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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

Christal Brown - FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN
  • 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

From "Breathe" - COURTESY OF GABRIEL FORESTIERI
  • Courtesy of Gabriel Forestieri
  • From "Breathe"
Worlding.org 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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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Liz Lerman on Movement and Finding Artistic Voice

Posted By on Tue, Nov 17, 2015 at 5:06 PM

Liz Lerman - COURTESY OF MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE
  • Courtesy of Middlebury College
  • Liz Lerman

Liz Lerman is a mover and a shaker. To those who know the choreographer’s work, that statement might seem reductive at best, but it’s fitting on more than the obvious level. Lerman, who received a MacArthur “genius” grant in 2002, isn’t just interested in physical movement, but in the movement of ideas across disciplinary boundaries. She’s at Middlebury College through Wednesday this week conducting a short residency focusing on just that. Her stay culminates in a lecture tomorrow, November 18, at the Mahaney Center for the Arts Dance Theatre.

Lerman, who is known for working with intergenerational groups of movers, has an open approach to education. In other words, she doesn't believe in forcing her ideas about art upon anyone. “I have a lot of ideas about ways of being in the world, but I feel a lot of those are things [students] have to discover for themselves,” Lerman said in a phone interview. “Sometimes I feel like an old-fashioned trader: I’m trading goods for ideas, delivering information from other parts of the country.”

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The 2015 Governor's Art Awards, and a Missing Grace Potter

Posted By on Wed, Nov 4, 2015 at 10:44 AM

Sparky and Peggy Potter with Gov. Peter Shumlin - COURTESY OF VAC/PETER ARTHUR WEYRAUCH
  • Courtesy of VAC/Peter Arthur Weyrauch
  • Sparky and Peggy Potter with Gov. Peter Shumlin
On Monday evening the Vermont Arts Council (VAC), now in its 50th year, hosted the Governor's Arts Awards at Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier. The council bestowed honor and gratitude upon 10 Vermont artists for their ongoing commitment to creativity in our small corner of the country. Graciousness and ferocity were in ample supply at the event, reflecting the tight-knit community responsible for the state's creative legacy.

Waitsfield singer-songwriter Grace Potter was the event's headliner, so to speak, as the 2015 recipient of the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts — the state's highest honor in the creative sector. She was the youngest of the year's award recipients by far. Potter, however, was unable to attend the ceremony, due to a last-minute invitation from First Lady Michelle Obama. The singer was on her way to visit American troops with FLOTUS, along with TV late-night host Conan O'Brien. 

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Friday, September 4, 2015

Vermont's Ernest 'E-Knock' Phillips Competes on 'The Amazing Race'

Posted By on Fri, Sep 4, 2015 at 11:29 AM

Vermont dancer Ernest "E-Knock" Phillips is no stranger to reality television. He's shown off his sizzling moves on "So You Think You Can Dance" and "America's Best Dance Crew." But this summer, Phillips went after something even bigger: the $1 million grand prize on CBS' globe-trotting competition "The Amazing Race." He and his brother, Jin Lao, were one of 11 teams competing on the hit show's 27th season, which hits the air waves on Friday, September 25.

How far around the world did E-Knock get? You'll have to watch to find out. Meanwhile, watch the CBS video embedded here, in which he and Lao introduce themselves and explain why they're after the prize. Phillips describes himself as working "four jobs" and sleeping in his car. He also says he doesn't like flying with his brother — which could cause some ratings-bait friction as they race from one pit stop to the next. For his part, Lao describes Phillips as the "Eddie Murphy" of the duo, because he's seldom at a loss for words.

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