KEIGWIN + COMPANY‘s 10th Anniversary Season continued last month as we found ourselves in warmer weather, (yes, again!) when we embarked on a three-week residency in Santa Barbara provided by the incomparable DANCEworks. The uniqueness of DANCEworks is that they do not just provide space for us to create, but the space given to us is a theater. Creating in a theater is an absolute gift; you have the rare opportunity to craft your work in a space and utilize every tool the theater has to offer. The Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara is where the magic happens. K+C, having been in residence there in 2010, was fully aware of this priceless opportunity given to us and jumped right into work. Thanks to the Lobero, DANCEworks, a few rain curtains, and Larry’s guidance, magic happened.
Girls, a trio danced by K+C’s stunning female dancers, Ashley Browne, Emily Schoen, and Jaclyn Walsh, was the first piece Larry created while in Santa Barbara. Although, Girls can easily be considered the counterpart to the male quartet, Contact Sport, which Larry choreographed a year ago, Girls stands alone with its own uniqueness and inventiveness. Using four different colored rain curtains that serve as both a backdrop and prop, the girls weave in and out of them, play witty revealing tricks with the audience, and burst through the curtains leaving a shimmering impression on the stage.
Set to timeless Frank Sinatra music, the vibe of the piece is demur yet dignified, classy, and feminine. Choreographically, each of the girls shine in solo moments, which showcases the individuality of each dancer. That flavor is combined with intricate and challenging unison sections that radiates joyous energy. It’s imperative to note that Girls could not have been created without DANCEworks. Having access to the theater and being able to choreograph with the curtains every day was a pure artistic gift.
In the evenings, when the girls and Larry weren’t creating with curtains, they were dancing with members of the Santa Barbara community. After the smash hit of Bolero Santa Barbara during K+C’s previous residency, Larry was inspired to make a (first of its kind) music video staring the Santa Barbara community. After a week of rehearsals, Larry, Ashley, Emily, Jaclyn, and their cast hit Santa Barbara hot spots like the County Courthouse, Dolphin Fountain, and the Lobero Theatre to shoot their music video. The video opened our show and was naturally titled, Showtime!
Matt, Aaron, Gary and myself were so pumped to fly out to join our female colleagues and see what they had been up to. After seeing Girls, we laughed, screamed with pride, and were more excited and inspired than ever to begin creating alongside them; the result being something unexpected and oh, so rewarding. We began our week with a playful dance phrase and ended it with a brand new creation, titled Seven. Set to “No Opera” by Manyfingers, Seven adds a new texture to our repertoire. The movement has unexpected breakouts of dynamic partnering, and a theme of community. Never leaving the stage, we join each other in unison dance phrases, weaving in and out of each other, not unlike a game of human Tetris. The piece is luscious, cyclical, and fulfilling.
Diane Vapnek and Larry Keigwin have been friends for over 15 years
The beginning of our final week on the west coast began with a company barbeque to welcome the remainder of the K+C crew arriving for the residency. We were ecstatic to reunite again! After many laughs and lots of catching up, we got busy next morning, putting our program on its feet, which turned out to be one of the biggest in K+C history. We performed our largest works, 12 Chairs, Runaway, and Megalopolis, our Santa Barbara creations, Girls and Seven, as well as Contact Sport, which has been re-titled, Boys. The house was filled with fervent and cheering audiences of new friends and returning fans.
We are indebted to give an enormous THANK YOU to Dianne Vapnek for her continued support and love of KEIGWIN + COMPANY, and for providing us with this one of a kind opportunity, yet again. We would also like to show our gratitude to all of our friends who hosted and welcomed us into their homes for various events so graciously throughout our stay.
Even though we have been avoiding the winter weather past few months, we are looking forward to sending some time at home in NYC! We are rehearsing and gearing up for shows this month in Queens, NY and creating a new Bolero at UNC Greensboro in North Carolina. And, stay tuned for more 10th Anniversary news and events as the year continues. We. Can’t. Wait!
Tours, Repertoire, Anniversaries… oh my! 2013 is off to an exhilarating start for KEIGWIN + COMPANY, and is gearing up to be one for the record books. We began the year as most dance companies do, getting ready for the annual APAP conference in New York City. APAP always feels like a happy dance reunion, and it was so exciting to share the stage and re-connect with some of the finest dancers and companies around. K+C presented the dazzling Twelve Chairsand Trio at Dance Gotham at the Skirball Center for Performing Arts and New York City Center’s studios.
Immediately after APAP, K+C embarked on a ridiculously awesome 10-day tour to Hawaii. We could not have been more excited to leave the cold winter weather behind and soak up some tropical sun. After our 14-hour travel day, we finally landed in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on the island of Maui. We were excited to get leid in the dark of the night when we arrived at our hotel, but the anticipation was killing us to be able to see Hawaii in the daylight! We awoke the next morning a bit jet-lagged, but eager to enjoy a day off playing on water slides and eating fresh papaya on an island that was nothing short of paradise.
Having the opportunity to travel the world and dance is one the biggest gifts we are bestowed with. We definitely do not take these amazing opportunities for granted, so we took advantage of everything Hawaii had to offer. We soaked up the sun, tasted the local flavors, snorkeled, paddle boarded, and successfully surfed. (Even though there some wicked awesome local children were showing us up).
K+C in Hawaii
Don’t get me wrong! Our island hopping adventures was not just all play and no work. When it came time to be in the theater, we were enthusiastic and focused. Larry had told us that this was the first time K+C has ever performed the same program consecutively on a single tour, and we were ready to rock the house. We performed a program of K+C classics,Caffeinated,Love Songs, Contact Sport, and Triptych.
We collectively traveled on seven airplanes, rented eight cars, stayed in twenty-one hotel rooms, taught three master classes to local dancers of all ages (lead by Larry and Gary), AND performed to sold out and enthusiastic crowds on three Hawaiian Islands. After our first show in Maui, we were greeting at the stage door by dozens of fans eagerly waiting for us to take photos with them and sign autographs. It was in that moment that we realized our presence in Hawaii was such a special success. It was a privilege to have had the opportunity to share our work and connect with new fans and friends so far away from home.
Larry teaching class in Hawaii.
Our time in Hawaii was an experience we will never forget, personally and professionally. It had many highs and I would say, only one low…. When we left Ashley’s suitcase at the airport, oops! SORRY ASH.
Believe it or not, K+C wasn’t just taking over Hawaii this month. In addition to our APAP performances and tour of the islands, KEIGWIN + COMPANY’s repertory was being set across the country. Runaway was being staged simultaneously at Elon University by Kit McDaniel as well as at Lindenwood University by Kile Hotchkiss. Aaron Carr was setting Air at Fieldston School in the Bronx, and I am currently setting Caffeinated at Southeast Missouri State University.
Kile Hotchkiss with the Cast of Runaway at Lindenwood University
Kit McDaniel with the Cast of Runaway at Elon University
January has set the pace for a busy and exciting year for the company. In addition to an anticipated season of creating, performing, and touring…
KEIGWIN + COMPANY is celebrating it’s 10th ANNIVERSARY!
Stay tuned and follow along for updates on upcoming celebrations, and special events to help us celebrate the past, present, and future of K+C.
For three weeks, Larry, Ashley Browne, and Gary Schaufeld led more than 60 eager local participants through the magic of creating Bolero Chicago. They immersed themselves into the Chicago culture by going to White Sox games, taking a boat tour on the Chicago river, and teaching master classes to dancers at local studios. But ultimately, their inspiration came from the participants and their stories. ”Bolero captures one very distinct facet of the Festival: to invest in the future of dance by growing audiences. In the case of Bolero, this happens through participation,” Elysabeth Alfano wrote in The Huffington Post. Bolero highlighted the city’s infamous Loop transit system, the Chicago Bulls, and the hustle and bustle of this Midwestern metropolis.
From the inside, the sense of community created through the development of Bolero is just as rich as the performance itself. I was both excited and moved when reading this quote from an interview with participant Helen Hudson in the Chicago Tribune, ”I love to dance, and, for anyone who does, this is a dream come true.” Check out the full article in the Chicago Tribune which includes a video of Larry in action during a rehearsal for Bolero.
Bolero Chicago. Photo: Cheryl Mann
Donned in red, white, and blue, the dancers of Bolero Chicago anchored the Chicago Dancing Festival performing in the opening celebration at the Harris Theatre as well as the closing night of the festival, under the stars, at the gorgeous Pritzker Pavillion in Millennium Park. Bolero celebrated the culture of Chicago, and shared the joy of dance with audiences both young and old.
KEIGWIN + COMPANY finished up our exciting performance-filled summer this past weekend at Bates Dance Festival. After a quick flight and a scenic drive through Maine, K+C dancers reunited with Larry Keigwin,Nicole Wolcott, and Emily Schoen, who were already up at Bates, teaching and creating work with students at the festival. K+C has a long history with Bates. Larry and Nicole met while they were both students there, Larry is a former emerging choreographer at the festival, and this marks the second time K+C has been invited to perform at the festival. We were honored that our final show on Saturday was a Gala Performance to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Bates Dance Festival. K+C presented a dynamic and physical program which included Trio, Triptych, Contact Sport, and Natural Selection.
Schaeffer Theatre at Bates Dance Festival
Throughout the week we rehearsed, presented an educational (and entertaining) lecture/demonstration, and took advantage of the amazing classes taught by the Bates Dance faculty. Our first day at Bates, all of K+C took Larry and Emily’s class. It was so physical and encouraging! Their positive energy was contagious. After jamming with their students, we then split up and explored the remainder of classes the diverse faculty had to offer. Inspiration and investigation was flowing freely with with so many teachers and students from around the world. We danced a ton!
Jackie warming up for Larry and Emily’s class.
Between classes and rehearsals we worked hard, but we played hard as well. We took a trip to the beach, played a ton of games, and watched a ridiculous amount of Olympic gymnastics. (Congrats Gabby!)
K+C cups backstage.
Ashley and Emily at the beach.
K+C also had a lot to celebrate. First of all, baby Laurel, Nicole’s daughter, got her first tooth and stood on her own for the first time! Laurel has become K+C’s biggest cheerleader, she watches us dance with bright eyes, and now claps right on cue when we are finished. We also celebrated Aaron Carr’s 25th birthday while we were at Bates! We had many birthday festivities including a great meal, an outdoor Tie-Dye party, and our evening ended by taking turns hitting a Unicorn pinata in our front yard.
Tie Dye Party!
Our week up at Bates definitely ended our busy summer on a high note. We were in the company of incredible dancers and choreographers, had a set of great performances, and got to live in a house all together. After the gala performance, K+C parted ways. Larry, Nicole, and Emily were left in an empty (and quiet) house, where they are staying to teach one more week at Bates and Gary and Ashley flew straight to Chicago to start the creation of Bolero Chicago!
Gary getting ready for the pinata!
K+C has had an amazing summer. We look forward to the premiere of Bolero Chicago during the Chicago Dancing Festival on August 20th & 25th, as well as our residency on Governors Island this fall. Exciting things ahead!
Last weekend, KEIGWIN + COMPANY rocked it out on the Jersey Shore. We were performing at the beautiful Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ. K+C presented an action-packed evening of dance with works including Caffeinated, Love Songs, Triptych, and Contact Sport. Closing out the program was the premiere of Bolero Red Bank!
60 members of the Red Bank, New Jersey community (and a few pets) came together with Larry Keigwin and dancers, Gary Schaufeld and Jackie Walsh, every day for two weeks to create Bolero Red Bank. We sunbathed, danced with towels, and tossed beach balls to create the ultimate Bolero beach party.
Bolero is first and foremost about the community. Each Bolero is created to reflect everyone in the piece, and where they call home. The enthusiasm and buzz around Red Bank leading up to Bolero was both inspiring and electrifying.
Bolero props backstage.
After the final dress rehearsal, we celebrated with a pizza party! While chatting with our youngest cast members (ages 5-13), I realized there are two ingredients that make Bolero magical for people of all ages–being on stage and making new friends. Our youngest dancers told me that they were super pumped to share the stage with their new Facebook friends!
Our adventurous month began here in New York City where we performed seven shows at the Joyce Theater for full and enthusiastic audiences. Performing in New York is always such a thrill for us; we feed off of the energy from our hometown audience that is filled with friends, fans, and family. We also enjoyed engaging new fans and first-timers to a K+C show… some of which were spotted doing Megalopolis walks down 8th Avenue!
The eagerly anticipated K+C world premieres, Twelve Chairs and Contact Sport, were met with celebrated reviews and responses. We rounded out the program with the beautifully cyclical Trio, and audience favorite, Megalopolis.
It was a quick turnaround after our closing night at the Joyce. We went home, packed our bags, and reunited the next morning to travel to North Carolina for American Dance Festival. We enjoyed six sunny, summer days at ADF.
Nicole and Laurel at the pool.
We unwound at the pool, took amazing classes, and made friends with dancers from Scottish Dance Theatre, who invited us to watch their rehearsal.
At ADF, we presented all four works from the Joyce program, as well as Natural Selection, which was commissioned by and premiered at ADF in 2004. Natural Selection is physical, raw, and hasn’t been performed since 2009. It was so fun remounting Natural Selection and watching it grow on the company.
After ADF, we headed off to our eagerly anticipated residency at Green Box Arts Festival in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado. K+C was pumped for outdoor rehearsals, nature, and family style dinners. Unfortunately, our residency was cut short because of the Waldo Canyon Wildfire that ignited during our second day there.
Waldo Canyon Fire
Unpredictably, we were forced to evacuate, so K+C retreated to Vail to escape the danger. Although the K+C Colorado residency didn’t go exactly as we had planned, our spontaneous trip to Vail was an unbelievable adventure that was shared and cherished by dear friends. We were treated with wonderful care, enjoyed the scenery of the Rockies, went to the Vail International Music Festival, AND still had rehearsal!
K+C on Vail Mountain.
We thank everyone in Green Mountain Falls and Vail for the hospitality and care provided for us. Devastatingly, many homes and lives have been lost in the Colorado wildfires and our sincere condolences go out to everyone affected.
K+C is grateful to be back home in NYC, safe and sound. We are back in rehearsals gearing up for our performances next week in Red Bank, New Jersey. Looking for a quick getaway from the city? Next Friday, July 19th and Saturday, July 20th we will be performing K+C favorites as well the world premiere of Bolero Red Bank more than 50 community members. Come join us! For ticket and program info, click here.
We had so much fun performing and making new friends on the company’s first ever tour to Minneapolis. K+C was thrilled and honored to be the first out of town company to perform in the gorgeous and brand new, Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts. We danced an eclectic mix of K+C repertory, as well previewed 12 Chairs for a new audience. As the curtain went up, revealing our newest creation for the first time, we were collectively nervous, eager, and buzzing with anticipation. We were given a wondrous and gratifying response.
Newspaper in Minneapolis
Prior to our trip to Minneapolis, K+C held our first ever summer intensive, Let’s Make A Dance. We spent an intense and inspiring week at the Juilliard School with students from all across the country. We began each day with a group warm up, followed by repertoire and partnering classes led by K+C dancers. The students were then introduced to Larry Keigwin’s creative games.
Led by Larry and Nicole, the students began collaborating and generating pools of material and phrase work, just as he does with the company. The week concluded in a studio showing featuring the two dances Larry choreographed on the students using everything they had created together.
It was so exciting to see the growth and progress made by the students in just one short week. The energy during Let’s Make A Dance was contagious. The company definitely walked away proud and inspired.
Students of Kco's Let's Make A Dance Summer Intensive
Now, we are looking forward to the future. In less than one week, we open at The Joyce Theater. We have an amazing program lined up with an audience favorite, Megalopolis, the beautiful Trio, and the WORLD PREMIERS of Contact Sport and12 Chairs……This is a show you will not want to miss.
See you at the Joyce!
KEIGWIN + COMPANY will be at the Joyce all next week. June 12th-17th.
What? Really? Opening night is just one week away and with two world premieres, you can guess I’m not sleeping much.
I love putting the final touches on the dance, it really is the icing on the cake. This past weekend we had a sneak preview of 12 Chairs in Minneapolis at the new Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts, where we had the chance to add those final ingredients — costumes, lights, action, and attitude. We loved test driving the work for the fantastic audiences in Minnesota and can’t wait to share it with you next week. I couldn’t be happier with how the new dances have developed and the company has never looked better.
Here are five more fabulous reasons to join us at The Joyce Theater next week on June 12-17th.
1. Be the first to see 2 World Premieres.
2. Listen to two completely new pieces of music, one by Jonathan Pratt and one by Adam Crystal.
2. Watch 12 incredible dancers strutting their stuff.
4. Because it’s summer and it’s a night out. (P.S. It’s only one hour long, no intermission, and it’s air-conditioned).
5. Be a part of the discussion – have a thought provoking conversation with your friends, share your opinions, What did you like? What didn’t you like? What did it mean and how did you feel?
You know it’s summer when you see seersucker suits and iced coffees on the street. I am always surprised by the unexpected moments of inspiration I often find on the streets of New York. While recently walking around the city, I discovered some costume ideas for our new work Twelve Chairs. Speaking of walking, I’m happy to have ditched the crutches and boot. Being a pedestrian again feels so great, as does the inspiration that comes with it. Here are a few pictures I took along the way:
I love these dresses I saw late one night on the UES, but realized later they would be impossible to dance in.
Speaking of costumes – here is a sketch of a few costumes that costume designer Liz Prince is working on for Trio (formerly Balloon Dance).
And if what Liz makes doesn’t work out, I thought I would get these great white shirts. I might get them anyway.
Say goodbye to the boot and crutches. Just in time for the speedo.
This is what happens when you spend too much time in your apartment unable to walk. Kiss those days goodbye! I’m up and about enjoying the first days of summer and ready to rock it at The Joyce Theater on June 12 -17th.
Week one of rehearsal: “Alright, you guys! Let’s go to position one,” Larry says. We stand up, leave the chair we were just working with, find a new one, and go to position one.
Week four of rehearsal: “Alright, you guys! Let’s go to position one,” Larry says. With ownership, we swiftly cling to the chair we have been working in. We now carry and bring it with us to position one.
Our chair has truly become an extension of our dancing selves. We’ve built such a relationship with these chairs, that leaving your own personal chair just doesn’t seem right. “I felt like I was meeting a new partner for the first time. At this point, I feel comfortable just throwing myself into it,” Kile’s statement reminds me of when Larry tells us to, “Partner your prop!”
Over the past four weeks, Twelve Chairs has evolved from just a single exploratory task to a rich, layered, and compelling work. After our final sketch was complete, I asked dancers Ashley Browne and Kile Hotchkiss their thoughts on the process from beginning to end. “I did not expect the piece to look like this at all! Out of all the work Larry has created, this has the most focus of intention,” Ashley says.
Kile notes that, “Now that we are looking at the movement more specifically, Larry had brought up the idea of letting the design lead the piece, rather than layering the intention over top of the movement.”
Twelve Chairs adds a fresh vigor to the K + C repertoire. Within the three distinct sections, this piece has plenty of generously striking movement, but subtleties as well. Kile pulls images from our process as inspiration, “We started out with waiting room ideas, then images of band practice, then this deep idea of a mental institution.”
Putting the finishing touches on the piece has brought up a lot of discussion of personality. Ashley says. “It’s casual. You can be casual with the movement, but there is an orderly fashion about it… We are now trying to find a universal language.”
This past week KEIGWIN + COMPANY concluded the creative process for Twelve Chairs the same way it began, with endless possibilities. While working on the final moment of the piece, Larry Keigwin was having us sit, stand, fall, and face a different directions. What will be the final picture? You’ll have to come to find out!
This process has been challenging in the best ways possible, and the hard work can definitely be seen in the result. I have never been more excited to perform a piece. In just three short weeks, Twelve Chairs will make its debut. Don’t miss out on this exciting new work!
Once again, I asked my colleagues to describe the creative process in one word.