Residual Sneak Peek: Choreographer Andy Noble

Our season finale is only a few weeks away.

And you won’t want to miss it.

June 3-4, 7:30pm at the BU Tsai Performance Center

Tickets and information

Urbanity-ICA-150

Photo Box D as performed by Urbanity at the ICA, 2015. PC: Emily O’Brien.

“Urbanity is establishing itself as a leader in the Boston dance community and beyond. I am so excited to be working with them for my second time.”
                     -Noble on his residency with Urbanity

Urbanity Dance returns to the stage for Residual, its culminating performance of the 2015-2016 season. The show is aptly named, presenting a collection of pieces that address the topic of aftermath.

“We want to explore what’s left, physically and emotionally, in the wake of tragedy and hardship. How do our bodies tell that story, in terms of what we can and can’t see?” says Betsi Graves.

Residual features both new works and returning repertoire, including “Flash Burn”, choreographed Andy Noble of NobleMotion Dance in Houston. Click here for a preview.

Urbanity Dance is thrilled to be collaborating again with Andy Noble. He set audience favorite Photo Box D (pictured above) which was featured last season, both at our ICA performance and the Spring Revue. Andy is co-artistic director of NobleMotion Dance and Associate Chair of Dance at Sam Houston State University. This will be the New England premiere of his critically acclaimed piece, Flash Burn.

Andy’s performing career includes six years with Repertory Dance Theatre (RDT), where he performed in over forty choreographic works by such noted masters as Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham and Jose Limon. His company, NobleMotion Dance, was recently awarded Houston’s Best Dance Company by the Houston Press. Additionally, his choreography has been selected twice for the National Dance Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Andy was named one of Houston’s 100 Creatives by Houston Press.

Get tickets to Residual

 

Residual Sneak Peek: Choreographer Andy Noble

Urbanity-ICA-150

Urbanity performing Photo Box D at the ICA                                        PC: Emily O’Brien

Urbanity Dance returns to the stage for Residual, its culminating performance of the 2015-2016 season. The show is aptly named, presenting a collection of pieces that address the topic of aftermath.

“We want to explore what’s left, physically and emotionally, in the wake of tragedy and hardship. How do our bodies tell that story, in terms of what we can and can’t see?” says Betsi Graves.

Residual features both new works and returning repertoire, including “Flash Burn”, choreographed Andy Noble of NobleMotion Dance in Houston. You can read more about Andy below.

Choreographer Profile: Andy Noble

“Urbanity is establishing itself as a leader in the Boston dance community and beyond. I am so excited to be working with them for my second time.”
-Noble on his residency with Urbanity

Urbanity Dance is thrilled to be collaborating again with Andy Noble. He set audience favorite Photo Box D (pictured above) which was featured last season, both at our ICA performance and the Spring Revue. Andy is co-artistic director of NobleMotion Dance and Associate Chair of Dance at Sam Houston State University. This will be the New England premiere of his critically acclaimed piece, Flash Burn. Get a sneak peek here.

Andy’s performing career includes six years with Repertory Dance Theatre (RDT), where he performed in over forty choreographic works by such noted masters as Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham and Jose Limon. His company, NobleMotion Dance, was recently awarded Houston’s Best Dance Company by the Houston Press. Additionally, his choreography has been selected twice for the National Dance Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Andy was named one of Houston’s 100 Creatives by Houston Press.

 

Urbanity Dance presents: Residual

Urbanity Dance presents

Residual

June 3-4, 7:30pm, Boston University Tsai Performance Center

*By Erica Furgiuele

BOSTON, MA – Urbanity Dance, presents its annual spring revue on June 3-4, 7:30pm at Boston University’s Tsai Performance Center, 685 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston. Tickets are $30 general admission. Student tickets are $20. For tickets and information call Urbanity at (617) 572-3727 or buy online at www.urbanitydance.org/current-performances.

Voted Best of Boston 2015 and hailed as “a thrilling, whimsical, acrobatic beast” by Boston Magazine, Urbanity Dance returns to the stage for Residual, its culminating performance of the 2015-2016 season. The show is aptly named, presenting a collection of pieces that address the topic of aftermath. “We want to explore what’s left, physically and emotionally, in the wake of tragedy and hardship. How do our bodies tell that story, in terms of what we can and can’t see?” says Urbanity founder/director Betsi Graves.

Residual features both new works and returning repertoire, including a new piece by beloved Boston artist Marcus Schulkind, “Flashburn” by Andy Noble of NobleMotion Dance in Houston, and “HIT” by Carl Flink, founder and artistic director of the Minneapolis-based dance company Black Label Movement. Urbanity is excited to bring the work of these immensely talented and accomplished artists to the Boston stage.

Andy Noble is the co-artistic director/founder of NobleMotion Dance with his wife, Dionne. Andy’s performing career includes six years with Repertory Dance Theatre, where he performed in over forty choreographic works by such noted masters as Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham and Jose Limon. His piece “Flashburn” draws inspiration from images of concentration camps and Hiroshima after the atomic bomb. An original light installation by David J Deveau creates a haunting and stark world where the dancers respond to moments of chaos. It is beautifully disfigured as images of technology are juxtaposed by the eloquence of nature and snow falling.

Carl Flink is the Artistic Director of the Twin Cities-based Black Label Movement, as well as a former Limon company dancer. His dancemaking is recognized for its intense athleticism, daring risk-taking, and humanistic themes. Institutions that have presented/commissioned his choreography include the Bates Dance Festival, TED, TEDx Brussels, Theater Latte Da (Mpls, MN), the Chicago Humanities Festival, The Minnesota Orchestra, Company C Contemporary Ballet (San Francisco, CA) and Same Planet Different World (Chicago, IL). HIT translates cell dynamics into human movement–it was originally a collaboration between The Moving Cell Project at the University of Minnesota and Flink’s Black Label Movement company. Says Flink, “HIT challenges many assumptions of traditional concert dance, introducing athletic, physical impact as a source of vocabulary to explore dysfunction inside a tight-knit social group. It’s a grueling and visceral thrill-ride!”

Marcus Schulkind is a longtime collaborator with and friend of Urbanity. He has performed in the companies of Lar Lubovitch, Kathy Posin, Martha Graham, Pearl Lang, Norman Walker and Batsheva Dance Company of Israel. The Boston Globe described him as “a modern dance classicist whose choreography is terse, true, and beautifully crafted.”

Company dancer Alexander Davis will be presenting his new piece, “You Own Everything (Everything is Yours)” which premiered at Urbanity NEXT this past February. This modern dance derives imagery from Stonewall,Paris is Burning, Shakespeare, and the Bible to tell the story of a gay community left to negotiate a collective past in the midst of an individualized present.

Chantal Doucett’s piece, “The Escape”, reaches out to all audience members with its wide spectrum of musical choices ranging from Frank Sinatra to the famous DJ Diplo. The audience should be prepared for waves, raves, and vacation days as two dancers are taken on a whirlwind of adventures.

The evening performance will be coupled with afternoon showcases of the Urbanity Dance School, consisting of over 200 students ages three to adult. Urbanity prides itself on its extensive network of partnerships and education programs in the community, always working to forward its mission of inspiring, engaging and empowering people through the art of dance and movement.

“I believe these artists accurately capture and celebrate the Urbanity aesthetic,” says Graves. “Urbanity Dance is always pushing the creative envelope, which is exciting for our dancers and our audience. I think it’s going to be a memorable evening.”

Founded in 2008 by director Betsi Graves, Urbanity Dance offers audiences a challenging, entertaining, and visionary experience. The Company’s hyper-athletic aesthetic aims to bridge the gap between concert and commercial dance. Known for its effortless curves and use of breath, Urbanity places a strong emphasis on the foundations of modern, jazz, and ballet, while also utilizing the highly detailed gesture work and hard-hitting articulation usually associated with hip-hop. Urbanity has presented at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, The Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater, The Institute of Contemporary Art, and venues across New England, New York, Virginia, Texas and Florida.

Buy tickets to Residual.

View more Urbanity press.

angel jump colorart form 1 colorJamie backPC: Celso Enrique 

Residual Sneak Peek: Choreographer Carl Flink

Residual is June 3-4, 7:30pm at the BU Tsai Performance Center.
Tickets and information.

Urbanity Dance returns to the stage for Residual, its culminating performance of the 2015-2016 season. The show is aptly named, presenting a collection of pieces that address the topic of aftermath.

“We want to explore what’s left, physically and emotionally, in the wake of tragedy and hardship. How do our bodies tell that story, in terms of what we can and can’t see?” says Betsi Graves.

Residual features both new works and returning repertoire, including “HIT” choreographed by Carl Flink.

HIT still

Black Label Movement performing HIT. PC: Bill Cameron 

Carl Flink is a professor of Dance at the University of Minnesota and founder of the Black Label Movement. He is setting his piece HIT on our professional company for Residual. HIT came out of a collaboration between Flink and a colleague at the University of Minnesota called The Moving Cell Project, in which Flink’s company mimicked the movement of molecules based on the same algorithms that dictate cell dynamics. Click here to learn more about the project.

Flink’s choreography is recognized and embraced for its intense athleticism, daring risk taking and humanistic themes that often address diverse social, scientific, political and working class subjects in addition to more abstract dance approaches. Dance programs and arts institutions across the United States have presented or commissioned his choreography including the Bates Dance Festival, Minnesota Orchestra, University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, Stanford University, University of Iowa, Mount Holyoke College, Brigham Young University, Carleton College and Roger Williams University.
“The Urbanity dancers are so open, thoughtful and hungry for challenges like the intense physicality of HIT. They made our job easy!”

-Flink on his residency with Urbanity

 

Waves, Raves, and Vacation Days: A brief conversation with Chantal Doucett

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Chantal on vacation in the Caribbean.
*By Erica Furgiuele
The first in our series of choreographer profiles leading up to Residual. I was able to have a quick chat with Chantal about her new work and some of her quirks.
What’s the inspiration for your piece?
It stems from my recent vacation I took on a cruise to the Caribbean.  Knowing I had such a large cast I knew I would have to draw from something that could allow for multiple sections, and this was the perfect marriage of inspiration and practicality.
Favorite pastime that’s not dancing? 
Running.
Favorite spot to dance? 
I haven’t danced in about 2 years now.  I strictly teach and choreograph full time.
What’s the one thing that gets you through hell week of a show? 
Lots of rest and lots of coffee.
Buy Residual tickets here and stay tuned for more info!

From Croutons to Contretemps: An Interview with Ayako Takahashi

Ayako's Head shot

*By Erica Furgiuele

Ayako Takahashi is one of Urbanity’s newest company dancers. She’s rejoining the company after taking time off to dance in Israel. Ayako started dancing when she was 23, and her hard work has led her to Boston and to Urbanity. 

Me: How did you know you needed to dance?

AT: I grew up watching a lot of videos of dancers. I always wanted to be one, but my environment wasn’t conducive to it. I went all over Japan and looked for a studio that would take me. But no one would, because I was too old to have never taken lessons. Eventually I found Peridance in New York, and they gave me a scholarship. The audition went horribly, but I was too excited to notice. The teacher would call out “Contretemps!” and I had no idea what she meant. I thought she was saying “crouton” so I danced like a crouton. I had to put my foot on a chair because I couldn’t put my foot on the barre. The next day, the teacher told me I should just give up. I asked her to give me six months and if she didn’t see me improve, she could take me out of the program. In those six months, I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I was dong tendus on the subway while reading my ballet terminology dictionary. I was incredibly focused. In the end, they didn’t let me into the performance corps, but they let me stay in the program.

Me: So you went from no formal training to working with a premiere contemporary dance company? That’s an incredible journey.

AT: When I first started dancing, I was so happy to be doing it I didn’t even know it should be hard. Now I struggle more, because I know what I’m doing wrong. A few years into my training, I started teaching adult beginner class and saw people who reminded me of how I used to be. They didn’t know any terminology–they were just busy having fun, and I realized how much I had lost that sense of joy since focusing on my technique alone. Dance is how we live, how we are. If your motivation isn’t in the right place, you will never move anyone with your art. It’s impossible to pretend. If you’re only in it for success and fame, then you look so ugly onstage.

Me: You’re licensed in Dance Movement Therapy. What is it like?

AT: When you talk about dance, people say, “Oh, I can’t dance.” But everyone dances when they communicate—body language is a form of dance. People say dance is a language with no barriers. The main thing that I love about dance is connecting people through movement. You would think that people just dance and feel better. But it’s about finding where they hold their tension and helping them release it, using my body language and movements to show them the way.

Me: How did you find Urbanity?

AT: I found Urbanity when I moved to Boston to pursue my degree in dance therapy. I still remember the audition where I met Betsi. I was so nervous. She put me in Underground to start off. Betsi and Urbanity changed my life.  I used to be embarrassed of the fact that I started dancing so late before, but now I’m proud that I started dancing when I was 23, because it’s inspiring to others.

Me: How did you find your choreographic style?

AT: Betsi was the one who said to me, “I think you should choreograph.” I had no idea where to start, but she had faith in me and kept pushing me to try it. It came more naturally to me than I thought. I think it’s because I view dance through a therapeutic lens. As humans, we put on different masks when we’re with different people; the way we move is part of who we are. When choreographing, I was inspired by the dancers’ personalities and how it informed their interactions. That was my jumping-off point. A lot of people say “Oh, [that style] is so you!” but I don’t think my way of choreographing is that unique. Being a choreographer allows me to travel to other countries, and so I get to see many different styles of dance. In Iceland, I saw a piece where they poked cow tongues for 13 minutes, then cut them up and served it to the audience at the end. It was confusing but really fascinating.

Me: Why did you take time off to go to Israel?

AT: I wanted a different experience, a real challenge. I wanted to feel like I was at the bottom of the heap. And that helped me grow a lot. In Israel, the focus of the movement is different: they tell you to imagine your bones and how they’re working to support you. In the U.S., it’s much more about the articulation of muscles and your physical strength.

Me: What is the Japanese dance scene like?

AT: There are a lot of ballet companies and commercial dance. People ask me when I’m going to dance in a music video with Madonna. Buto, or contemporary Japanese dance, is actually more popular in Europe. Japanese ballet is derivative of the Russian ballet school-you have to start when you’re three or no dice. The educational system is much stricter in Japan and you’re told what to do. I want to bring what I have experienced here in the U.S. to Japan—the concept that everyone can dance, and that dance is more than just ballet. To me, dance is like writing a love letter to the world.