MASS MoCA  
CURRENT    • UPCOMING    • ONGOING    • OPENING    • ARCHIVES    • SOL LEWITT RETROSPECTIVE
ALL    • MUSIC    • THEATER    • DANCE    • FILM    • FILM WITH LIVE MUSIC    • DANCE PARTIES    • KIDS
HOURS    • DIRECTIONS    • GROUPS    • DINING    • LODGING    • BERKSHIRES    • REAL ESTATE    • TICKETS    • PODCASTS
MISSION    • HISTORY    • FACTS    • LEADERSHIP    • CONTACT    • RENTALS    • LEASE SPACE    • JOBS    • FAQ    • TEACHERS
   
 

Stepping into the Spotlight

 
Our performing arts intern Emily shares her experience of curating an Alt Cabaret show. See the show for yourself on Saturday, January 21, 2012, at 8:00 pm, and dance with us for free during the community workshop on the same day at 2:00 pm!

 

As the 2011/2012 performing arts administration intern, a position that is grant-funded by the Tin Man Fund, I get to curate my very own show… and I can’t believe how quickly the date is approaching! When I started my job at MASS MoCA seven months ago, I had no idea how much work (and joy!) would go into booking, planning, and finally bringing the stunning modern-Irish steppers of Darrah Carr Dance to the museum:

1. RESEARCH: Before I could book a performing artist, I needed to figure out what my interests were. What was I passionate about? What did I want to see more of in the Berkshires? As a recent grad of Connecticut College (go camels!) with a double major in Human Development and Dance, I immediately knew that I wanted to bring accessible and innovative modern dance to MASS MoCA. My Human Development interest in communities and education also fueled my desire to curate dance that could interact with the public, possibly through a workshop of some kind. I spent a few days in NYC visiting our performing arts curatorial team and researching dance companies that appealed to my interests and to MASS MoCA’s audience. In the end, I decided on Darrah Carr Dance – Darrah blends traditional Irish step dancing with modern dance vocabulary and techniques, and also has a developed educational outreach program, so she was a perfect fit.

2. MAKING THE DEAL: Next, I reached out to Darrah, to see if she wanted to partner with MASS MoCA – she did! I drafted an offer letter outlining the basics such as show date, compensation, and travel arrangements for Darrah, the curatorial team, and my cool boss Sue (Manager of Performing Arts + Film) to sign… and voila! We were set to do a show together. That meant that Darrah and I had lots and lots of questions for each other. I wanted to know about which dance pieces she might bring, who her audience was, and the specifics of her community programs. She wanted to learn about the size of the performance space, our tech capabilities, and if our hotel served continental breakfast! Darrah and I were (and still are) in constant phone and email contact to iron out all of the details that go into producing a show. We eventually both signed a much more in-depth contract together, so that all the details we discussed on the phone and via email are put into one organized document.

3. SPREADING THE WORD: I was excited about the performance, Darrah was excited about the performance, so then it was time to get everyone else excited about the performance! Under the guidance of Katherine, our amazing Director of Marketing, we started spreading the news about Darrah’s performance. Our talented graphic designers printed beautiful posters, the super marketing intern Cora put up flyers all over the Berkshires, and Keifer down in the Box Office enthusiastically plugged the show to all incoming patrons. We also created advertised on many types of social media, contacted local professors of dance or Irish culture, reached out to Irish dance academies all over New England, and asked a few newspaper and radio stations to give us a shout-out. Getting butts in seats is important for obvious reasons (we want MASS MoCA to always have the funds to showcase inspiring performances in the future!), but it’s also important because Darrah and I want to share our passion for dance with as many friends as possible. 

4. BEHIND THE SCENES: I can’t even express how much  backstage work went into producing this performing arts show! First, there were a billion technical aspects that need to be prepared; luckily I had the hilarious duo of Eric and Eric, who keep the Production department running smoothly, to help me through it. Together we decided on a seating set-up, a one-of-a-kind stage plot, ad-hoc wing space, necessary lighting and sound equipment… the list goes on and on. With Meg (Company Manager and, more importantly, my MASS MoCA Mom), I arranged all the artist services components of the show. I booked hotel reservations, organized meal plans, and prepared the dressing rooms. I also organized ushers, planned house management, and wrote the program with the help of Court, who coordinates volunteers and coordinates front of house during performances.

CURTAIN CALL: And now, finally (finally!), the show is looming only a few days in the distance – soon, Darrah Carr Dance will be at MASS MoCA in the flesh (the shuffle-ball-changing, pirouetting, flying leaping dancing flesh)! I’ll have a busy day helping Darrah and her dancers with their arrival, community dance workshop, tech and dress rehearsals, and the evening performance, and I absolutely can’t wait. Curating my own show was a huge undertaking that opened my eyes to just how much effort and how many people it takes to produce a performance. I am so, so thankful for all the generous, cooperative, wacky-wise-wonderful friends who helped me pull this off. Darrah, Sue, Katherine, Keifer, Eric & Eric, Meg, Court, and everyone else who was involved: you guys are the bee’s knees.

Come see what we’ve all been working so hard on – Darrah Carr Dance at MASS MoCA on Saturday, January 21 (free workshop at 2:00 pm/ticketed performance at 8:00 pm)! Call the Box Office at 413.664.4481 for more information.

See you there! Love, Emily

 

Posted January 13, 2012 by MASS MoCA
Filed under Alternative Cabaret, BLOG, Dance, Darrah Carr Dance, Interns
Leave a comment »

Digg | Del.icio.us | Technorati | Blinklist | Furl | reddit

Maya Beiser’s All-Star Team

Maya Beiser, founding cellist of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, comes to MASS MoCA with a seriously impressive team for her psychological cello opera Elsewhere, being shown on Saturday, December 10 at 8pm.

Incorporating cello, vocals, spoken word, video, dance, and elaborate sets, she’ll be accompanied by choreographer Karole Armitage and four dancers, producer Beth Morrison, director Robert Woodruff, projection designer Peter Nigrini, and composer Eve Beglarian.

Here’s the All-Star Line-up for Elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted December 2, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under Alternative Cabaret, BLOG, Dance, Music
Leave a comment »

Digg | Del.icio.us | Technorati | Blinklist | Furl | reddit

Performance Artist John Kelly Talks about his Residency

Our managing director Sue Killam offers this background information for John Kelly’s video.  Stay tuned from more videos from John about the residency.

Performance and visual artist John Kelly is currently in residence at MASS MoCA.  He’s created over 30 pieces to date, and he is in the process of re-mounting his Bessie Award-winning work Find My Way Home.  Created in 1988 during the height of the AIDS epidemic, Find My Way Home deconstructs genres of opera, period dance, and cinematic acting, and includes scenes and arias from Gluck’s baroque opera Orfeo Ed Eurydice.

While we host a lot of artists-in-residence, what’s most interesting about this residency is that as John re-visits this work, reviving backdrops, props, character dummies, choreography, and movement from the original.  As he explained, the piece has been in storage for over 10 years and time has left its mark.  For example, only a third of the original painted backdrop (pictured above) was found so now it has to be pieced together from old photographs and reconstructed.  It’s become a group effort to bring the backdrop back to life, adding more layers of those who this piece has touched.   And as this resurrection commences, it’s natural to reflect on the original creators who have since passed.   Breathing new life into Find My Way Home is a mash-up of old and new, present and departed, original ideas and evolution.  Please join us on Saturday at 8pm and become a part of the story of this piece.

YouTube Preview Image

Posted October 13, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Dance, Music, Theater, Work-in-progress
Leave a comment »

Digg | Del.icio.us | Technorati | Blinklist | Furl | reddit

Spreading the Love on FREE DAY with Red Baraat!

On January 29, MASS MoCA was crawling with 2,639 patrons on FREE DAY!

After Free Day we had the Bhangra Funk Dance Party with Red Baraat. We talked to the band and they were beyond pleased with our energetic audience.

Thanks to everyone who made this possible!

Also! Don’t forget to check out the photo booth pictures of the day. They can be viewed at these links…

http://www.flickr.com/photos/23502344@N02/sets/72157625947695150/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/23502344@N02/sets/72157625822183177/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/23502344@N02/sets/72157625822097629/

Click on thumbnails to view the full-size image!

Thank you to the lovely, Danelle Cheney, for the photos!!

Posted January 31, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Dance, Free Day, Lickety Split, Parties, Red Baraat
Leave a comment »

Digg | Del.icio.us | Technorati | Blinklist | Furl | reddit

The art of The Escape Artist

Sundance

I’m a bit of a theater nerd, so needless to say I was thrilled when I found out we would be presenting a staged reading of John Kelly’s newest work The Escape Artist as part of the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab on Saturday, April 3. I’m mostly familiar with Kelly through his brilliant character work, and specifically as one of his most beloved characters Dagmar Onassis, the fictional love child of Aristotle Onassis and Maria Callas.

Kelly is a two time Bessie and Obie award winning performance and visual artist whose work began in New York’s East Village clubs in the early 1980’s; since that time he has created over 30 performance works which have been performed at venues across the country. Originally trained as a dancer with American Ballet Theatre and the Harkness House for Ballet Arts, he embraces all forms of art from theater, dance, visual art, drag, film, and music in his work.

Kelly has been on campus over the last week working on The Escape Artist, which will eventually include a collision of music, video and story. The premise revolves around a singer hired to lay down the tracks for cinematic re-enactments of the paintings of Caravaggio. The singer channels the characters that populate the paintings, encounters unexpected technical difficulties, and reveals a turbulent personal history of his own. The Escape Artist considers the parallels between the unbridled creative spirit of the urban artist of the 17th and 21st centuries.

Before coming to MASS MoCA Kelly spent time in Rome recording video and shoot photographs of the characters he takes on in The Escape Artist.

Sundance 2

Sundance 3

Sundance 7

Sundance 5

At MASS MoCA Kelly shot this video promo for The Escape Artist in the bridge leading up to the LeWitt Retrospective. (click on the image to view)

YouTube Preview Image

True to Kelly’s style he is compiling all sorts of artistic creations to form a truly multi-media experience for the audiences of The Escape Artist.  Although the showing at MASS MoCA is only a staged reading and will not include all of the final pieces of the show, from one theater nerd to another, this performance is going to be a night at the theater you don’t want to miss!

Cheers,

Brittany

Posted April 1, 2010 by Brittany Bishop
Filed under BLOG, Dance, Theater, Work-in-progress
Leave a comment »

Digg | Del.icio.us | Technorati | Blinklist | Furl | reddit

The costume makes the man

steve090427_560

Check out this awesome article by New York Magazine describing  the collarboration between costume maven Cindy Sherman and choreographer Stephen Petronio, who’s weather themed piece I Drink The Air Before Me will be at MASS MoCA April 9 & 10. I’ve copied the first part of the aritcle below…

I’m done with the image of how I used to dance,” says choreographer Stephen Petronio. “And I’m not opposed to lapsing into complete caricature at points. After 25 years performing in theaters, I’m kind of tired of that wall.” Hence Petronio’s I Drink the Air Before Me, a new evening-length piece for his company (and his first major appearance onstage in five years), with score by Nico Muhly. For his own rather eccentric character, Petronio turned to artist Cindy Sherman, mistress of disguise. “Part of the reason I love using visual art with movement is that what I do disappears,” says Petronio, who will set the mood for the piece, acting as a sort of ringleader. Will he dance? “Who knows what’s going to happen,” he says mysteriously. Petronio and Sherman did, however, explain the evolution of his unique costume.
Read the rest of the article here.
Cheers,
Brittany

Posted March 24, 2010 by Brittany Bishop
Filed under BLOG, Dance
Leave a comment »

Digg | Del.icio.us | Technorati | Blinklist | Furl | reddit


   
 
MASS MoCA