PRE-View: “Still Inspired(?): Connections” Presents Choreographers Annie Conway and Rebecca McLindon Blanchard
If you live in Chicago, then the bleak, winter weather can easily suck the creative juices right out of you. The only cure? Surround yourself with the vibrant live and visual art that permeates the city. This weekend at Dovetail Studios, see Still Inspired(?): Connections, an evening of dance that explores the connection between ‘still’ and ‘live’ art. Four choreographers each select a piece of art from a Chicago based visual artist to serve as the inspiration for a new choreographic work. Now in its fourth season of production, Still Inspired(?): Connections presents an evening of dance exploring the work of Sergio Gomez. DancerMusic’s Kristi Licera caught up with presenting choreographers Annie Conway and Rebecca McLindon Blanchard to see what each chose as inspiration from Gomez’s incredible body of visual art, as well as more about their individual creations:
Kristi: Tell us about the painting you selected from Sergio Gomez. What initially drew you to it, and how did the artwork inform or inspire your choreography?
Annie: Being a working mom to two small kids (and one on the way), I had been itching to create a work about balance – or rather, losing balance – for some time. The Still Inspired project provided the ideal format in which to accomplish this, and I was beyond delighted to discover Sergio’s piece, Balance, when researching his portfolio of incredible work. I was drawn to the humanness of his collection and found Balance to be especially intriguing, particularly considering the theme I was hoping to explore choreographically. The story, shapes, and even phrasing utilized for my work were inspired by all aspects of Sergio’s painting – the sphere surrounding the human figure with the exposed hands and red outline detail; the swaths of paint in varying textures and thickness threatening to invade and disrupt the balanced circle; and the glowing light that seems to emanate up and out from the center of the human.
The story, shapes, and even phrasing utilized for my work were inspired by all aspects of Sergio’s painting – the sphere surrounding the human figure with the exposed hands and red outline detail; the swaths of paint in varying textures and thickness threatening to invade and disrupt the balanced circle
Annie: The final movement of my piece illustrates the idea of community and the realization that oftentimes, the process of regaining balance hinges on help from other people. I found it poetic that the act of immersing myself in this work – and relying on the creativity and positive energy from the dancers and producers involved – proved the concept of my piece as it offered such a sense of balance during an otherwise very chaotic time in my life. Merely setting foot in the studio and seeing the dancers (who presumably also rely on this art form to feel balanced) had a steadying effect allowing me to leave each rehearsal feeling re-balanced and re-energized.
Rebecca McLindon Blanchard
Rebecca: I am working with Distance by Sergio Gomez. I was initially drawn to this painting as it seemed to emit its own light. A tiny, illuminated tree is the focal point of this 6 x 6 foot acrylic on canvas, but I found inspiration in the dark grit that surrounding the tree. The beautiful, uncharted territory is so interesting to me and quite reflective of where I am in my life. There is so much to be discovered, uncovered and sifted through – so much that has always been there, but that I have not yet had the opportunity to meet. Slowly these things are surfacing and finding their way into the light, which is becoming more and more clear with each rehearsal.
A tiny, illuminated tree is the focal point of this 6 x 6 foot acrylic on canvas, but I found inspiration in the dark grit that surrounding the tree. The beautiful, uncharted territory is so interesting to me and quite reflective of where I am in my life.
Rebecca: As a new mom, I’d have to say getting back into the studio and experiencing the newness in my body and mind was the most challenging, and in turn the most inspiring, part of this season. Each day I had to walk in to rehearsals and allow myself to be someone I hadn’t been and didn’t quite know yet. This became a wonderful way for me to begin processing my new role in life. Once I was able to recognize and accept that creating this work would be unlike any I had done before, I was able to let that shape this piece into its own sort of art.
See Still Inspired(?): Connections at Dovetail Studios, 2853 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, at 7:30pm on both Friday, February 2 and Saturday, February 3. Tickets will be available at the door or purchase in advance at Brown Paper Tickets. To learn more about the production and the artists, visit www.stillinspireddance.com.