If you have something important to say, all you have to do is whisper it to someone, and if its truly important, chances are that person will be the first of many to hear it. If you are talented enough to be a choreographer or dancer, then sometimes, you don’t have to say anything at all, and sooner or later, you may find yourself touring around the country and beyond to share your message with countless others. That’s been the result of the hard work and consistent creative efforts of The Seldoms.
Over the last 16 years, The Seldoms have created a vast repertoire of meticulously researched and imaginatively constructed pieces whose subject matter spans the economic crisis of 2008 to their most recent trilogy that examines power in America. These critically acclaimed works have earned a number of prestigious grants that allow the artists of The Seldoms to share their “potent physicality” with audiences across the US. Their work has also created connections with a number of renowned collaborators that include playwrights, sound designers, visual artists, and fashion designers, as well as additional international connections in Germany, Taiwan, and Scotland. It’s been said that actions speak louder than words, and by the looks of it there are a vast number of us out there that are listening to The Seldoms.
The Seldoms bring RockCitizen to Studio5 in Dance Center Evanston November 16 and 17. To learn more about this production, DancerMusic’s Kristi Licera caught up with Studio5 Artistic Director Béa Rashid to learn more about why she chose to present The Seldoms and this particular production. Here’s what she told us:
…it is a pleasure to see a group of dancers actually connect with each other on stage, through their strong partnering and visual intentions.
Kristi: Curating a season of programming in any theater is a monumental task, especially with the number of variables and considerations you must make. At its most basic, this includes the cost to bring in the artists as well as the concert’s technical needs and theater’s ability to meet them. It becomes more complex when a presenter must consider how responsive their audience will be to a given work, and how that work fits in to the existing programming for the season. What was it about The Seldoms that made them a must-have at Studio5?
Béa: When Steve and I first saw The Seldoms’ production of The Making at Pulaski Park, we were excited by the energy and technical abilities of the dancers, as well as their individual personalities and theatrical capabilities. Since The Making uses multiple spaces, it was not the perfect fit for Studio5. I had also seen the company in Marchland, and again, I was stunned by the strength of each of the dancers. The diversity of gender, race and age within the company appealed to me as well, and it is a pleasure to see a group of dancers actually connect with each other on stage, through their strong partnering and visual intentions.
Then Carrie Hansen, Artistic Director of The Seldoms, brought RockCitizen to my attention, and I got really excited, because it seemed the perfect fit for Studio5.
We are all painfully aware of how polarized the country is, and anytime art can lift us out of our day to day and make us reflect on who we are and what we believe, is a positive.
Kristi: The Seldoms’ press release tells us RockCitizen is a multi-collaborative dance theater work “that recalls counter-cultural spaces and powerful voices of change of the 1960’s and 70’s and connects them to a larger history of people pursuing breakthroughs and transformations in their lives and worlds.” The piece seeks to examine what the social movements of that era taught us and what they could mean to us today, especially in light of the current political circumstances regarding citizenship and freedom. Can you tell us more about the production and why you chose this specific piece of repertoire?
Béa: We are all painfully aware of how polarized the country is, and anytime art can lift us out of our day to day and make us reflect on who we are and what we believe, is a positive. RockCitizen is dance as social commentary. The themes are presented through the use of humor, drama, confrontation, and satire. The choreography and dialogue unfold below a mobile net of 216 colored bras (the “Brascape”) designed by Bob Faust.
Though RockCitizen is a large piece, the connections between the dancers are immediate and Studio5’s intimate space will be the perfect venue to experience it.
The Seldoms perform RockCitizen on Friday, November 16 and Saturday, November 17, both evenings at 8pm at Studio5 in Dance Center Evanston. Both nights include a post-performance discussion with the artists. Tickets are available online via Brown Paper Tickets or at the door.