Visiting Artist | January 21 - February 3, 2018
Rambler, Worlds Worlds A Part
In her latest evening-length work Rambler, Worlds Worlds A Part, choreographer Kathy Westwater explores pain and the body, including the pain of others. Having begun this exploration over twenty years ago, in this latest investigation Westwater invited dance artists in the work to consider their personal experiences of pain and trauma. While contemplating if it is possible to fully express the experience of one’s own pain — and its opposite, bliss — or to fully grasp that of others, the cast of dancers responded to and celebrated the profound music of post-minimalist composer Julius Eastman.
The premiere of Rambler, … features performances by dancers Ilona Bito, Thomas F. DeFrantz, Alex Romania, Rakia Seaborn, Paul Singh, Stacy Lynn Smith, and Westwater, lighting designer Roderick Murray, and dramaturg Melanie George, all of whom were part of Westwater’s MANCC residency. The premiere will also include Eastman’s live music played by Joseph Kubera and Adam Tendler, a special appearance by musician and composer M. Lamar, and set design by architect Seung Jae Lee.
Dance artists in this project also looked beyond their personal experiences through two creative workshops they taught within a community of Black, gay men in Jackson, Mississippi, where an AIDS/HIV epidemic is currently occurring. There they shared through workshops and an open rehearsal of Rambler, … how in this project they process pain so that participants could also explore creativity as a response to pain, and the forms of oppression, racial and homophobic, that have contributed to the circumstances underlying the epidemic. These activities were hosted by Southern Echo, a community organizing group in Jackson with historic roots in the civil rights movement.
During her time at MANCC, Westwater had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Stephen Montague, Visiting Assistant Professor in the FSU College of Music. Montague candidly described his time as an experimental composer during the 1970s -80s, including his interactions with Eastman. As a part of MANCC’s Embedded Writers Initiative, Westwater and her collaborators were joined by Allie Tepper, who is currently the Mellon Interdisciplinary Fellow at the Walker Center for the Arts in Minneapolis. Funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this initiative is designed to support the re-imagining of dance writing conventions in order to better respond to and engage with a wider range of ever-evolving contemporary forms. Additionally, Westwater and her collaborators hosted a showing of the work within FSU’s School of Dance, followed by a post-showing talk that included Westwater and her collaborators, as well as Tepper and George.
Rambler, Worlds Worlds A Part premiered at New York Live Arts February 14, 15 & 16, 2019, is a co-presentation of NYLA and Lumberyard, and was commissioned by Lumberyard. The work will then go on to be shared with audiences in Jackson, MS.
This residency was supported, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts.