We live in a world of that has become accustomed to instant gratification and yearns for it. The speed of achievement seems to be just as important as the achievement itself, but if we take a step back, we may just discover that the things that require patience can be the most rewarding of all. Taking time to reflect and observe can provide us with insights and opportunities that can come to us no other way, and that is exactly what the choreographers, dancers, and visual artists at Still Inspired(?) aim to do.
For the last five years, Still Inspired(?) has paired Chicago-based choreographers with visual artists to create new works in each medium. The choreographers take inspiration from a piece of visual art, and it is not unusual for the participating visual artists to complete the circle of inspiration and create their own work based on the choreography. This season, Still Inspired(?) selected the artwork of Elsa Munoz to inspire works by Rebecca McLindon Blanchard, Annie Conway, Lizzie Mackenzie, and Still Inspired(?) Artistic Director Laura Thurston. The magic that these choreographers and visual artists create cannot happen overnight. Months of careful planning, contemplation, creation, and rehearsal are needed to create the works that they will be premiering at the Athenaeum Theatre February 22 and 23.
DancerMusic’s Kristi Licera caught up with Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Still Inspired(?) Irina Goldman and Still Inspired(?) Artistic Director Laura Thurston to learn more about how visual artists are chosen and why the production is valuable to both artists and audiences alike. Here’s what they told us:
We have loved the way our past artists have embraced the experience and by following their suggestions, we continue to find more Chicago-based visual artists who give their all to the process.
“In the past, the four choreographers for the upcoming show explored various Chicago artist’s websites and picked visual artists they found spoke to them and their creative identities. But now that we have gotten a few seasons under our belt, we have found that the choreographers and dancers develop a really strong connection to the visual artist. Because Still Inspired(?) is such a personal experience, we have begun to try and find visual artists by asking for recommendations from our previous visual artists. We have loved the way our past artists have embraced the experience and by following their suggestions, we continue to find more Chicago-based visual artists who give their all to the process.” –Irina Goldman
In a sense, our circle of inspiration is spreading through the visual artist community via referral. We are greatly appreciative to be growing and learning more about the Chicago visual arts community through these deep connections from artist to artist.
“This season, we chose Elsa Munoz’s work for its versatility, but more importantly we were impressed by her realistic, life-like paintings. Still Inspired(?) has not done a production featuring work like hers; we try to vary our featured visual artist from season to season.
Receiving a referral from past season’s visual artists ensures that new visual artists present interest and are receptive to our process and production. In a sense, our circle of inspiration is spreading through the visual artist community via referral. We are greatly appreciative to be growing and learning more about the Chicago visual arts community through these deep connections from artist to artist. We are happy to be part of that uplifting support.” – Laura Thurston
There’s something else about this kind of genuine exploration – of how you can connect yourself to an extremely personal part of another person’s life that births this beautiful, purely creative environment.
“Part of why I’m so invested in Still Inspired(?) is because it provides a unique space for artists. We have the opportunity to work in a collaborative environment, both between the visual artist and choreographer and the choreographer, visual artist, and the dancers, which I find opens up a whole new dimension of meaning behind the work I perform. The visual artist inspires the choreographer’s work which is innovative and rich in and of itself. But then the choreographer shares these findings with the dancers, and they add another layer of meaning on top of that by adding their own personal voice to that work.
There’s something else about this kind of genuine exploration – of how you can connect yourself to an extremely personal part of another person’s life that births this beautiful, purely creative environment. When you create art, you make yourself vulnerable by letting the world examine a part of your being and soul. Here, we get to assemble many layers of that type of exposure with each level of collaboration, which I think makes for very powerful work.” – Irina Goldman
I only hope that we continue to spark such meaningful connections as we continue to grow.
“What’s great about the collaborative aspect of Still Inspired(?) is that the multilayered perspectives of the performances allow for more viewers to connect to the material. I’ve seen this occur with all types of audience members, and we’ve had some really special experiences with visual artists.
Our visual artist last season was Sergio Gomez. After speaking with choreographers prior to their individual rehearsals, Sergio was able to attend some rehearsals in the last month leading up to the show. He was absolutely wonderful to work with – lending his perspective to the dancers and choreographers and explaining his experiences. What’s more is that he was inspired by the show to create new paintings. He created two different works based on Laura Thurston’s “Debate”, which was such an honor in my experience. To have someone see your work and derive their own inspiration from there was just touching.
We were all then inspired to create another collaborative event together called “Live Creations,” where Sergio created a live drawing based off an improvised dancer, Sabriah Floberg, and a live musician, Rhys Bakulinski. So, the process really came full circle, starting with choreography inspired by his art, resulting in art inspired by Laura’s choreography and ending in a live, improvised collaborative show. I only hope that we continue to spark such meaningful connections as we continue to grow.” – Irina Goldman
Still Inspired(?) presents “RELEASE” February 22 and 23 at 7:30pm at the Athenaeum Theatre, Studio 3 (2936 N. Southport
Chicago, IL 60657). Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here, in person at the Athenaeum Box Office, or by calling the box office at (773) 935-6875.
Tickets are also available for Still Inspired(?) Future Artists Show February 24 at 2pm, also at the Athenaeum Theatre. Learn more at stillinspireddance.com.