands to be heard.

DramaTech, Georgia Tech’s student-run theatre organization, has been around for 73 years. Tribes is an award-winning script, and many productions feature a deaf actor in the role of Billy. This might well be a student production worth seeking out.

$8-$15. 8 p.m. February 7–15, DramaTech Theatre, 349 Ferst Drive. 404-894-3481. https://dramatech.org/events/

Wooden Nickels

In this new one-act play at Theatre Emory directed by Atlanta theatre legend Tim McDonough, two brothers from a Jewish family in Lubbock, Texas, tell the story of their father and his eccentric con-man cousin. Novelist Joseph Skibell (A Curable Romantic) wrote Wooden Nickles based on an essay about Jack Tiger, his father’s cousin, which first appeared in Skibell’s book My Father’s Guitar and Other Imaginary Things. Critic Dara Bramsom called the essay collection “a chronicle of experience and aging, the process within which a part of us — no matter how much we resist it — inevitably echoes our parents.” Others have compared Skibell’s style to “Mark Twain meets Isaac Bashevis Singer meets Wes Anderson.”

7:30 p.m. Feb. 26-29; 2 p.m., March 1.  , Theatre Emory, 1602 Fishburne Drive # 230. 404-727-0524. http://theater.emory.edu/home/shows-events/calendar.html#/?i=1

Stellaluna

When Stellaluna unexpectedly falls into the middle of a bird family’s home, the baby fruit bat is graciously accepted as one of them, but only if she acts like a bird. “Mama Bird told me I was upside down. She said I was wrong...” says the little bat. “Wrong for a bird, maybe, but not for a bat!” Eventually, Stellaluna finds other bats and reunites with her mother. She introduces the birds to her bat family, and she and the birds decide that, despite their many differences, they are still friends. This world premiere adaptation at the Center for Puppetry Arts celebrates self-discoveries, unlikely friendships, and how we can be so different yet feel so much the same. 

Creative wizard Jon Ludwig adapted the story and directed the original production, which has been mounted on the largest set ever built at the Puppetry Center, and where every visual detail is closely based on the beloved children’s book by Janell Cannon. The author said she wrote the book to demonstrate that feeling like “a bat in a bird’s world” was universal. She must have been right, because since its publication in 1993, Stellaluna has sold well over two million copies globally and been translated into 30 languages. 

$19.50 and $25. Showtimes vary. Through March 8.Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring St. N.W. https://puppet.org/programs/stellaluna-2/

Parents. Families. Memory. Childhood. Nesting. Dreams. I definitely see patterns here, and they’re matching my mood in this, my 60th winter.

So, brave the slight chill of Atlanta this February and March. Get inside a theatre, meet some of these all-too-human families, and see if you recognize some part of your soul in one or more of these characters. Sitting there in the dark, listening, you might also discover a new, even more fascinating version of yourself. — CL —"
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That usually means art that puts me intimately in touch with someone else’s reality. I have yet to see the six productions described below, but from what I have read about them I believe they each share the same dramatic DNA. They offer the promise of a powerful or playful hour or two experiencing what it is to be alive and aware while sitting still in a room filled with strangers.

__Maybe Happy Ending__

Maybe Happy Ending is a sci-fi musical now playing at the Alliance Theatre through February 16. Set in Seoul, Korea, 50 years in the future, it is a tragicomic love story about two robotic servants known as “helperbots” living in an apartment building for obsolete models. Before they meet and fall in a certain type of “love,” Claire and Oliver are living alone and isolated like “hikikomori,” the Japanese cultural phenomenon in which people never leave their rooms for years at a time. 

The English-language premiere of Maybe Happy Ending in Atlanta is directed by Tony nominee Michael Arden (Once on This Island, Spring Awakening). ”Humanity has been around for a while and grown cynical,” says Arden. “Compared to humans, Claire and Oliver are innocent and trusting. They have a pure way of connecting to each other and to the larger world they discover together.” 

Composer Will Aronson and lyricist Hue Park shared their owns observation in their author’s note for the play. “It’s easy to imagine a future when people start to become indistinguishable from their electronic gadgets. But underneath this, all the old human longings and fears and dreams are still there, unchanged …. Once you take that risk and go out into the world, you have the possibility of experiencing something beautiful. But you don’t have any kind of guaranteed happy ending out of it. It’s all a question mark.” 

If the romantic sci-fi premise of Maybe Happy Ending isn’t a compelling enough emotional tractor beam to pull you in, this Alliance production is also full of stellar Broadway talent. This includes scenic design by Dane Laffrey (Once on This Island), costume design by Clint Ramos (The Rose Tattoo, Eclipsed), lighting design by Travis Hagenbuch, projections design by Sven Ortel (Newsies the Musical), and sound design by Peter Hylenski (Beetlejuice, Once on This Island). 

Originally written in Korean, Maybe Happy Ending premiered in Seoul in 2016 to smash success, winning six Korean Music Awards. Like so many other popular Alliance musical premieres, (Aida, The Color Purple, Bring It On, The Prom, etc.), it’s easy to imagine a not-too-distant future where Maybe Happy Ending ends up on Broadway and earns its own accolades.

$10-$85. Through Feb. 16. Alliance Theatre. 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. 404-733-4650. https://alliancetheatre.org/production/2019-20/maybe-happy-ending

__This Random World: The Myth of Serendipity__

“… the cascading series of coincidences neatly illustrates the idea that, as the title suggests, we are all hostages to chance.” — Charles Isherwood, The New York Times.

Since 1981, American playwright Steven Dietz has had over 50 of his plays and adaptations produced across the US and around the world; indeed, over the past 10 years, no living playwright has had as many of their plays produced on American stages. Out of Box Theatre is the first ATL ensemble to present Dietz’s This Random World: The Myth of Serendipity since it premiered at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville four years ago. More than one publication has described the play by saying it “asks the serious question of how often we travel parallel paths through the world without noticing.”

Dietz’s wistful comedy of missed connections reveals brief emotional moments in the lives of an aging mother, her grown son and daughter, and four other people all just one degree of separation away. Their stories intersect so closely that audiences are convinced they’ll all collide or converge sooner or later. But they … .

Dietz doesn’t go for the easy, expected dramatic payoff. In This Random World, serendipity is less about coincidental encounters down the street or at the other end of the world, and more about missing someone by a just few moments. None of Dietz’ characters will ever know what they’ve missed. But we will. And perhaps leave the theatre poignantly wondering, “if only…”

$22. Feb. 14-23. Out of Box Theatre, 585 Cobb Pkwy. S, Suite C-1, Marietta. 678-653-4605. http://www.outofboxtheatre.com/randomworld

__Fun Home__

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Freddie Ashley, Actor’s Express has had 13 seasons of popular success mounting bold productions of major musicals and critically acclaimed dramas. This track record is reason enough to buy a ticket to anything they do at their cozy quarters in the King Plow complex on the Westside. But by any theatrical standard, Fun Home is something special: a wholly original 90-minute musical about what happens when you finally see your parents through grown-up eyes.

The loyal fanbase for Alison Bechdel’s long-running Dykes to Watch Out For comic strip adored Fun Home as a graphic novel when it was published to rave reviews in 2006. By 2013, Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori had adapted the book into a musical premiering Off Broadway at the Public Theater. Fun Home became a critical sensation once again, not only named Best Musical by the New York Drama Critics’ Circle, but also a finalist for that year’s Pulitzer Prize in Drama. After several reruns by popular demand, Fun Home moved to Broadway in 2015, where it won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Book for a Musical. The following year, the live cast recording won a Grammy award.

The TV ads for the first national tour screamed, “Welcome to a musical about a family that’s nothing like yours — and exactly like yours.” Okay. So, I wonder, how many of you can relate to this author’s wonder years? Alison’s autobiographical tale, which traces the childhood events that led to her becoming a graphic novelist, allows her to reflect upon herself at various points in the past — three ages, played by three actresses. The oldest version often shares the stage with one of the younger versions and looks sweetly or critically at herself at various points in her past. 

As Small Allison, she remembers her funeral director/home remodeler/high school teacher dad as spirited, eccentric, preoccupied, and demanding. She romps around the “fun home,” the family’s nickname for the funeral parlor, hiding in the coffins with her two brothers. She doesn’t realize her father is also a closeted, very repressed homosexual having secret affairs. Later, Medium Allison, the college freshman, finds the courage to come out as a lesbian, first to a female classmate she loves and later to her parents. Finally, looking back on her father’s struggles from the vantage point of middle age, she comes to believe that his untimely death must have been suicide.

I said I haven’t seen these productions. However, I did see the Broadway production of Fun Home with the original cast. I can tell you that the script is one of the best I’ve heard in a musical. Very smart and achingly honest. Incisive, wry, compelling, and yet, at certain moments, laugh-out-loud funny. But the music and the songs are what really make this piece of theater so moving and emotionally powerful. The music and lyrics are woven as effortlessly as the best works of Stephen Sondheim, and I can tell you from memory that the sounds of Fun Home seamlessly shift from giddy to gorgeous, melancholy to zany, angry to haunting, and, ultimately, to heartbreaking and luminous. 

Even if Actor’s Express does half as good a job as the Broadway cast, this Fun Home promises to be one of the highlights of the theater season.

$20-$40. Showtimes vary. Through Feb. 16. Actor’s Express, 87 West Marietta S.t N.W. Suite J-107. 404-607-7469. https://www.actors-express.com/plays/fun-home

__Tribes__

British playwright Nina Raine explained in a 2010 interview that the idea of writing Tribes came to her after she saw a documentary about a deaf couple who were expecting a child and were hoping it would be born deaf. It occurred to Raine that this family was essentially a tribe whose members wanted to pass on values, beliefs, and language to their children. Each tribe has its own rituals, hierarchies and ways of communicating that are often hard for “outsiders” to understand. She began to see that there were tribes everywhere, including individual families, religious communities, and groups like the (self-defined) deaf community. 

Raine’s play focuses on a dysfunctional middle-class British Jewish family with three grown children, all living at home. One of the two sons, Billy, born deaf, was raised to read lips and to speak but was never taught sign language. Billy’s family, like every other, behaves like a club with its own private language, jokes, and rules. In this Jewish household, arguments, no matter how heated, are considered an expression of love. 

But then Billy meets Sylvia, a hearing woman born to deaf parents who is now slowly going deaf herself. She hates that she’s losing her hearing and begins teaching Billy sign language. After learning about the values of the deaf community, Billy confronts his own family’s beliefs and values. Finally, it is the deaf family member who demands to be heard.

DramaTech, Georgia Tech’s student-run theatre organization, has been around for 73 years. Tribes is an award-winning script, and many productions feature a deaf actor in the role of Billy. This might well be a student production worth seeking out.

$8-$15. 8 p.m. February 7–15, DramaTech Theatre, 349 Ferst Drive. 404-894-3481. https://dramatech.org/events/

__Wooden Nickels__

In this new one-act play at Theatre Emory directed by Atlanta theatre legend Tim McDonough, two brothers from a Jewish family in Lubbock, Texas, tell the story of their father and his eccentric con-man cousin. Novelist Joseph Skibell (A Curable Romantic) wrote Wooden Nickles based on an essay about Jack Tiger, his father’s cousin, which first appeared in Skibell’s book My Father’s Guitar and Other Imaginary Things. Critic Dara Bramsom called the essay collection “a chronicle of experience and aging, the process within which a part of us — no matter how much we resist it — inevitably echoes our parents.” Others have compared Skibell’s style to “Mark Twain meets Isaac Bashevis Singer meets Wes Anderson.”

7:30 p.m. Feb. 26-29; 2 p.m., March 1.  , Theatre Emory, 1602 Fishburne Drive # 230. 404-727-0524. http://theater.emory.edu/home/shows-events/calendar.html#/?i=1

__Stellaluna__

When Stellaluna unexpectedly falls into the middle of a bird family’s home, the baby fruit bat is graciously accepted as one of them, but only if she acts like a bird. “Mama Bird told me I was upside down. She said I was wrong...” says the little bat. “Wrong for a bird, maybe, but not for a bat!” Eventually, Stellaluna finds other bats and reunites with her mother. She introduces the birds to her bat family, and she and the birds decide that, despite their many differences, they are still friends. This world premiere adaptation at the Center for Puppetry Arts celebrates self-discoveries, unlikely friendships, and how we can be so different yet feel so much the same. 

Creative wizard Jon Ludwig adapted the story and directed the original production, which has been mounted on the largest set ever built at the Puppetry Center, and where every visual detail is closely based on the beloved children’s book by Janell Cannon. The author said she wrote the book to demonstrate that feeling like “a bat in a bird’s world” was universal. She must have been right, because since its publication in 1993, Stellaluna has sold well over two million copies globally and been translated into 30 languages. 

$19.50 and $25. Showtimes vary. Through March 8.Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring St. N.W. https://puppet.org/programs/stellaluna-2/

Parents. Families. Memory. Childhood. Nesting. Dreams. I definitely see patterns here, and they’re matching my mood in this, my 60th winter.

So, brave the slight chill of Atlanta this February and March. Get inside a theatre, meet some of these all-too-human families, and see if you recognize some part of your soul in one or more of these characters. Sitting there in the dark, listening, you might also discover a new, even more fascinating version of yourself. __— CL —__"
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  string(13580) " S&M MHE2 2  2020-02-04T18:57:05+00:00 S&M_MHE2_2.jpg    scenes&motions These plays may reflect our all-too-human longings 28512  2020-02-04T18:51:10+00:00 SCENES & MOTIONS: Not me. Us: six chances to connect will.cardwell@gmail.com Will Cardwell EDWARD MCNALLY  2020-02-04T18:51:10+00:00  Why should I step outside of my warm home where I am often tantalized with endless streaming of Amazon Prime and Netflix and CBS All Access ... and make my way to a live stage production on a chilly winter night? An experience that can pull me away from hearth and home is a performance that surprises me, upsets me, or makes me feel something, suddenly and deeply. 

That usually means art that puts me intimately in touch with someone else’s reality. I have yet to see the six productions described below, but from what I have read about them I believe they each share the same dramatic DNA. They offer the promise of a powerful or playful hour or two experiencing what it is to be alive and aware while sitting still in a room filled with strangers.

Maybe Happy Ending

Maybe Happy Ending is a sci-fi musical now playing at the Alliance Theatre through February 16. Set in Seoul, Korea, 50 years in the future, it is a tragicomic love story about two robotic servants known as “helperbots” living in an apartment building for obsolete models. Before they meet and fall in a certain type of “love,” Claire and Oliver are living alone and isolated like “hikikomori,” the Japanese cultural phenomenon in which people never leave their rooms for years at a time. 

The English-language premiere of Maybe Happy Ending in Atlanta is directed by Tony nominee Michael Arden (Once on This Island, Spring Awakening). ”Humanity has been around for a while and grown cynical,” says Arden. “Compared to humans, Claire and Oliver are innocent and trusting. They have a pure way of connecting to each other and to the larger world they discover together.” 

Composer Will Aronson and lyricist Hue Park shared their owns observation in their author’s note for the play. “It’s easy to imagine a future when people start to become indistinguishable from their electronic gadgets. But underneath this, all the old human longings and fears and dreams are still there, unchanged …. Once you take that risk and go out into the world, you have the possibility of experiencing something beautiful. But you don’t have any kind of guaranteed happy ending out of it. It’s all a question mark.” 

If the romantic sci-fi premise of Maybe Happy Ending isn’t a compelling enough emotional tractor beam to pull you in, this Alliance production is also full of stellar Broadway talent. This includes scenic design by Dane Laffrey (Once on This Island), costume design by Clint Ramos (The Rose Tattoo, Eclipsed), lighting design by Travis Hagenbuch, projections design by Sven Ortel (Newsies the Musical), and sound design by Peter Hylenski (Beetlejuice, Once on This Island). 

Originally written in Korean, Maybe Happy Ending premiered in Seoul in 2016 to smash success, winning six Korean Music Awards. Like so many other popular Alliance musical premieres, (Aida, The Color Purple, Bring It On, The Prom, etc.), it’s easy to imagine a not-too-distant future where Maybe Happy Ending ends up on Broadway and earns its own accolades.

$10-$85. Through Feb. 16. Alliance Theatre. 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. 404-733-4650. https://alliancetheatre.org/production/2019-20/maybe-happy-ending

This Random World: The Myth of Serendipity

“… the cascading series of coincidences neatly illustrates the idea that, as the title suggests, we are all hostages to chance.” — Charles Isherwood, The New York Times.

Since 1981, American playwright Steven Dietz has had over 50 of his plays and adaptations produced across the US and around the world; indeed, over the past 10 years, no living playwright has had as many of their plays produced on American stages. Out of Box Theatre is the first ATL ensemble to present Dietz’s This Random World: The Myth of Serendipity since it premiered at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville four years ago. More than one publication has described the play by saying it “asks the serious question of how often we travel parallel paths through the world without noticing.”

Dietz’s wistful comedy of missed connections reveals brief emotional moments in the lives of an aging mother, her grown son and daughter, and four other people all just one degree of separation away. Their stories intersect so closely that audiences are convinced they’ll all collide or converge sooner or later. But they … .

Dietz doesn’t go for the easy, expected dramatic payoff. In This Random World, serendipity is less about coincidental encounters down the street or at the other end of the world, and more about missing someone by a just few moments. None of Dietz’ characters will ever know what they’ve missed. But we will. And perhaps leave the theatre poignantly wondering, “if only…”

$22. Feb. 14-23. Out of Box Theatre, 585 Cobb Pkwy. S, Suite C-1, Marietta. 678-653-4605. http://www.outofboxtheatre.com/randomworld

Fun Home

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Freddie Ashley, Actor’s Express has had 13 seasons of popular success mounting bold productions of major musicals and critically acclaimed dramas. This track record is reason enough to buy a ticket to anything they do at their cozy quarters in the King Plow complex on the Westside. But by any theatrical standard, Fun Home is something special: a wholly original 90-minute musical about what happens when you finally see your parents through grown-up eyes.

The loyal fanbase for Alison Bechdel’s long-running Dykes to Watch Out For comic strip adored Fun Home as a graphic novel when it was published to rave reviews in 2006. By 2013, Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori had adapted the book into a musical premiering Off Broadway at the Public Theater. Fun Home became a critical sensation once again, not only named Best Musical by the New York Drama Critics’ Circle, but also a finalist for that year’s Pulitzer Prize in Drama. After several reruns by popular demand, Fun Home moved to Broadway in 2015, where it won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Book for a Musical. The following year, the live cast recording won a Grammy award.

The TV ads for the first national tour screamed, “Welcome to a musical about a family that’s nothing like yours — and exactly like yours.” Okay. So, I wonder, how many of you can relate to this author’s wonder years? Alison’s autobiographical tale, which traces the childhood events that led to her becoming a graphic novelist, allows her to reflect upon herself at various points in the past — three ages, played by three actresses. The oldest version often shares the stage with one of the younger versions and looks sweetly or critically at herself at various points in her past. 

As Small Allison, she remembers her funeral director/home remodeler/high school teacher dad as spirited, eccentric, preoccupied, and demanding. She romps around the “fun home,” the family’s nickname for the funeral parlor, hiding in the coffins with her two brothers. She doesn’t realize her father is also a closeted, very repressed homosexual having secret affairs. Later, Medium Allison, the college freshman, finds the courage to come out as a lesbian, first to a female classmate she loves and later to her parents. Finally, looking back on her father’s struggles from the vantage point of middle age, she comes to believe that his untimely death must have been suicide.

I said I haven’t seen these productions. However, I did see the Broadway production of Fun Home with the original cast. I can tell you that the script is one of the best I’ve heard in a musical. Very smart and achingly honest. Incisive, wry, compelling, and yet, at certain moments, laugh-out-loud funny. But the music and the songs are what really make this piece of theater so moving and emotionally powerful. The music and lyrics are woven as effortlessly as the best works of Stephen Sondheim, and I can tell you from memory that the sounds of Fun Home seamlessly shift from giddy to gorgeous, melancholy to zany, angry to haunting, and, ultimately, to heartbreaking and luminous. 

Even if Actor’s Express does half as good a job as the Broadway cast, this Fun Home promises to be one of the highlights of the theater season.

$20-$40. Showtimes vary. Through Feb. 16. Actor’s Express, 87 West Marietta S.t N.W. Suite J-107. 404-607-7469. https://www.actors-express.com/plays/fun-home

Tribes

British playwright Nina Raine explained in a 2010 interview that the idea of writing Tribes came to her after she saw a documentary about a deaf couple who were expecting a child and were hoping it would be born deaf. It occurred to Raine that this family was essentially a tribe whose members wanted to pass on values, beliefs, and language to their children. Each tribe has its own rituals, hierarchies and ways of communicating that are often hard for “outsiders” to understand. She began to see that there were tribes everywhere, including individual families, religious communities, and groups like the (self-defined) deaf community. 

Raine’s play focuses on a dysfunctional middle-class British Jewish family with three grown children, all living at home. One of the two sons, Billy, born deaf, was raised to read lips and to speak but was never taught sign language. Billy’s family, like every other, behaves like a club with its own private language, jokes, and rules. In this Jewish household, arguments, no matter how heated, are considered an expression of love. 

But then Billy meets Sylvia, a hearing woman born to deaf parents who is now slowly going deaf herself. She hates that she’s losing her hearing and begins teaching Billy sign language. After learning about the values of the deaf community, Billy confronts his own family’s beliefs and values. Finally, it is the deaf family member who demands to be heard.

DramaTech, Georgia Tech’s student-run theatre organization, has been around for 73 years. Tribes is an award-winning script, and many productions feature a deaf actor in the role of Billy. This might well be a student production worth seeking out.

$8-$15. 8 p.m. February 7–15, DramaTech Theatre, 349 Ferst Drive. 404-894-3481. https://dramatech.org/events/

Wooden Nickels

In this new one-act play at Theatre Emory directed by Atlanta theatre legend Tim McDonough, two brothers from a Jewish family in Lubbock, Texas, tell the story of their father and his eccentric con-man cousin. Novelist Joseph Skibell (A Curable Romantic) wrote Wooden Nickles based on an essay about Jack Tiger, his father’s cousin, which first appeared in Skibell’s book My Father’s Guitar and Other Imaginary Things. Critic Dara Bramsom called the essay collection “a chronicle of experience and aging, the process within which a part of us — no matter how much we resist it — inevitably echoes our parents.” Others have compared Skibell’s style to “Mark Twain meets Isaac Bashevis Singer meets Wes Anderson.”

7:30 p.m. Feb. 26-29; 2 p.m., March 1.  , Theatre Emory, 1602 Fishburne Drive # 230. 404-727-0524. http://theater.emory.edu/home/shows-events/calendar.html#/?i=1

Stellaluna

When Stellaluna unexpectedly falls into the middle of a bird family’s home, the baby fruit bat is graciously accepted as one of them, but only if she acts like a bird. “Mama Bird told me I was upside down. She said I was wrong...” says the little bat. “Wrong for a bird, maybe, but not for a bat!” Eventually, Stellaluna finds other bats and reunites with her mother. She introduces the birds to her bat family, and she and the birds decide that, despite their many differences, they are still friends. This world premiere adaptation at the Center for Puppetry Arts celebrates self-discoveries, unlikely friendships, and how we can be so different yet feel so much the same. 

Creative wizard Jon Ludwig adapted the story and directed the original production, which has been mounted on the largest set ever built at the Puppetry Center, and where every visual detail is closely based on the beloved children’s book by Janell Cannon. The author said she wrote the book to demonstrate that feeling like “a bat in a bird’s world” was universal. She must have been right, because since its publication in 1993, Stellaluna has sold well over two million copies globally and been translated into 30 languages. 

$19.50 and $25. Showtimes vary. Through March 8.Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring St. N.W. https://puppet.org/programs/stellaluna-2/

Parents. Families. Memory. Childhood. Nesting. Dreams. I definitely see patterns here, and they’re matching my mood in this, my 60th winter.

So, brave the slight chill of Atlanta this February and March. Get inside a theatre, meet some of these all-too-human families, and see if you recognize some part of your soul in one or more of these characters. Sitting there in the dark, listening, you might also discover a new, even more fascinating version of yourself. — CL —    Courtesy of Alliance Theatre MAYBE HAPPY ENDING: Cathy Ang and Kenny Yang star at the Alliance Theatre.  0,0,11    scenes&motions                             SCENES & MOTIONS: Not me. Us: six chances to connect "
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Tuesday February 4, 2020 01:51 pm EST
These plays may reflect our all-too-human longings | more...
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  string(5983) "This month, from October 3–6, Atlanta-based choreographer George Staib and dance company Staibdance present the world premiere of fence, their most political and socially driven work to date. Staib, working with 13 of our city’s boldest contemporary dancers and a visionary international design team, is expanding on the visceral emotions and cultural tensions that fueled his critically acclaimed dance work moat when it premiered at Emory’s Schwartz Center three summers ago.

Like moat, fence is also inspired by the choreographer’s painful memories of growing up in pre-revolutionary Iran and Reagan-era rural Pennsylvania. Staib’s latest work invites the audience on a personal journey exploring power and powerlessness, the experience of being the outsider, and how the idea of “otherness” can rob us of our power or, ultimately, become the source of our power in this life.

As a young child in Iran in the early 1970s, Staib attended the Tehran American School on the outskirts of the nation’s ancient capital. His classmates were mostly from the U.S. and Europe. As the only student who had been born and raised in Iran, he was painfully self-conscious of his outsider status at school. Staib felt real fear when two American students were lured to a remote part of the campus by two Iranian men who suddenly stabbed the boys through a fence that separated the school from a mostly deserted landscape.

Two years later, in 1977, Staib’s family fled Iran and immigrated to rural Pennsylvania. George grew up in America during the Iranian Revolution and in the shadow of the hostage crisis at the U.S. Embassy that ultimately led to President Jimmy Carter’s political defeat and helped elect Ronald Reagan. In the wake of those global events, and inside yet another fence that surrounded his American high school, Staib felt like even more of an outcast than he had back in Tehran. Other students often hurled rocks at him and his sister and shouted racist, anti-Iranian insults.

Four decades after the emotional and political turmoil of his childhood, Staib now serves on the dance faculty of Emory University. He founded his Atlanta-based dance company in 2012. As a working artist and as an American citizen during these Trumpian dark times, Staib sees the South as a region with many of the same power dynamics (race, religion, gender, class) that he faced in his native Iran and in rural Pennsylvania in the early 1980s.

“In fence,” Staib explains, “the dancers delineate and rearrange space; they destroy it, and then move on, as a parallel symbol of the desire to alter the self and to deny any sense of otherness. They examine the tension that exists between what is and what may be; the tension between the moment of betrayal and the moment power is taken away from any individual; and ultimately, the provocative precipice of reclaiming our ground.”

Perhaps more than in any previous work premiered by Staibdance (wishdust, moat, attic, snap, versus, and nameday), Staib’s intensely physical vocabulary in fence bonds with traditional Iranian dance. Iranian dance movement is rarely, if ever, performed with, or in front of, members of the opposite sex. fence blends these traditional gender-specific movements with original dance vocabulary created collaboratively by Staib, co-choreographer/managing director Sarah Hillmer, and the dancers themselves, whose contrasting movements explore feelings of unrest on both a personal and a global level.

Over the past seven seasons, Staibdance premieres have been performed by a who’s who of Atlanta dance talent. The latest all-star team includes Anna Bracewell, Nicole Johnson, Jimmy Joyner, Britanie Leland, Chrystola Luu, Gianna Mercandetti, Laura Morton, Amelia Reiser, Virginia Spinks, and apprentice dancers Patsy Collins, Bailey Harbaugh, Catherine Messina, and Benjamin Stevenson.

Beginning with their premiere of attic at Emory in 2015, Staibdance has also given special attention to creating compelling physical and sensory environments as part of each complete dance work. Using funds from a major National Dance Project (NDP) Production Award grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), Staib has gathered a tantalizingly impressive creative design team to carry out his vision.


Jessica Anderson and Sebastian Monroy, the genius duo behind Into Outof Studio, are weaving a sensory-based digital experience within the work. Anderson, the creative technologist behind the Design & Innovation Lab at Spelman College, serves as creative/technical advisor. Designer Gregory Catellier creates distinct spaces and moods with light, scenic designer Sara Ward Culpepper sculpted the titular fence inhabiting the space, and former Atlanta Ballet costume designer Tamara Cobus chose the physical textures and patterns the dancers move within.

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Ultimately, George Staib and everyone at Staibdance wants this dance work to be part of a dialogue on power. As they enter the venue, the audience is surrounded by a world of projected images of people’s personal journeys, via posts from the company’s hashtag campaign that asks, “What takes your power?” (#staibdancefence #givespower #takeyourpower) As audiences exit the performance space, they leave through an entirely different world of projected images, centered on the ways the global hashtag community reclaims their power. -CL-"
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As a young child in Iran in the early 1970s, Staib attended the Tehran American School on the outskirts of the nation’s ancient capital. His classmates were mostly from the U.S. and Europe. As the only student who had been born and raised in Iran, he was painfully self-conscious of his outsider status at school. Staib felt real fear when two American students were lured to a remote part of the campus by two Iranian men who suddenly stabbed the boys through a fence that separated the school from a mostly deserted landscape.

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Perhaps more than in any previous work premiered by Staibdance (''wishdust, moat, attic, snap, versus'', and ''nameday''), Staib’s intensely physical vocabulary in ''fence'' bonds with traditional Iranian dance. Iranian dance movement is rarely, if ever, performed with, or in front of, members of the opposite sex. ''fence'' blends these traditional gender-specific movements with original dance vocabulary created collaboratively by Staib, co-choreographer/managing director Sarah Hillmer, and the dancers themselves, whose contrasting movements explore feelings of unrest on both a personal and a global level.

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Like moat, fence is also inspired by the choreographer’s painful memories of growing up in pre-revolutionary Iran and Reagan-era rural Pennsylvania. Staib’s latest work invites the audience on a personal journey exploring power and powerlessness, the experience of being the outsider, and how the idea of “otherness” can rob us of our power or, ultimately, become the source of our power in this life.

As a young child in Iran in the early 1970s, Staib attended the Tehran American School on the outskirts of the nation’s ancient capital. His classmates were mostly from the U.S. and Europe. As the only student who had been born and raised in Iran, he was painfully self-conscious of his outsider status at school. Staib felt real fear when two American students were lured to a remote part of the campus by two Iranian men who suddenly stabbed the boys through a fence that separated the school from a mostly deserted landscape.

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Four decades after the emotional and political turmoil of his childhood, Staib now serves on the dance faculty of Emory University. He founded his Atlanta-based dance company in 2012. As a working artist and as an American citizen during these Trumpian dark times, Staib sees the South as a region with many of the same power dynamics (race, religion, gender, class) that he faced in his native Iran and in rural Pennsylvania in the early 1980s.

“In fence,” Staib explains, “the dancers delineate and rearrange space; they destroy it, and then move on, as a parallel symbol of the desire to alter the self and to deny any sense of otherness. They examine the tension that exists between what is and what may be; the tension between the moment of betrayal and the moment power is taken away from any individual; and ultimately, the provocative precipice of reclaiming our ground.”

Perhaps more than in any previous work premiered by Staibdance (wishdust, moat, attic, snap, versus, and nameday), Staib’s intensely physical vocabulary in fence bonds with traditional Iranian dance. Iranian dance movement is rarely, if ever, performed with, or in front of, members of the opposite sex. fence blends these traditional gender-specific movements with original dance vocabulary created collaboratively by Staib, co-choreographer/managing director Sarah Hillmer, and the dancers themselves, whose contrasting movements explore feelings of unrest on both a personal and a global level.

Over the past seven seasons, Staibdance premieres have been performed by a who’s who of Atlanta dance talent. The latest all-star team includes Anna Bracewell, Nicole Johnson, Jimmy Joyner, Britanie Leland, Chrystola Luu, Gianna Mercandetti, Laura Morton, Amelia Reiser, Virginia Spinks, and apprentice dancers Patsy Collins, Bailey Harbaugh, Catherine Messina, and Benjamin Stevenson.

Beginning with their premiere of attic at Emory in 2015, Staibdance has also given special attention to creating compelling physical and sensory environments as part of each complete dance work. Using funds from a major National Dance Project (NDP) Production Award grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), Staib has gathered a tantalizingly impressive creative design team to carry out his vision.


Jessica Anderson and Sebastian Monroy, the genius duo behind Into Outof Studio, are weaving a sensory-based digital experience within the work. Anderson, the creative technologist behind the Design & Innovation Lab at Spelman College, serves as creative/technical advisor. Designer Gregory Catellier creates distinct spaces and moods with light, scenic designer Sara Ward Culpepper sculpted the titular fence inhabiting the space, and former Atlanta Ballet costume designer Tamara Cobus chose the physical textures and patterns the dancers move within.

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Article

Thursday October 3, 2019 11:59 am EDT
The give and take of power | more...
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Tuesday September 17, 2019 12:42 pm EDT
An Interview with Rebeca Robles of the Atlanta Theatre Club. | more...
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  string(7187) "!!!!“And because there is something they can’t see people think it has to be special, because people always think there is something special about what they can’t see, like the dark side of the moon, or the other side of a black hole, or in the dark when they wake up at night and they’re scared.” 
!!!!― Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Art in any form can help us to see. And to feel. Art, at its best, helps us think and perhaps even to understand.

Take for instance The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Mark Haddon’s best-selling “mystery novel” (2003) (and subsequent theatrical adaptation) is told from the point of view of Christopher, a special teenager who’s better at solving equations than navigating a world that’s out of sync with how his mind works. After being wrongly accused of murdering his neighbor’s dog, he resolves to find the real culprit. When his investigation uncovers painful truths about his family, he dares to strike out on his own.

In his blog, author Mark Haddon wrote "Curious Incident is not a book about Asperger's or any specific disorder. If anything, it's a novel about difference, about being an outsider, about seeing the world in a surprising and revealing way.”  As a book and as a play, Christopher’s coming-of-age story has become a hero’s quest fascinating readers and audiences all over the world.

Speaking to critic Maddy Costa in The Guardian, playwright Simon Stephens agreed that the irony is that “Christopher sees stories as lies, and theatre as dishonest. But it's through the lie that you find the greater truth. That's why you need to expose the mechanics of it.” This revealing irony is a big part of what got two metro area artistic directors, Lisa Adler (Horizon Theatre) and Justin Anderson (Aurora Theatre), excited about mounting the Atlanta premiere of one of the most popular dramatic scripts of the past decade.

“Christopher faces tremendous challenges because of his otherness,” says Anderson. “He’s desperately trying to find his place in the world. He overcomes so many obstacles that, by the end of the play, he and the audience come to understand that (his) otherness is perfect. Ultimately, our young hero is equal to everyone else and deserves respect as a valuable member of his family and his community.”

Anderson adds, “I’m fascinated by how bodies move in physical spaces, and so I’m thrilled to be able to use our combined tools and talents to make visible the thought process of these characters and to reveal the inner mystery of this young man’s mind. In many ways, ‘Curious Incident…’ is the most ambitious creative project I’ve ever been involved with.”

Might Atlanta audiences have unusually high expectations for this premiere? Perhaps.

Consider that, over the past seven years, the international bestseller has been adapted to the stage by Simon Stephens and premiered at the Royal National Theatre in London where it won seven Olivier Awards. To dramatize the intricate workings of Christopher’s brilliant imagination, the British creative team developed a state-of-the-art computerized LED lighting system, transforming a mostly bare set into a hypnotic grid of lights at key points in the story. At any moment, the giant white box of the stage became a swirling kaleidoscope of math equations, a speeding passenger train, a maze of London streets, or a star-filled expanse of interstellar space.

In 2015, the Royal Theatre production opened on Broadway to rave reviews and earned five Tony Awards, including ‘Best Play.’ Since then, touring productions and foreign language translations have wowed audiences in over a dozen countries across Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. And now, two small local theaters are co-producing and co-directing a new production with a local cast that will rely less on dazzling LED lighting effects, and more on ingenious original choreography. It will run at Horizon in L5P Sept. 20–Oct. 27 and at Aurora in Lawrenceville, Jan 9.–Feb 9., 2020.

As you might expect, theatre co-founder Lisa Adler is thrilled to open Horizon’s 36 season with “Curious Incident…” by adapting it to Horizon’s intimate stage in the Little Five Points Community Center. “Simon Stephens’ play is a great example of movement theatre at its best,” says Adler. “Our ensemble of eight actors will be telling a lot of this story with their bodies. Depending on the needs of a given scene, they’ll stand or stretch to become a closet, a piece of furniture, or the cabin of an imaginary spaceship.” The veteran director explains that “even though Christopher is a teenage character who can’t stand being touched, there are times when we’ll show him moving in space by having ‘invisible’ actors lifting him up walls and through the air.”

“Christopher is fascinated with math problems, puzzles, and seeing clues hidden in plain sight,” says Adler. “So, we’re basing our set design and choreography on all these elements as well as on Tetris, P.T., and other video games. We’re using projections, panels, portals, sound effects — lots of clever stage tricks to solve the stage puzzles this unique script presents.” Adler is quick to add, “Creatively, we’re having as much fun as with any play we’ve ever done, and we’re working to involve the audience in the puzzle-solving fun.”

To bring forth the best possible performances from their ensemble, Adler and Anderson invited Chicago-based “movement director” Roger Ellis to join their “trinity of perspectives.” The three directors are collaborating in rehearsals for four weeks leading up to opening night.

Anderson describes the play and the trio’s directorial arrangement as a “beautiful marriage of realism, surrealism, and dreamlike moments.” “We’re definitely learning from each other,” he adds. “The conversations and creative debates make for a super creative fusion. It feels like the very best ideas are bubbling to the top.”

I write this as someone who marveled with glee at the ingenuity of the Broadway production I witnessed four Septembers ago, and someone who was deeply moved by Christopher’s personal journey. And I’ll add that as a man with more than a little bit of an OCD personality, I certainly have my own mental challenges with obsessing over patterns and yearning to find order in a miraculous but often chaotic universe.

Personally, I can’t wait to see The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time again, both at Horizon this month and at Aurora in January. I’ve got to admit I’m curious (pun intended) to see how well they solve the puzzles of producing this very special play.

!!!!  The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time, directed by Lisa Adler and Justin Anderson.
!!!!Sept. 20–Oct. 27
!!!!Horizon Theatre
!!!!1083 Austin Ave., Atlanta.
!!!!404-584-7450. https://www.horizontheatre.com/
!!!!      Jan. 9–Feb. 9
!!!!Aurora Theatre
!!!!128 East Pike St., Lawrenceville
!!!!678-226-6222, https://www.auroratheatre.com/
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!!!!― Mark Haddon, ''The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time''

Art in any form can help us to see. And to feel. Art, at its best, helps us think and perhaps even to understand.

Take for instance The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Mark Haddon’s best-selling “mystery novel” (2003) (and subsequent theatrical adaptation) is told from the point of view of Christopher, a special teenager who’s better at solving equations than navigating a world that’s out of sync with how his mind works. After being wrongly accused of murdering his neighbor’s dog, he resolves to find the real culprit. When his investigation uncovers painful truths about his family, he dares to strike out on his own.

In his blog, author Mark Haddon wrote "Curious Incident is not a book about Asperger's or any specific disorder. If anything, it's a novel about difference, about being an outsider, about seeing the world in a surprising and revealing way.”  As a book and as a play, Christopher’s coming-of-age story has become a hero’s quest fascinating readers and audiences all over the world.

Speaking to critic Maddy Costa in The Guardian, playwright Simon Stephens agreed that the irony is that “Christopher sees stories as lies, and theatre as dishonest. But it's through the lie that you find the greater truth. That's why you need to expose the mechanics of it.” This revealing irony is a big part of what got two metro area artistic directors, Lisa Adler (Horizon Theatre) and Justin Anderson (Aurora Theatre), excited about mounting the Atlanta premiere of one of the most popular dramatic scripts of the past decade.

“Christopher faces tremendous challenges because of his otherness,” says Anderson. “He’s desperately trying to find his place in the world. He overcomes so many obstacles that, by the end of the play, he and the audience come to understand that (his) otherness is perfect. Ultimately, our young hero is equal to everyone else and deserves respect as a valuable member of his family and his community.”

Anderson adds, “I’m fascinated by how bodies move in physical spaces, and so I’m thrilled to be able to use our combined tools and talents to make visible the thought process of these characters and to reveal the inner mystery of this young man’s mind. In many ways, ‘Curious Incident''…''’ is the most ambitious creative project I’ve ever been involved with.”

Might Atlanta audiences have unusually high expectations for this premiere? Perhaps.

Consider that, over the past seven years, the international bestseller has been adapted to the stage by Simon Stephens and premiered at the Royal National Theatre in London where it won seven Olivier Awards. To dramatize the intricate workings of Christopher’s brilliant imagination, the British creative team developed a state-of-the-art computerized LED lighting system, transforming a mostly bare set into a hypnotic grid of lights at key points in the story. At any moment, the giant white box of the stage became a swirling kaleidoscope of math equations, a speeding passenger train, a maze of London streets, or a star-filled expanse of interstellar space.

In 2015, the Royal Theatre production opened on Broadway to rave reviews and earned five Tony Awards, including ‘Best Play.’ Since then, touring productions and foreign language translations have wowed audiences in over a dozen countries across Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. And now, two small local theaters are co-producing and co-directing a new production with a local cast that will rely less on dazzling LED lighting effects, and more on ingenious original choreography. It will run at Horizon in L5P Sept. 20–Oct. 27 and at Aurora in Lawrenceville, Jan 9.–Feb 9., 2020.

As you might expect, theatre co-founder Lisa Adler is thrilled to open Horizon’s 36{SUP()}th{SUP} season with “Curious Incident''…''” by adapting it to Horizon’s intimate stage in the Little Five Points Community Center. “Simon Stephens’ play is a great example of movement theatre at its best,” says Adler. “Our ensemble of eight actors will be telling a lot of this story with their bodies. Depending on the needs of a given scene, they’ll stand or stretch to become a closet, a piece of furniture, or the cabin of an imaginary spaceship.” The veteran director explains that “even though Christopher is a teenage character who can’t stand being touched, there are times when we’ll show him moving in space by having ‘invisible’ actors lifting him up walls and through the air.”

“Christopher is fascinated with math problems, puzzles, and seeing clues hidden in plain sight,” says Adler. “So, we’re basing our set design and choreography on all these elements as well as on Tetris, P.T., and other video games. We’re using projections, panels, portals, sound effects — lots of clever stage tricks to solve the stage puzzles this unique script presents.” Adler is quick to add, “Creatively, we’re having as much fun as with any play we’ve ever done, and we’re working to involve the audience in the puzzle-solving fun.”

To bring forth the best possible performances from their ensemble, Adler and Anderson invited Chicago-based “movement director” Roger Ellis to join their “trinity of perspectives.” The three directors are collaborating in rehearsals for four weeks leading up to opening night.

Anderson describes the play and the trio’s directorial arrangement as a “beautiful marriage of realism, surrealism, and dreamlike moments.” “We’re definitely learning from each other,” he adds. “The conversations and creative debates make for a super creative fusion. It feels like the very best ideas are bubbling to the top.”

I write this as someone who marveled with glee at the ingenuity of the Broadway production I witnessed four Septembers ago, and someone who was deeply moved by Christopher’s personal journey. And I’ll add that as a man with more than a little bit of an OCD personality, I certainly have my own mental challenges with obsessing over patterns and yearning to find order in a miraculous but often chaotic universe.

Personally, I can’t wait to see ''The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time'' again, both at Horizon this month and at Aurora in January. I’ve got to admit I’m curious (pun intended) to see how well they solve the puzzles of producing this very special play.

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!!!!Sept. 20–Oct. 27
!!!!Horizon Theatre
!!!!1083 Austin Ave., Atlanta.
!!!!404-584-7450. https://www.horizontheatre.com/
!!!! %%%  %%%  %%% Jan. 9–Feb. 9
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!!!!― Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Art in any form can help us to see. And to feel. Art, at its best, helps us think and perhaps even to understand.

Take for instance The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Mark Haddon’s best-selling “mystery novel” (2003) (and subsequent theatrical adaptation) is told from the point of view of Christopher, a special teenager who’s better at solving equations than navigating a world that’s out of sync with how his mind works. After being wrongly accused of murdering his neighbor’s dog, he resolves to find the real culprit. When his investigation uncovers painful truths about his family, he dares to strike out on his own.

In his blog, author Mark Haddon wrote "Curious Incident is not a book about Asperger's or any specific disorder. If anything, it's a novel about difference, about being an outsider, about seeing the world in a surprising and revealing way.”  As a book and as a play, Christopher’s coming-of-age story has become a hero’s quest fascinating readers and audiences all over the world.

Speaking to critic Maddy Costa in The Guardian, playwright Simon Stephens agreed that the irony is that “Christopher sees stories as lies, and theatre as dishonest. But it's through the lie that you find the greater truth. That's why you need to expose the mechanics of it.” This revealing irony is a big part of what got two metro area artistic directors, Lisa Adler (Horizon Theatre) and Justin Anderson (Aurora Theatre), excited about mounting the Atlanta premiere of one of the most popular dramatic scripts of the past decade.

“Christopher faces tremendous challenges because of his otherness,” says Anderson. “He’s desperately trying to find his place in the world. He overcomes so many obstacles that, by the end of the play, he and the audience come to understand that (his) otherness is perfect. Ultimately, our young hero is equal to everyone else and deserves respect as a valuable member of his family and his community.”

Anderson adds, “I’m fascinated by how bodies move in physical spaces, and so I’m thrilled to be able to use our combined tools and talents to make visible the thought process of these characters and to reveal the inner mystery of this young man’s mind. In many ways, ‘Curious Incident…’ is the most ambitious creative project I’ve ever been involved with.”

Might Atlanta audiences have unusually high expectations for this premiere? Perhaps.

Consider that, over the past seven years, the international bestseller has been adapted to the stage by Simon Stephens and premiered at the Royal National Theatre in London where it won seven Olivier Awards. To dramatize the intricate workings of Christopher’s brilliant imagination, the British creative team developed a state-of-the-art computerized LED lighting system, transforming a mostly bare set into a hypnotic grid of lights at key points in the story. At any moment, the giant white box of the stage became a swirling kaleidoscope of math equations, a speeding passenger train, a maze of London streets, or a star-filled expanse of interstellar space.

In 2015, the Royal Theatre production opened on Broadway to rave reviews and earned five Tony Awards, including ‘Best Play.’ Since then, touring productions and foreign language translations have wowed audiences in over a dozen countries across Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. And now, two small local theaters are co-producing and co-directing a new production with a local cast that will rely less on dazzling LED lighting effects, and more on ingenious original choreography. It will run at Horizon in L5P Sept. 20–Oct. 27 and at Aurora in Lawrenceville, Jan 9.–Feb 9., 2020.

As you might expect, theatre co-founder Lisa Adler is thrilled to open Horizon’s 36 season with “Curious Incident…” by adapting it to Horizon’s intimate stage in the Little Five Points Community Center. “Simon Stephens’ play is a great example of movement theatre at its best,” says Adler. “Our ensemble of eight actors will be telling a lot of this story with their bodies. Depending on the needs of a given scene, they’ll stand or stretch to become a closet, a piece of furniture, or the cabin of an imaginary spaceship.” The veteran director explains that “even though Christopher is a teenage character who can’t stand being touched, there are times when we’ll show him moving in space by having ‘invisible’ actors lifting him up walls and through the air.”

“Christopher is fascinated with math problems, puzzles, and seeing clues hidden in plain sight,” says Adler. “So, we’re basing our set design and choreography on all these elements as well as on Tetris, P.T., and other video games. We’re using projections, panels, portals, sound effects — lots of clever stage tricks to solve the stage puzzles this unique script presents.” Adler is quick to add, “Creatively, we’re having as much fun as with any play we’ve ever done, and we’re working to involve the audience in the puzzle-solving fun.”

To bring forth the best possible performances from their ensemble, Adler and Anderson invited Chicago-based “movement director” Roger Ellis to join their “trinity of perspectives.” The three directors are collaborating in rehearsals for four weeks leading up to opening night.

Anderson describes the play and the trio’s directorial arrangement as a “beautiful marriage of realism, surrealism, and dreamlike moments.” “We’re definitely learning from each other,” he adds. “The conversations and creative debates make for a super creative fusion. It feels like the very best ideas are bubbling to the top.”

I write this as someone who marveled with glee at the ingenuity of the Broadway production I witnessed four Septembers ago, and someone who was deeply moved by Christopher’s personal journey. And I’ll add that as a man with more than a little bit of an OCD personality, I certainly have my own mental challenges with obsessing over patterns and yearning to find order in a miraculous but often chaotic universe.

Personally, I can’t wait to see The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time again, both at Horizon this month and at Aurora in January. I’ve got to admit I’m curious (pun intended) to see how well they solve the puzzles of producing this very special play.

!!!!  The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time, directed by Lisa Adler and Justin Anderson.
!!!!Sept. 20–Oct. 27
!!!!Horizon Theatre
!!!!1083 Austin Ave., Atlanta.
!!!!404-584-7450. https://www.horizontheatre.com/
!!!!      Jan. 9–Feb. 9
!!!!Aurora Theatre
!!!!128 East Pike St., Lawrenceville
!!!!678-226-6222, https://www.auroratheatre.com/
     COURTESY THE HORIZON THEATRE FLY "CURIOUS:' Brandon Michael Mayes (as Christopher) in rehearsal for Horizon Theatre’s production of 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.'  0,0,1    scenes&motions                             SCENES AND MOTIONS: ‘The Dog in the Night-Time’ "
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Article

Thursday September 5, 2019 10:44 am EDT
‘A Curious Incident,’ indeed | more...
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  string(29) "Fall Arts Preview 2019: Dance"
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  string(262) "Atlanta Ballet
Founded in 1929, Atlanta Ballet — www.atlantaballet.com — is considered one of the premier dance companies in the country. Atlanta Ballet’s eclectic repertoire spans ballet history, highlighted by beloved classics and inventive originals..."
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Founded in 1929, Atlanta Ballet — www.atlantaballet.com — is considered one of the premier dance companies in the country. Atlanta Ballet’s eclectic repertoire spans ballet history, highlighted by beloved classics and inventive originals..."
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!!Atlanta Ballet
Founded in 1929, Atlanta Ballet — www.atlantaballet.com — is considered one of the premier dance companies in the country. Atlanta Ballet’s eclectic repertoire spans ballet history, highlighted by beloved classics and inventive originals. In 1996, Atlanta Ballet opened the Centre for Dance Education (CDE), which is dedicated to nurturing young dancers while providing an outlet for adults to express their creativity. The CDE serves over 23,000 people in metro Atlanta each year. Atlanta Ballet’s roots remain firmly grounded in the Atlanta community and continue to play a vital role in the city’s cultural growth.


“Love Fear Loss,” by Brazilian choreographer Ricardo Amarante, is the centerpiece work of the opening program of the company’s 90th season, It follows the love story of French singer Édith Piaf from the high of new love, through the fear of intimacy slipping away, to the tragedy of losing her lifelong partner. Amarante has described his work as a celebration of the human condition and the beauty that arises from even the darkest moments in life.  The program will also include a remounting of “Vespertine,” the hypnotic 2017 work by British choreographer Liam Scarlett, a world premiere commissioned work by New York-based Claudia Schreier and a guest performance by New York-based Complexions Contemporary Ballet.

 

!!Caló Gitano Dance Academy
Marianela “Malita” Belloso was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and has been dancing flamenco for practically her entire life. She started when she was only six years old. By the time she was nine, she was already performing on television and in major flamenco stage productions with Siudy Quintero Dance Academy, the largest flamenco dance academy in Venezuela. Malita arrived in Atlanta in 2000 and formed the flamenco performance company Caló Gitano – www.calogitano.com – now the largest flamenco academy in Georgia. After opening Caló Dance Studio in Kirkwood nine years ago, Malita trained a group of advanced flamenco dancers and formed partnerships with other artists and musicians to create large-scale theater works and original flamenco musical productions as Caló Theatre Company  

!!Core Dance
Core Dance – www.coredance.org  – was co-founded in 1980 in Houston, Texas, by dancer and choreographer Sue Schroeder and her sister, Kathy Russell. Five years later, the organization added Atlanta, Georgia, as a second home base. Over four decades, Core has performed 125 pieces of original choreography across the globe, collaborating with the renowned and the obscure. The company actively encourages participation and conversation with the community, sharing what they know about bodies and movement with those dealing with abuse, homelessness, language barriers, refugee status, substance abuse, aging, and HIV/AIDS.

“If… a memoir” is a love song written for humanity. Sue Schroeder in collaboration with the Dance Artists of Core Dance, Christian Meyer (composer), and Simon Gentry (cinematographer) will create an evening-length, physical theater choreo-poem. According to Schroeder, “this new work will draw from early 1950s Beat Generation culture and influences including jazz-inspired rhythm, improvisational spirit, rejection of standard narrative values and seeming disorganization with a deliberate effect.”

!!Department of Dance at Kennesaw State University
Kennesaw State University is home to Georgia’s largest collegiate dance program and Atlanta’s first theater designed specifically for dance. Through the program’s academic and practical experiences, students develop a holistic understanding of dance as an art form while also investigating dance as a method of analysis, a mode of enquiry, and an aesthetic experience. The Department’s collaborative partnerships provide students with uniquely valuable opportunities. This year, KSU Dance launched a new partnership with Terminus Modern Ballet Theater, directly connecting students to the professional practice of dance. 

September 27, KSU Dance – www.arts.kennesaw.edu/dance – presents The Charlotte Ballet performing Johan Inger’s “Walking Mad,” a piece inspired by a quote from Socrates: “Our greatest gifts come to us in a state of madness.” KSU’s student dance company will premiere “Slang,” a new work in November.

!!Emory Dance
Emory Dance – www.dance.emory.edu –  presents a wide range of public programming each year, including Emory Dance Company concerts, the Friends of Dance Lecture Series, guest artists, dance on film presentations, and informal and site-specific performances and events. Through the Candler Concert Series, Emory Dance presents some of the finest modern dance choreographers and companies, including The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Monica Bill Barnes & Company, David Dorfoman Dance, Doug Varone and Dancers, Urban Bush Women, the José Limón Dance Company, and Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet.

September 19, the Emory Dance Program presents a Creativity Conversation with visiting artist Dafi Altebeb, a young Israeli musician, dancer, and choreographer who has performed throughout the world. Her original dance works have premiered in major international festivals, including Internationale Tanzmesse (Dusseldorf), Les Brigittines Centre d’Art Contemporain (Brussels), Chang Mu International Dance Festival (Seoul), Ballet Preljocaj – Pavillion Noir (France), ​and Napoli Theater Festival (Italy). 

As a child in his native Iran 40 years ago, Emory Dance faculty member George Staib witnessed up close the frightening reality of religious revolution. In October, he and his brilliant company Staibdance present “Fence,” their most political and socially driven dance work to date. “Fence” examines how “otherness” can take your power or fuel it. Staib blends intensely physical movement vocabulary with traditional Iranian dance, and uses original music, lighting, and digital effects to weave the audience directly into the work.

!!Ferst Center for the Arts
The Georgia Tech Office of the Arts operates the Ferst Center for the Arts – www.arts.gatech.edu/artstech-performance-series – which presents the Arts@Tech season of professional music, dance, theater, and multimedia performances from September to April. The Georgia Tech School of Music performs multiple concerts at the Center, and DramaTech, the student theater group, performs in the James E. Dull Theatre in the back of the building. Arts@Tech has brought some of the most innovative and exciting multimedia works to be seen in the city, showcasing the highest in music and dance talents along with cutting-edge digital technologies. The works explore and explode themes of disability/mobility design, interconnectivity, LGBTQ living, and cultural celebration.


The Ferst will be the site of two of the most exciting “Don’t Miss!” productions of 2019: “Dökk by fuse*” (October 4) and “Kinetic Light: DESCENT” (November 23).


“Dökk” blends light, sound, and movement into a mind-blowing, multidimensional universe created by fuse*, an Italian digital art studio and production company. Aerial dancer Elena Annovi moves through a sequence of 10 other-worldly environments created by software that synthesizes data from social media, the sound score, the dancer’s heartbeat, and her movements. 

“DESCENT” by Kinetic Light is an evening-length dance work, choreographed by Alice Sheppard in collaboration with disabled dancer Laurel Lawson and disabled lighting and video artist Michael Maag. Featuring a unique, architectural stage that acts as a partner in the choreography and storytelling, and performed on an architectural ramp with hills, curves and peaks, “DESCENT” celebrates the pleasure of reckless abandon. The ramp is a landscape that generates its own site-specific movement as dancers Laurel and Alice discover new experiences of acceleration, resistance, and momentum. Andromeda and Venus, reimagined as interracial lovers, claim their desire as their wheelchairs fly within inches of the ramp’s edges. The thrilling work challenges our assumptions about social justice, movement and embodiment, and art and architecture. 

!!Fly On A Wall
Since their inception in 2014, Fly on a Wall – www.flyonawall.buzz – has created a body of work which includes multimedia performance, installation, and dance for film. They have been presented by Dashboard, the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Contemporary, Art on the Atlanta BeltLine, Synchronicity Theatre, Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery, the City of Duluth, and the Marietta Performing Arts Center. 

Fly on a Wall’s work best reveals itself through inventive theatrical elements that often manifest as performative structures. These elements are integral to the work and allow the audience new dimensions with which to view it. Performance structures that Fly on a Wall has created include: large plexiglass prisms for Art on the Atlanta Beltline, a tandem bicycle generating power for a light bulb in Dashboard’s “Shifting Scapes,” an abstract home made of 20-foot-high. floor-to-ceiling paper panels inside an abandoned castor factory. Once completed, each of these structures house Fly on a Wall’s unique blend of movement and theater.

This month, Fly on a Wall is bringing Anna Long from Chicago to teach three Gaga/dancers classes and one Gaga/people class throughout the weekend. Anyone interested may drop in to a single class or purchase class passes. Space is limited, it is recommended to register early.

On Sunday, August 25, stop by The Windmill Arts Center in East Point to celebrate Fly's one-year anniversary at the Windmill as artists-in-residence with Vanguard Repertory Company. Meet team members, hang out for free refreshments, and find out what Fly on a Wall has in store for the coming year.

!!glo
In 2009, dance/choreographer Lauri Stallings and her partner, production specialist Richard Carvlin, founded the Atlanta-based company glo –  www.gloatl.org. Today, glo’s “moving artists” include Kristina Brown, Noëlle Davé, Christina Kelly, Raina Mitchell, Cailan Orn, Mary Jane Pennington, and Mechelle Tunstall. Stallings and her dancers seem to be constantly performing all over metro Atlanta and Georgia and beyond, often in public spaces, including NYC’s Central Park. Over the past decade, glo has presented civic actions, world premiere performance experiments, an international curated live art series, and public art tours across the state. The company regularly collaborates with orchestral conductors, filmmakers, rappers, and fashion and visual artists to, in Stalling’s words, “help revitalize identity in the American South.” 

Stallings is uniquely obsessed with the ways choreography can identify and amplify the fluid nature of a city. The choreographer believes that movement with a social conscience is a critical component in creating group empathy and goodwill. That’s why she and glo’s movement artists love to construct “People Parades” for folks to come together in a public place to sit, skip, stand, kneel, walk-in 2’s, prance, waltz, spin, shuffle, be still, and twist.” 

Now, as Artist in Residence of the High Museum of Art, Lauri Stallings has constructed MAPPING: Public Choreographies to loop around the entire High Museum Campus. From 12:30–1:15 p.m., every Thursday and Saturday in August, Stallings and glo invite the Atlanta community to join them on the grass of the High Museum for MAPPING: Public Choreographies. For 45 minutes, anyone can come, watch ,or join however they want..

!!Rialto Center for the Arts
The Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University – www.rialto.gsu.edu – is located in one of the oldest parts of the city, downtown’s historic Fairlie-Poplar District. It opened a century ago as one of Atlanta’s first large movie houses, a decade before the Fabulous Fox. After major renovations for the 1996 Olympics, the Rialto became part of GSU’s ever-expanding campus. The annual Rialto (subscription) Series has presented an eclectic mix of world music, jazz, contemporary dance, and international programs. “Ailey II: The Next Generation of Dance” returns to the Rialto October 26. Artistic Director Troy Powell guides Ailey II’s signature pristine performances built on dynamic movement and brilliant technique.

!!Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre
The city we know as Atlanta was founded in the 1820s as Terminus. The five founding members of Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre – www.terminus-serenbe.com – came together to celebrate their shared home as a place where cultures intersect. Now in their second season, these experienced dance artists combine ballet and modern influences to create new theatrical dance works. 

On August 3, TMBT jump starts the school year and the return of their “pop up” open class series. Attend an open house at Westside Cultural Arts Center for free dance class offerings, light bites, door prizes, and a special presentation by Atlanta Optimal Performance Symposium.

Terminus opens its second season performing at Serenbe with “Lore,” the story of two siblings who share the collected heritage of their community. The work touches on the oral histories passed down through generations. TMBT invites audiences to gather around a fire as night falls in The Hollow at Serenbe to experience “Lore” October 11–20.

!!Zoetic Dance
::::
Since its first public performance in 2001, Zoetic Dance Ensemble – www.zoeticdance.org – has been a team of strong women, led by strong women. Zoetic’s dynamically athletic work embodies the feminine spirit and celebrates the power of the female body. Since 2001, their passion for female expression has attracted a range of creative women to share their visions, voices and stories of female empowerment. Zoetic, under the creative leadership of Mallory Baxley, enjoys a special partnership with Whitespace Gallery in Inman Park, which is where they’ll kick off their 2019-2020 season with a party and a preview of their upcoming work, “Saint.” The site for that December premiere will be Ambient+Studios, which began as a 109-year-old factory space near West End. “Saint” will feature original music by Xavier “Xay Zoleil” Lewis, costume design by Hannah James, and unique graphic design by Morgan Tanksley.



Return to Fall Arts Preview 2019 "
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!!Atlanta Ballet
Founded in 1929, Atlanta Ballet — www.atlantaballet.com — is considered one of the premier dance companies in the country. Atlanta Ballet’s eclectic repertoire spans ballet history, highlighted by beloved classics and inventive originals. In 1996, Atlanta Ballet opened the Centre for Dance Education (CDE), which is dedicated to nurturing young dancers while providing an outlet for adults to express their creativity. The CDE serves over 23,000 people in metro Atlanta each year. Atlanta Ballet’s roots remain firmly grounded in the Atlanta community and continue to play a vital role in the city’s cultural growth.

{img fileId="21508" stylebox="float: left; margin-right:25px;" desc="desc" max="600"}
“Love Fear Loss,” by Brazilian choreographer Ricardo Amarante, is the centerpiece work of the opening program of the company’s 90th season, It follows the love story of French singer Édith Piaf from the high of new love, through the fear of intimacy slipping away, to the tragedy of losing her lifelong partner. Amarante has described his work as a celebration of the human condition and the beauty that arises from even the darkest moments in life.  The program will also include a remounting of “Vespertine,” the hypnotic 2017 work by British choreographer Liam Scarlett, a world premiere commissioned work by New York-based Claudia Schreier and a guest performance by New York-based Complexions Contemporary Ballet.

 

!!Caló Gitano Dance Academy
Marianela “Malita” Belloso was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and has been dancing flamenco for practically her entire life. She started when she was only six years old. By the time she was nine, she was already performing on television and in major flamenco stage productions with Siudy Quintero Dance Academy, the largest flamenco dance academy in Venezuela. Malita arrived in Atlanta in 2000 and formed the flamenco performance company Caló Gitano – www.calogitano.com – now the largest flamenco academy in Georgia. After opening Caló Dance Studio in Kirkwood nine years ago, Malita trained a group of advanced flamenco dancers and formed partnerships with other artists and musicians to create large-scale theater works and original flamenco musical productions as Caló Theatre Company  

!!Core Dance
Core Dance – www.coredance.org  – was co-founded in 1980 in Houston, Texas, by dancer and choreographer Sue Schroeder and her sister, Kathy Russell. Five years later, the organization added Atlanta, Georgia, as a second home base. Over four decades, Core has performed 125 pieces of original choreography across the globe, collaborating with the renowned and the obscure. The company actively encourages participation and conversation with the community, sharing what they know about bodies and movement with those dealing with abuse, homelessness, language barriers, refugee status, substance abuse, aging, and HIV/AIDS.

“If… a memoir” is a love song written for humanity. Sue Schroeder in collaboration with the Dance Artists of Core Dance, Christian Meyer (composer), and Simon Gentry (cinematographer) will create an evening-length, physical theater choreo-poem. According to Schroeder, “this new work will draw from early 1950s Beat Generation culture and influences including jazz-inspired rhythm, improvisational spirit, rejection of standard narrative values and seeming disorganization with a deliberate effect.”

!!Department of Dance at Kennesaw State University
Kennesaw State University is home to Georgia’s largest collegiate dance program and Atlanta’s first theater designed specifically for dance. Through the program’s academic and practical experiences, students develop a holistic understanding of dance as an art form while also investigating dance as a method of analysis, a mode of enquiry, and an aesthetic experience. The Department’s collaborative partnerships provide students with uniquely valuable opportunities. This year, KSU Dance launched a new partnership with Terminus Modern Ballet Theater, directly connecting students to the professional practice of dance. 

September 27, KSU Dance – www.arts.kennesaw.edu/dance – presents The Charlotte Ballet performing Johan Inger’s “Walking Mad,” a piece inspired by a quote from Socrates: “Our greatest gifts come to us in a state of madness.” KSU’s student dance company will premiere “Slang,” a new work in November.

!!Emory Dance
Emory Dance – www.dance.emory.edu –  presents a wide range of public programming each year, including Emory Dance Company concerts, the Friends of Dance Lecture Series, guest artists, dance on film presentations, and informal and site-specific performances and events. Through the Candler Concert Series, Emory Dance presents some of the finest modern dance choreographers and companies, including The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Monica Bill Barnes & Company, David Dorfoman Dance, Doug Varone and Dancers, Urban Bush Women, the José Limón Dance Company, and Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet.

September 19, the Emory Dance Program presents a Creativity Conversation with visiting artist Dafi Altebeb, a young Israeli musician, dancer, and choreographer who has performed throughout the world. Her original dance works have premiered in major international festivals, including Internationale Tanzmesse (Dusseldorf), Les Brigittines Centre d’Art Contemporain (Brussels), Chang Mu International Dance Festival (Seoul), Ballet Preljocaj – Pavillion Noir (France), ​and Napoli Theater Festival (Italy). 

As a child in his native Iran 40 years ago, Emory Dance faculty member George Staib witnessed up close the frightening reality of religious revolution. In October, he and his brilliant company Staibdance present “Fence,” their most political and socially driven dance work to date. “Fence” examines how “otherness” can take your power or fuel it. Staib blends intensely physical movement vocabulary with traditional Iranian dance, and uses original music, lighting, and digital effects to weave the audience directly into the work.

!!Ferst Center for the Arts
The Georgia Tech Office of the Arts operates the Ferst Center for the Arts – www.arts.gatech.edu/artstech-performance-series – which presents the Arts@Tech season of professional music, dance, theater, and multimedia performances from September to April. The Georgia Tech School of Music performs multiple concerts at the Center, and DramaTech, the student theater group, performs in the James E. Dull Theatre in the back of the building. Arts@Tech has brought some of the most innovative and exciting multimedia works to be seen in the city, showcasing the highest in music and dance talents along with cutting-edge digital technologies. The works explore and explode themes of disability/mobility design, interconnectivity, LGBTQ living, and cultural celebration.

{img fileId="21485" stylebox="float: right; margin-left:25px;" desc="desc" max="600"}
The Ferst will be the site of two of the most exciting “Don’t Miss!” productions of 2019: “Dökk by fuse*” (October 4) and “Kinetic Light: DESCENT” (November 23).


“Dökk” blends light, sound, and movement into a mind-blowing, multidimensional universe created by fuse*, an Italian digital art studio and production company. Aerial dancer Elena Annovi moves through a sequence of 10 other-worldly environments created by software that synthesizes data from social media, the sound score, the dancer’s heartbeat, and her movements. 

“DESCENT” by Kinetic Light is an evening-length dance work, choreographed by Alice Sheppard in collaboration with disabled dancer Laurel Lawson and disabled lighting and video artist Michael Maag. Featuring a unique, architectural stage that acts as a partner in the choreography and storytelling, and performed on an architectural ramp with hills, curves and peaks, “DESCENT” celebrates the pleasure of reckless abandon. The ramp is a landscape that generates its own site-specific movement as dancers Laurel and Alice discover new experiences of acceleration, resistance, and momentum. Andromeda and Venus, reimagined as interracial lovers, claim their desire as their wheelchairs fly within inches of the ramp’s edges. The thrilling work challenges our assumptions about social justice, movement and embodiment, and art and architecture. 

!!Fly On A Wall
Since their inception in 2014, Fly on a Wall – www.flyonawall.buzz – has created a body of work which includes multimedia performance, installation, and dance for film. They have been presented by Dashboard, the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Contemporary, Art on the Atlanta BeltLine, Synchronicity Theatre, Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery, the City of Duluth, and the Marietta Performing Arts Center. 

Fly on a Wall’s work best reveals itself through inventive theatrical elements that often manifest as performative structures. These elements are integral to the work and allow the audience new dimensions with which to view it. Performance structures that Fly on a Wall has created include: large plexiglass prisms for Art on the Atlanta Beltline, a tandem bicycle generating power for a light bulb in Dashboard’s “Shifting Scapes,” an abstract home made of 20-foot-high. floor-to-ceiling paper panels inside an abandoned castor factory. Once completed, each of these structures house Fly on a Wall’s unique blend of movement and theater.

This month, Fly on a Wall is bringing Anna Long from Chicago to teach three Gaga/dancers classes and one Gaga/people class throughout the weekend. Anyone interested may drop in to a single class or purchase class passes. Space is limited, it is recommended to register early.

On Sunday, August 25, stop by The Windmill Arts Center in East Point to celebrate Fly's one-year anniversary at the Windmill as artists-in-residence with Vanguard Repertory Company. Meet team members, hang out for free refreshments, and find out what Fly on a Wall has in store for the coming year.

!!glo
In 2009, dance/choreographer Lauri Stallings and her partner, production specialist Richard Carvlin, founded the Atlanta-based company glo –  www.gloatl.org. Today, glo’s “moving artists” include Kristina Brown, Noëlle Davé, Christina Kelly, Raina Mitchell, Cailan Orn, Mary Jane Pennington, and Mechelle Tunstall. Stallings and her dancers seem to be constantly performing all over metro Atlanta and Georgia and beyond, often in public spaces, including NYC’s Central Park. Over the past decade, glo has presented civic actions, world premiere performance experiments, an international curated live art series, and public art tours across the state. The company regularly collaborates with orchestral conductors, filmmakers, rappers, and fashion and visual artists to, in Stalling’s words, “help revitalize identity in the American South.” 

Stallings is uniquely obsessed with the ways choreography can identify and amplify the fluid nature of a city. The choreographer believes that movement with a social conscience is a critical component in creating group empathy and goodwill. That’s why she and glo’s movement artists love to construct “People Parades” for folks to come together in a public place to sit, skip, stand, kneel, walk-in 2’s, prance, waltz, spin, shuffle, be still, and twist.” 

Now, as Artist in Residence of the High Museum of Art, Lauri Stallings has constructed MAPPING: Public Choreographies to loop around the entire High Museum Campus. From 12:30–1:15 p.m., every Thursday and Saturday in August, Stallings and glo invite the Atlanta community to join them on the grass of the High Museum for MAPPING: Public Choreographies. For 45 minutes, anyone can come, watch ,or join however they want..

!!Rialto Center for the Arts
The Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University – www.rialto.gsu.edu – is located in one of the oldest parts of the city, downtown’s historic Fairlie-Poplar District. It opened a century ago as one of Atlanta’s first large movie houses, a decade before the Fabulous Fox. After major renovations for the 1996 Olympics, the Rialto became part of GSU’s ever-expanding campus. The annual Rialto (subscription) Series has presented an eclectic mix of world music, jazz, contemporary dance, and international programs. “Ailey II: The Next Generation of Dance” returns to the Rialto October 26. Artistic Director Troy Powell guides Ailey II’s signature pristine performances built on dynamic movement and brilliant technique.

!!Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre
The city we know as Atlanta was founded in the 1820s as Terminus. The five founding members of Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre – www.terminus-serenbe.com – came together to celebrate their shared home as a place where cultures intersect. Now in their second season, these experienced dance artists combine ballet and modern influences to create new theatrical dance works. 

On August 3, TMBT jump starts the school year and the return of their “pop up” open class series. Attend an open house at Westside Cultural Arts Center for free dance class offerings, light bites, door prizes, and a special presentation by Atlanta Optimal Performance Symposium.

Terminus opens its second season performing at Serenbe with “Lore,” the story of two siblings who share the collected heritage of their community. The work touches on the oral histories passed down through generations. TMBT invites audiences to gather around a fire as night falls in The Hollow at Serenbe to experience “Lore” October 11–20.

!!Zoetic Dance
::{img fileId="21484" desc="desc" max="1000"}::
Since its first public performance in 2001, Zoetic Dance Ensemble – www.zoeticdance.org – has been a team of strong women, led by strong women. Zoetic’s dynamically athletic work embodies the feminine spirit and celebrates the power of the female body. Since 2001, their passion for female expression has attracted a range of creative women to share their visions, voices and stories of female empowerment. Zoetic, under the creative leadership of Mallory Baxley, enjoys a special partnership with Whitespace Gallery in Inman Park, which is where they’ll kick off their 2019-2020 season with a party and a preview of their upcoming work, “Saint.” The site for that December premiere will be Ambient+Studios, which began as a 109-year-old factory space near West End. “Saint” will feature original music by Xavier “Xay Zoleil” Lewis, costume design by Hannah James, and unique graphic design by Morgan Tanksley.

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!!::~~#000000:POISED FOR GREAT PERFORMANCES~~::
!!!::~~#000000:Emerging dance collectives on the rise~~::

{DIV(class="byline clearfix")}__~~#000000:ANGELA HARRIS~~__{DIV}
{img fileId="21486" stylebox="float: right; margin-left:25px;" desc="desc" max="600"}~~#000000:Atlanta continues to emerge and evolve as a vibrant dance city that supports the visions and dreams of professional artists. Although longstanding companies, such as the Atlanta Ballet, Ballethnic, Georgia Ballet, Full Radius, and CORE, will always have a strong presence deserving of audiences’ time and support, recently, there is a new and expanded focus on developing a fresh crop of professional dance artists in the city.~~
~~#000000:Poised to make its mark on the national dance landscape, Atlanta has caught the eye of national companies interested in moving, touring, or relocating. Ivan Pulinkala, the new dean of the College of the Arts at Kennesaw State University, envisioned the __KSU Dance Theater__ as an attractive presence for companies seeking to make a new footprint in the metro area. Last season, KSU welcomed BalletX and LA-based Body Traffic; this fall, Charlotte Ballet graces the KSU Dance Theatre stage.
As Atlanta receives more notoriety as a film hub, the ripple of national attention spreads out to the greater arts community. Atlanta native __Juel D. Lane__ — a dancer, choreographer, filmmaker, and artist — marked the spring season with stellar new works performed nationally by the Ailey II dance company. The fresh images of Lane’s dance films, ''The Maestro'' and ''PRISM'', received national acclaim. Atlanta audiences will have a chance to enjoy his films at the 2019 BronzeLens Film Festival in August.
Atlanta still has a way to go to support full-time salaries for professional dance artists. But what the city lacks in employment opportunities, it makes it up through the many companies providing outlets for professional artists to hone their skills. 
For 12 seasons running, Dance Canvas has been a leader in providing resources for emerging professional dance artists, enabling choreographers to premiere work and audiences to witness newly emerging voices in dance. The company serves as a launching platform for artists and their work, from the aforementioned films of Juel D. Lane and the work of Atlanta Dance Collective’s artistic director Sarah Stokes, to Atlanta’s newest professional dance company, The Tap Rebels.
__Dance Canvas__ currently has a call-out for artists with a deadline of August 15 for choreographers seeking an opportunity to develop new work; premieres of the selected works will take place in March 2020 at the Ferst Center for the Arts.
Recent years have witnessed the emergence of artist collectives within the dance community. Audiences should be on the lookout for exciting new work from __Terminus Modern Ballet Theater__, founded by five former Atlanta Ballet principal dancers. __Atlanta Dance Collective__ features the work of resident choreographers and boasts a strong company of a dozen contemporary dancers. __Kit Modus__, based out of Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, and __ImmerseATL__, under the direction of Sarah Hillmer, formerly of Atlanta Ballet, offer opportunities for artists to develop work and train in a collaborative space with local and nationally based guest artists. T-Lang has developed __‘The Movement Lab’__, a new studio and dance hub “intended to nurture growth and innovation.”
With the many dance artists and dance productions being dreamed up, workshopped, and presented in Atlanta this fall — from ballet and contemporary to tap and dance on film — there is something for every dance lover’s taste. I encourage readers to try something new, see all the dance that is blossoming in Atlanta, and rediscover Atlanta’s dance legacies. We are rich in tradition and brimming with new ideas.
''Angela Harris is the executive artistic director of Dance Canvas, Inc.''~~
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  string(15274) " Dancer  2019-08-02T18:46:02+00:00 Dancer_sm.jpg    dance fall arts preview 2019 Interpretative and ritual, modern and folk, ballet and bharatanatyam 21499  2019-08-05T16:51:25+00:00 Fall Arts Preview 2019: Dance jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Edward McNally  2019-08-05T16:51:25+00:00 Atlanta Ballet
Founded in 1929, Atlanta Ballet — www.atlantaballet.com — is considered one of the premier dance companies in the country. Atlanta Ballet’s eclectic repertoire spans ballet history, highlighted by beloved classics and inventive originals... SIDEBAR: POISED FOR GREAT PERFORMANCES

!!Atlanta Ballet
Founded in 1929, Atlanta Ballet — www.atlantaballet.com — is considered one of the premier dance companies in the country. Atlanta Ballet’s eclectic repertoire spans ballet history, highlighted by beloved classics and inventive originals. In 1996, Atlanta Ballet opened the Centre for Dance Education (CDE), which is dedicated to nurturing young dancers while providing an outlet for adults to express their creativity. The CDE serves over 23,000 people in metro Atlanta each year. Atlanta Ballet’s roots remain firmly grounded in the Atlanta community and continue to play a vital role in the city’s cultural growth.


“Love Fear Loss,” by Brazilian choreographer Ricardo Amarante, is the centerpiece work of the opening program of the company’s 90th season, It follows the love story of French singer Édith Piaf from the high of new love, through the fear of intimacy slipping away, to the tragedy of losing her lifelong partner. Amarante has described his work as a celebration of the human condition and the beauty that arises from even the darkest moments in life.  The program will also include a remounting of “Vespertine,” the hypnotic 2017 work by British choreographer Liam Scarlett, a world premiere commissioned work by New York-based Claudia Schreier and a guest performance by New York-based Complexions Contemporary Ballet.

 

!!Caló Gitano Dance Academy
Marianela “Malita” Belloso was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and has been dancing flamenco for practically her entire life. She started when she was only six years old. By the time she was nine, she was already performing on television and in major flamenco stage productions with Siudy Quintero Dance Academy, the largest flamenco dance academy in Venezuela. Malita arrived in Atlanta in 2000 and formed the flamenco performance company Caló Gitano – www.calogitano.com – now the largest flamenco academy in Georgia. After opening Caló Dance Studio in Kirkwood nine years ago, Malita trained a group of advanced flamenco dancers and formed partnerships with other artists and musicians to create large-scale theater works and original flamenco musical productions as Caló Theatre Company  

!!Core Dance
Core Dance – www.coredance.org  – was co-founded in 1980 in Houston, Texas, by dancer and choreographer Sue Schroeder and her sister, Kathy Russell. Five years later, the organization added Atlanta, Georgia, as a second home base. Over four decades, Core has performed 125 pieces of original choreography across the globe, collaborating with the renowned and the obscure. The company actively encourages participation and conversation with the community, sharing what they know about bodies and movement with those dealing with abuse, homelessness, language barriers, refugee status, substance abuse, aging, and HIV/AIDS.

“If… a memoir” is a love song written for humanity. Sue Schroeder in collaboration with the Dance Artists of Core Dance, Christian Meyer (composer), and Simon Gentry (cinematographer) will create an evening-length, physical theater choreo-poem. According to Schroeder, “this new work will draw from early 1950s Beat Generation culture and influences including jazz-inspired rhythm, improvisational spirit, rejection of standard narrative values and seeming disorganization with a deliberate effect.”

!!Department of Dance at Kennesaw State University
Kennesaw State University is home to Georgia’s largest collegiate dance program and Atlanta’s first theater designed specifically for dance. Through the program’s academic and practical experiences, students develop a holistic understanding of dance as an art form while also investigating dance as a method of analysis, a mode of enquiry, and an aesthetic experience. The Department’s collaborative partnerships provide students with uniquely valuable opportunities. This year, KSU Dance launched a new partnership with Terminus Modern Ballet Theater, directly connecting students to the professional practice of dance. 

September 27, KSU Dance – www.arts.kennesaw.edu/dance – presents The Charlotte Ballet performing Johan Inger’s “Walking Mad,” a piece inspired by a quote from Socrates: “Our greatest gifts come to us in a state of madness.” KSU’s student dance company will premiere “Slang,” a new work in November.

!!Emory Dance
Emory Dance – www.dance.emory.edu –  presents a wide range of public programming each year, including Emory Dance Company concerts, the Friends of Dance Lecture Series, guest artists, dance on film presentations, and informal and site-specific performances and events. Through the Candler Concert Series, Emory Dance presents some of the finest modern dance choreographers and companies, including The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Monica Bill Barnes & Company, David Dorfoman Dance, Doug Varone and Dancers, Urban Bush Women, the José Limón Dance Company, and Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet.

September 19, the Emory Dance Program presents a Creativity Conversation with visiting artist Dafi Altebeb, a young Israeli musician, dancer, and choreographer who has performed throughout the world. Her original dance works have premiered in major international festivals, including Internationale Tanzmesse (Dusseldorf), Les Brigittines Centre d’Art Contemporain (Brussels), Chang Mu International Dance Festival (Seoul), Ballet Preljocaj – Pavillion Noir (France), ​and Napoli Theater Festival (Italy). 

As a child in his native Iran 40 years ago, Emory Dance faculty member George Staib witnessed up close the frightening reality of religious revolution. In October, he and his brilliant company Staibdance present “Fence,” their most political and socially driven dance work to date. “Fence” examines how “otherness” can take your power or fuel it. Staib blends intensely physical movement vocabulary with traditional Iranian dance, and uses original music, lighting, and digital effects to weave the audience directly into the work.

!!Ferst Center for the Arts
The Georgia Tech Office of the Arts operates the Ferst Center for the Arts – www.arts.gatech.edu/artstech-performance-series – which presents the Arts@Tech season of professional music, dance, theater, and multimedia performances from September to April. The Georgia Tech School of Music performs multiple concerts at the Center, and DramaTech, the student theater group, performs in the James E. Dull Theatre in the back of the building. Arts@Tech has brought some of the most innovative and exciting multimedia works to be seen in the city, showcasing the highest in music and dance talents along with cutting-edge digital technologies. The works explore and explode themes of disability/mobility design, interconnectivity, LGBTQ living, and cultural celebration.


The Ferst will be the site of two of the most exciting “Don’t Miss!” productions of 2019: “Dökk by fuse*” (October 4) and “Kinetic Light: DESCENT” (November 23).


“Dökk” blends light, sound, and movement into a mind-blowing, multidimensional universe created by fuse*, an Italian digital art studio and production company. Aerial dancer Elena Annovi moves through a sequence of 10 other-worldly environments created by software that synthesizes data from social media, the sound score, the dancer’s heartbeat, and her movements. 

“DESCENT” by Kinetic Light is an evening-length dance work, choreographed by Alice Sheppard in collaboration with disabled dancer Laurel Lawson and disabled lighting and video artist Michael Maag. Featuring a unique, architectural stage that acts as a partner in the choreography and storytelling, and performed on an architectural ramp with hills, curves and peaks, “DESCENT” celebrates the pleasure of reckless abandon. The ramp is a landscape that generates its own site-specific movement as dancers Laurel and Alice discover new experiences of acceleration, resistance, and momentum. Andromeda and Venus, reimagined as interracial lovers, claim their desire as their wheelchairs fly within inches of the ramp’s edges. The thrilling work challenges our assumptions about social justice, movement and embodiment, and art and architecture. 

!!Fly On A Wall
Since their inception in 2014, Fly on a Wall – www.flyonawall.buzz – has created a body of work which includes multimedia performance, installation, and dance for film. They have been presented by Dashboard, the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Contemporary, Art on the Atlanta BeltLine, Synchronicity Theatre, Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery, the City of Duluth, and the Marietta Performing Arts Center. 

Fly on a Wall’s work best reveals itself through inventive theatrical elements that often manifest as performative structures. These elements are integral to the work and allow the audience new dimensions with which to view it. Performance structures that Fly on a Wall has created include: large plexiglass prisms for Art on the Atlanta Beltline, a tandem bicycle generating power for a light bulb in Dashboard’s “Shifting Scapes,” an abstract home made of 20-foot-high. floor-to-ceiling paper panels inside an abandoned castor factory. Once completed, each of these structures house Fly on a Wall’s unique blend of movement and theater.

This month, Fly on a Wall is bringing Anna Long from Chicago to teach three Gaga/dancers classes and one Gaga/people class throughout the weekend. Anyone interested may drop in to a single class or purchase class passes. Space is limited, it is recommended to register early.

On Sunday, August 25, stop by The Windmill Arts Center in East Point to celebrate Fly's one-year anniversary at the Windmill as artists-in-residence with Vanguard Repertory Company. Meet team members, hang out for free refreshments, and find out what Fly on a Wall has in store for the coming year.

!!glo
In 2009, dance/choreographer Lauri Stallings and her partner, production specialist Richard Carvlin, founded the Atlanta-based company glo –  www.gloatl.org. Today, glo’s “moving artists” include Kristina Brown, Noëlle Davé, Christina Kelly, Raina Mitchell, Cailan Orn, Mary Jane Pennington, and Mechelle Tunstall. Stallings and her dancers seem to be constantly performing all over metro Atlanta and Georgia and beyond, often in public spaces, including NYC’s Central Park. Over the past decade, glo has presented civic actions, world premiere performance experiments, an international curated live art series, and public art tours across the state. The company regularly collaborates with orchestral conductors, filmmakers, rappers, and fashion and visual artists to, in Stalling’s words, “help revitalize identity in the American South.” 

Stallings is uniquely obsessed with the ways choreography can identify and amplify the fluid nature of a city. The choreographer believes that movement with a social conscience is a critical component in creating group empathy and goodwill. That’s why she and glo’s movement artists love to construct “People Parades” for folks to come together in a public place to sit, skip, stand, kneel, walk-in 2’s, prance, waltz, spin, shuffle, be still, and twist.” 

Now, as Artist in Residence of the High Museum of Art, Lauri Stallings has constructed MAPPING: Public Choreographies to loop around the entire High Museum Campus. From 12:30–1:15 p.m., every Thursday and Saturday in August, Stallings and glo invite the Atlanta community to join them on the grass of the High Museum for MAPPING: Public Choreographies. For 45 minutes, anyone can come, watch ,or join however they want..

!!Rialto Center for the Arts
The Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University – www.rialto.gsu.edu – is located in one of the oldest parts of the city, downtown’s historic Fairlie-Poplar District. It opened a century ago as one of Atlanta’s first large movie houses, a decade before the Fabulous Fox. After major renovations for the 1996 Olympics, the Rialto became part of GSU’s ever-expanding campus. The annual Rialto (subscription) Series has presented an eclectic mix of world music, jazz, contemporary dance, and international programs. “Ailey II: The Next Generation of Dance” returns to the Rialto October 26. Artistic Director Troy Powell guides Ailey II’s signature pristine performances built on dynamic movement and brilliant technique.

!!Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre
The city we know as Atlanta was founded in the 1820s as Terminus. The five founding members of Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre – www.terminus-serenbe.com – came together to celebrate their shared home as a place where cultures intersect. Now in their second season, these experienced dance artists combine ballet and modern influences to create new theatrical dance works. 

On August 3, TMBT jump starts the school year and the return of their “pop up” open class series. Attend an open house at Westside Cultural Arts Center for free dance class offerings, light bites, door prizes, and a special presentation by Atlanta Optimal Performance Symposium.

Terminus opens its second season performing at Serenbe with “Lore,” the story of two siblings who share the collected heritage of their community. The work touches on the oral histories passed down through generations. TMBT invites audiences to gather around a fire as night falls in The Hollow at Serenbe to experience “Lore” October 11–20.

!!Zoetic Dance
::::
Since its first public performance in 2001, Zoetic Dance Ensemble – www.zoeticdance.org – has been a team of strong women, led by strong women. Zoetic’s dynamically athletic work embodies the feminine spirit and celebrates the power of the female body. Since 2001, their passion for female expression has attracted a range of creative women to share their visions, voices and stories of female empowerment. Zoetic, under the creative leadership of Mallory Baxley, enjoys a special partnership with Whitespace Gallery in Inman Park, which is where they’ll kick off their 2019-2020 season with a party and a preview of their upcoming work, “Saint.” The site for that December premiere will be Ambient+Studios, which began as a 109-year-old factory space near West End. “Saint” will feature original music by Xavier “Xay Zoleil” Lewis, costume design by Hannah James, and unique graphic design by Morgan Tanksley.



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