Britt Education residency program presents West Coast premiere of wheelchair dance performance “DESCENT”
Medford, OR – Britt Education & Engagement will be hosting the project-based collective Kinetic Light for a five-day in-school residency at Crater Renaissance Academy culminating in the West Coast premiere of their wheelchair-based dance piece “DESCENT”, September 25 – 29, 2017.
Performed on an architectural ramp installation with hills, curves and peaks, “DESCENT” celebrates the pleasure of reckless abandon. Obliterating assumptions of what dance, beauty, and disability can be, this evening-length duet takes audiences on a transformative ride. Andromeda and Venus, reimagined as interracial lovers, claim their desire as wheels fly within inches of the ramp’s edges. Their spines soften to taste the subtle pulls of gravity and arch into the sumptuous light. Led entirely by disabled artists from the collective Kinetic Light, “DESCENT” presents an experience known to all: the release of leaning into a descent. Kinetic Light is a project-based collective made up of Alice Sheppard (choreographer, dancer), Laurel Lawson (collaborator, dancer) and local artist Michael Maag (projection and lighting designer).
“‘DESCENT’ is about movement pleasure: the joy of flying freely downhill, and the pleasure of pushing uphill. I’ve been wanting something as risky and challenging as this for years, reflects choreographer and dancer, Alice Sheppard. “Finally, I knew that no one was going to make a dance like this for me, so I gathered a team and over the course of the past year, we have thrown ourselves into a complicated creative process. We’ve rehearsed in warehouses with leaks, been on multi-hour Skype calls, and shared dinners together. It’s about community and connection. When we know each other and trust each other, we can take risks, delve into the meaning and possibility of the art.”
In alignment with the focus on disability and accessibility within the performance of “DESCENT”, Crater Performing Arts Center is arranging for extra wheelchair seating, ASL interpretation and audio description to make the performance completely accessible.
During the residency, Kinetic Light will be working with the dance and drama students of Crater Renaissance Academy, studying aspects of wheelchair dance performance, lighting and video design, as well as technical support. All students at the academy are also invited to attend rehearsals throughout the week, and a dress rehearsal of the performance, which is scheduled for 7:30pm, Friday, September 29.
“When you think of Crater Drama and the Crater Performing Arts Center you think Creating Community Through the Arts,” says Matthew Reynolds, director of dance and drama and facility manager of Crater Renaissance Academy. This is the mission statement he helped students come up with back in 2009, and they keep on trying to live up to that mission every day. When Kay Hilton approached Matthew with Kinetic Light’s newest production, “Descent”, he knew that through education, mentoring, and performance, their mission statement was coming to fruition again. Matthew feels extremely fortunate to work in this capacity with both Britt and the cast and crew of Kinetic Light. “The professional experience, mentoring in various areas of the theater, and the dance workshops with my dance students are truly a fulfillment of our mission. Makes my soul smile.”
“We became aware of Kinetic Light and this impressive project back in February of 2016, and it’s been inspiring to watch them develop and refine the scope of the piece. Britt Education is very excited to be able to connect local students to these world-class performers and designers as they come together to present ‘DESCENT’ to our community,” says Kay Hilton, Britt’s Director of Education & Engagement. “The extra focus on accessibility in this project provides students with real-world experience in respect to performance-based arts.”
Seating is limited and will be available on a first come, first served basis.
Who: Project-based collective Kinetic Light
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 29
Where: Crater Performing Arts Center, 655 North Third Street, Central Point, OR
Tickets: Free to the general public
For more information on the performance: http://www.brittfest.org/performances/descent17
For more information on “DESCENT” and Kinetic Light: https://kineticlight.org/
Funding for this presentation is provided to Britt Education by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Jed and Celia Meese Foundation.
“DESCENT” is made possible, in part, by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; The MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Dance/NYC’s Disability. Dance. Artistry Fund, made possible by the Ford Foundation with additional support provided by the Mertz Gilmore Foundation; and Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University. DESCENT was also supported by Dancers’ Group’s CA$H grant program, Puffin Foundation West, Ltd., and Yip Harburg.
About Britt Music & Arts Festival
Inspired by its intimate and scenic hillside venue, Britt Music & Arts Festival provides diverse live performances, an incomparable classical festival and dynamic education programs that create a sense of discovery and community. Since its grassroots beginnings in 1963, the non-profit organization has grown from a two-week chamber music festival to a summer-long series of concerts in a variety of genres, including a three-week orchestra season, and year-round education and engagement programs. For more information, visit www.brittfest.org