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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Bookstock Features Poetry and Dance Tribute to Poet Mary Oliver

Posted By on Thu, Jul 18, 2019 at 10:00 AM

Dancers rehearse Sarabande - COURTESY OF PEG BRIGHTMAN
  • Courtesy of Peg Brightman
  • Dancers rehearse Sarabande
Poetry, said Mary Oliver in a rare 2015 interview with the radio program "On Being," “is very old. It’s very sacred. It wishes for a community. It’s a community ritual, certainly. And that’s why, when you write a poem, you write it for anybody and everybody.”

Oliver won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984 and the National Book Award for Poetry in 1992. She also had New England connections, teaching at Bennington College from 1996 to 2001 and living in Provincetown, Mass. for many years. 

Oliver’s work is ubiquitous across Instagram, and read at both weddings and funerals. A New York Times obituary called her “a phenomenon: a poet whose work sold strongly.”  When she died in January, the loss was felt not just by the poetry community, but by many fans outside it.

“Mary Oliver’s poetry is [about] more than other poets reading her,” said Vermont poet Laura Foley. “She didn’t put herself up on a pedestal. Her words are very clear, she uses images from nature. And she has a message, which is, ‘Slow down, look around you.’”

Foley wrote a poem called “It Matters” upon hearing of Oliver’s death that borrows and appreciates various lines of Oliver’s poetry, which are presented in italics. Foley said she knew these lines by heart when she sat down to write the poem.

“It matters that I clutch / my stack of her books—those fields of light—” she wrote, “now that her body has gone / into the cottage of darkness.”

Foley's poem and others will be featured in Homage to Mary Oliver in Poetry and Dance on Thursday, July 25, ArtisTree Community Arts Center & Gallery in South Pomfret at 7:30 p.m. The multidisciplinary performance kicks off Bookstock, an annual literary festival that takes place in Woodstock from Friday to Sunday, July 26 to 28. 

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Cultural Mosaic: Susmita Dhakal Brings Bollywood Vibe to A2VT

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 11:28 AM

  • Courtesy of Susmita Dhakal
  • Susmita Dhakal
While some people treat "diversity" and "inclusivity" as buzzwords, for Susmita Dhakal those terms are guiding principles. Dhakal, a Bollywood dance performer, is a member of the local Afro-pop group, A2VT.

"I've always been the person [who] gets involved in different cultures because I feel that's the way I grow," said the University of Vermont sophomore. A native of Nepal born to Bhutanese refugees, Dhakal is the only A2VT member who's not from the African diaspora. She joined the group about six months ago.

"She brings a bit of Bollywood vibe to [the group]," said A2VT manager David Cooper. "They embraced her."

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Vermont Arts Council Exhibit Spotlights New American Artists

Posted By on Tue, Jul 17, 2018 at 12:24 PM

Aline Mukiza (with drum) and Burundian dancers - COURTESY OF JEFF WOODWARD
  • Courtesy of Jeff Woodward
  • Aline Mukiza (with drum) and Burundian dancers
The Vermont Arts Council is on a mission to broaden the definition of who a Vermont artist is, said director Karen Mittelman. "There are new groups of Americans who are enriching [the] landscape in ways that most people don't see and recognize," she said.

Mittelman is hopeful that the arts agency's latest photo exhibit will introduce residents and visitors to the state's diverse cultural landscape.

With help from the Vermont Folklife Center, the VAC has assembled a collection of photographs for its Spotlight Gallery that feature the music, dance and fiber traditions of local Bhutanese, Bosnian, Burundian, Karen, Somali and Tibetan communities.

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Dancing the Day Away With Vermont Dance Alliance and Artists Imperative

Posted By on Sun, Jun 17, 2018 at 4:44 PM

Dancers kicking off "Traces" at the top of Church Street - SADIE WILLIAMS
  • Sadie Williams
  • Dancers kicking off "Traces" at the top of Church Street
On Saturday, June 16, Burlington was struck by a confluence of dance-related events: "Traces," an all-day, multi-venue, outdoor performance hosted by the Vermont Dance Alliance, and "Lime Peach Mint: High Crimes Misdemeanors, Bountiful Performances" by Artists' Imperative at Maglianero. What follows is a diary of observations from the day.

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Christal Brown Named Director of Visual & Performing Arts at Clemmons Family Farm

Posted By on Thu, Apr 12, 2018 at 7:00 AM

  • File: Matthew Thorsen
  • Christal Brown
Fueled by a $350,000 creative placemaking grant received last December, Charlotte's Clemmons Family Farm continues toward its goal of becoming a major African American and African diasporic cultural center in Vermont. In one of several grant-funded positions now officialized, Middlebury dancer and choreographer Christal Brown has been appointed as director of visual and performing arts at the farm.

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Monday, January 29, 2018

Cultural Mosaic: Neeru Cvakoti Teaches Nepali Pride Through Dance

Posted By on Mon, Jan 29, 2018 at 5:43 PM

Neeru Cvakoti - KYMELYA SARI
  • Kymelya Sari
  • Neeru Cvakoti
When she was growing up in a refugee camp in Nepal, Neeru Cvakoti used to watch her sister dance while their brothers played the accompanying music live. "Tabla, flute — they had a crew," Cvakoti recalled.

Today, such performances are "impossible" in the U.S., said the now Winooski-based dancer. "We have so many bright artists from our Bhutanese community," she explained. "But they live in different states."

That makes finding a backing band difficult. So when she performs, Cvakoti dances to music that she has downloaded on to a pen drive. She does the same when she teaches.

These days, Cvakoti, 24, plays an active role in nurturing a newer generation of Nepali-Bhutanese performers. When she lived in Pennsylvania, Cvakoti opened a dance school. When she relocated to Vermont last year, she wanted to continue following her passion for dance and teaching.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

'Breathe' Underwater: An Aquatic Opera at Middlebury College

Posted By on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 3:38 PM

  • Courtesy of Gabriel Forestieri
  • From "Breathe" is a website dedicated to speculative definitions of the noun-as-verb "worlding," introduced by philosopher Martin Heidegger in the 1920s. The term is also the name chosen by dancer and choreographer Gabriel Forestieri to describe his practice of outdoor, site-specific movement — on land and under water.

On Saturday, April 29, and Sunday, April 30, the Middlebury College natatorium* will be transformed for two performances of "Breathe," a multi-disciplinary and immersive performance made in collaboration with composer Loren Kiyoshi Dempster and writer/visual artist Adrian Jevicki.

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Eiko Otake Performs 'A Body' at the Moran Plant

Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2016 at 12:16 PM

Eiko Otake at the Moran Plant - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
  • Eiko Otake at the Moran Plant
Japanese artist Eiko Otake was long known as one half of the husband-and-wife performance team Eiko and Koma. For the past two years, however, Otake, who has lived in New York since 1976, has been going it alone — all over the world. Her ongoing work "A Body in Places" places her dancing body in atypical performance locations, beginning with the irradiated site of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown.

In October 2014, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts hosted the debut exhibition "A Body in Fukushima," featuring exquisite photos by William Johnston of Otake's pilgrimage . In conjunction with this show, Otake developed "A Body in a Station," a site-specific performance in Philadelphia's 30th Street Amtrak Station.

Since that launch, Otake has danced in locales including Hong Kong, Santiago, New York's Fulton Street Station, a library, an observatory and a farmers market. This week she'll add to that list an abandoned industrial building: Burlington's own Moran Plant — aka the city's former generating station.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Vermonters Receive NEA Grants, Spring for Joy

Posted By on Tue, May 17, 2016 at 2:38 PM

NEA grantee AXIS Dance Company (through the Flynn) - COURTESY OF THE FLYNN CENTER
  • Courtesy of the Flynn Center
  • NEA grantee AXIS Dance Company (through the Flynn)
In its spring grant cycle, the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded eight grants totaling $893,000 to six Vermont organizations.  The majority of that amount, $718,000, went to the Vermont Arts Council, which in turn provides a variety of grants to individuals and smaller organizations statewide.

The other grantees were the Vermont Folklife Center, the Dorset Theatre Festival, the Flynn Center for the Performing ArtsKingdom County Productions, the Vermont Folklife Center and Weston Playhouse Theatre Company.

Congrats, everybody! The full NEA document here

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Six Vermont Organizations Receive NEA Grants

Posted By on Thu, Dec 17, 2015 at 11:10 AM

Performance by Carmelita Tropicana and Ela Troyano - COURTESY OF VERMONT PERFORMANCE LAB AND ELA TROYANO
  • Courtesy of Vermont Performance Lab and Ela Troyano
  • Performance by Carmelita Tropicana and Ela Troyano
In the latest round of arts funding announced last week by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), six Vermont arts organizations were awarded a total of $110,000. Of these groups, four are music, dance or theater related, one is literary and one is both writing and visual arts related (Vermont Studio Center). 

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