Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This just in

My 10-minute short HER CHILDREN MOURN will be screening Saturday November 8 at the Williamstown Film Festival, which is not a dance film festival. It's in my home town where Helen Renzi - to whom CHILDREN is dedicated - was much beloved.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Be Here Now

Ladies & Gentlemen, my plate is full of delicious projects: past, present, ongoing and yet to come.  My intention is to report monthly, but when I miss a month I'm torn between giving updates and moving toward the future.  

There's ROXIE, an 8-minute documentary I completed in 5 days at Experimental Film Virginia in the middle of August, Trailer here.

There've been various film screenings and a few awards - Outstanding Editing for Her Children Mourn and Best Short for A Thousand Miles.  And 890 Broadway screens at Outlet Dance Project next month.
Then in mid-September at Slippery Rock University, I choreographed and directed something for 11 dancers wearing costumes by Liz Prince, in a stunning location, shot by my wonderful host, Jennifer Keller.  

Now I'm back in Nyack, editing that Pennsylvania project (see below) and shooting a new one.  I told you about the CSA grant I got from Rivertown Artists Workshop to work with Latina mothers & daughters in Tarrytown. We've had one movement session and the results are already delightful - tender, rollicking, unselfconscious.  Right now it looks like the final product will drift away from typical videodance toward docu-dance, documentary...

And by the way, you can catch my general drift for the next several months if you attend a program called "hors d'oeuvres" - videodances screened in the lobby of the 92nd Street Y before their Fridays@Noon series. All Renzi all the time.
Editing begins on the latest: Fair, Clear & Terrible shot in Slippery Rock, PA in early September.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Can't keep up

The big news is the Book of Breath mini-tour, which included a glorious evening on the Inside/Out stage at Jacob's Pillow.

Being back at the Pillow was a treat for me, returning to a series I had helped inaugurate 30 years ago, presenting work to a large and lively audience, enjoying a prodigal's welcome.  It was also a reminder that I do love making and sharing work in a live situation, especially outdoors. Eight dancers and a big ole table - and presto, modern dance comes alive! The 8 Manhattanville students got to stroll through history, adding their signatures to the wooden walls of the Inside/Out dressing room, gracing the stage for an audience of over six hundred. 

We’d preceded this triumph with 3 days of rehearsal at Marta Miller’s beautiful outpost in Stamford, Vermont – and followed it with 2 performances in a Quaker meeting house in Newport, Rhode Island as part of the Great Friends Festival. And it was, and I do have!

Her Children Mourn just screened in Roca, Spain, just north of Portugal - and will also screen as part of Autumn Shorts in Somerset, Kentucky at the end of September. The (electronic) mail continues to bring unexpected boons that brighten my day. Recently, I heard that both 890 Broadway and Wildwood were accepted into a festival in Brussels called L'art difficult de filmer la danse.  Last year the same festival selected Her Children Mourn. I guess our definition of dance – or difficult – must agree.   

Upcoming, from August 10th to 16th, I return to Harbor for the Arts Festival in Cape Charles, Virginia to cast, choreograph shoot and edit a short film. The cast will be untrained locals, the subject to be determined. Am I full of trepidation? Yes. Will there be enough time?  Never. Then in September I'll be heading to Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania to work with Jennifer Keller, a faculty member, to make a video dance with students there.  We've allotted a bit more time, and Jennifer will shoot, but there’s the same trepidation.  How much should I (can I?) plan in advance? Which music? Who are the dancers?  What’s the story?

But the recent blossoming of The Book of Breath encourages me that I’ve made these leaps of faith before. Its seed was planted almost a year ago at our first rehearsal - outdoors on a lawn, with my car radio for playback, eager if not experienced performers, and no idea what was coming. The students were ready to work as an ensemble and absorbed the movement quickly; the music immediately defined "character;" the location upended academic expectations and inspired; shape and form emerged; and we ended up at Jacob’s Pillow!

I have to trust something similar will happen again. And I’ll report back here on the results. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Proud, honored and anticipating

Proud ...
to be a recipient of a CSA commission from Rivertown Artists Workshop (RAW) to create a new dance work.  These individual commissions are made possible with support from shareholders in RAW's Community Supported Art project, partially supported by an Arts Alive Project Grant from Arts Westchester.

I propose to work once a week over the course of several months with Spanish-speaking girls and their mothers in the Tarrytown community on a dance film. My first encounter with a select posse of middle school girls is scheduled for a summer afternoon at a local ice-cream shop - talk about a power lunch!

Honored ...

to trumpet the ever-expanding list of film festivals that have not only screened, but awarded HER CHILDREN MOURN:

SENE Film, Music & Arts Festival - Best Score
Athens Internat'l Film Festival - 2nd Prize, Experimental Category 

and upcoming screenings:

July 12 
July 26 
August 1-17
Columbia Gorge International Film Festival (Oregon)

Anticipating ...

a summer with plenty to keep me busy.  Join me!

Sunday July 13 @ @ 2:00

Dance Film Sunday in Rosendale, New York
an all-Renzi program featuring 3 narrative dance films
Thursday July 24th @ 6:15
Jacob's Pillow Inside Out stage
Book of Breath & The Great World Spins
Friday & Saturday, July 25 & 26
Great Friends Dance Festival
The Book of Breath

Also anticipating ... 

a premiere screening of THE CIRCUS ACCORDING TO CECIL, as yet unscheduled. I've gotten glowing advance praise from some tough critics. 

          I love/loved every frame.  As an old documentary person —so rare to tell a story 
          so packed with information and still be relaxed and very very much fun to watch—it    
          will have a long life, there's nothing like it...
                                                                                           Suzanne Weil
                                                                                           former VP of PBS programming 
It was absolutely fantastic.  It was beautiful, it was fascinating, it was a wonderful work of art in itself that showed such insight into the artists it portrayed, including "Cecil," its central figure.  When MR photographed the performers, she never lingered too long on any one thing, and yet each fragment seemed to capture some delicate, subtle little move or gesture, and somehow the personalities came through as well, and so did the whole vast group of people all connected to one another. Along the way, it showed that circus and symphony orchestra are a wonderful combination.      
                                                                                                      Wallace Shawn
                                                                                                       playwright & actor

You've been listening to the music of the 30-second trailer. If you know of a venue who'd like to preview or screen it, I'll send a link to the full opus.