SuperGroup

SuperGroup is a 14-year collaborative performance conversation between Erin Search-Wells, Sam Johnson, and Jeffrey Wells, based in Minneapolis, on unceded Dakota territory. First off, they are writing in third person here because they were asked to for the sake of consistency, and they agreed, even though it’s pretty weird, right? As far as years-long conversations go, some things change a lot and other things get entrenched. One thing that has stayed the same is that SuperGroup continues to make performance in many different ways, in many different places. Something that has changed is their interest in playing into systems that feel driven by competition, capitalism, popularity, and scarcity - even though it feels impossible to play completely outside of them either. They are proud of many things they have done, and are humbled by all of the generous people that have contributed to their ability to still be here making performance. They have a slightly outdated and wonky website you can visit if you want to know more about them (www.supergroupshow.biz - yes, long ago they thought incorporating a pun into their url was a good plan). Or you can just send them an email (info@supergroupshow.biz) and they will do their best to respond in a timely manner - but y’all know how it is these days.

Partnership Project: McKnight Artist Fellow | April 1 - 10, 2022

Untitled

Minneapolis-based performance collaboration SuperGroup (Erin Search-Wells, Sam Johnson, and Jeff Wells) came to MANCC for the first time to work on a new, currently untitled project that mines their last project from 2019, Research COUNCIL, honors their mentor Mary Overlie, and tackles questions that continue to be at the center of their work. This residency was originally to take place in March of 2020 at MANCC but was impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic. 

In their initial 2020 residency plans, SuperGroup planned to work with Mary Overlie, the originator of the Six Viewpoints, and renowned postmodern theater practitioner. Following her death in June of 2020, SuperGroup used this 2022 residency to honor Overlie’s legacy through a review of her work and ideas in reference to this project.
 
In addition, SuperGroup used this residency to engage their curiosity about developing movement practices that intentionally undermine or contradict logical narratives to elicit cognitive strain in an audience; a state where meaning-making gets confused, but also a state where it becomes possible to engage in an awareness of the act of spectating/participating itself. By disrupting these normal ways of interpreting dance, the three artists look for ways to enact a bodily resistance to sense, knowing, and linearity to allow both viewer and performer to sit longer in the unknown.
 
While at MANCC, SuperGroup met with Dr. Michael Kaschak, a cognitive research psychologist and faculty member of FSU’s Department of Psychology, where they explored the relationship between comprehension of language and movement.  This relationship was specifically examined in reference to mismatched ideas communicated through multiple methods (such as speech and hand gesture) and the need for context to align understanding of an action with its intention.

In addition, SuperGroup hosted a work-in-process showing attended by FSU faculty, students, and community members, and hosted a Brown Bag Lunch with FSU students and faculty with fellow Minneapolis-based artist Laurie Van Wieren and her collaborators.  During the Brown Bag, SuperGroup and Van Wieren spoke to the robust arts scene in Minneapolis, the support available to the arts community through the McKnight Foundation and other funding entities, and the trends in dance that they have noticed in response to the emergence of the COVID pandemic.

SuperGroup’s residency at MANCC was supported, in part, by a partnership with McKnight Choreographer Fellowships, funded by The McKnight Foundation and administered by The Cowles Center for Dance & The Performing Arts, and the Sustainable Arts Fund for parent-artists.


   

  • Jeffrey Wells, Sam Johnson, and Erin Search-Wells work through a movement score in-studio
  • Johnson, Search-Wells, and Wells engaged in process in the studio
  • Wells and Johnson engaged in process in the studio
  • Wells, Search-Wells, and Johnson engaged in process in the studio
  • Search-Wells, Johnson, and Wells talk though concepts behind their work in the studio
  • Search-Wells, Wells, and Johnson speak with FSU Psychology Professor Dr. Michael Kaschak while<br>MANCC Research Associate Scott Lindenberg takes notes
  • SuperGroup and Laurie Van Wieren and her collaborators meet with FSU School of Dance faculty and<br>students during their McKnight Fellows Brown Bag Lunch
  • Johnson, Search-Wells, and Wells engaged in their Work in Process Showing while attendees from the<br>FSU School of Dance and other MANCC artists watch
  • Wells, Search-Wells, and Johnson engaged in a movement score during their Work in Process Showing
  • Search-Wells and Johnson engaged in their Work in Process Showing
  • Search-Wells and Wells engaged in their Work in Process Showing
  • Wells, Search-Wells, and Johnson in their Work in Process showing
  • Wells, Search-Wells, and Johnson engaged in their Work in Process Showing while attendees watch
  • Search-Wells, Wells, and Johnson engaged in their Work in Process Showing while attendees watch
  • Wells and fellow MANCC artist Laurie Van Wieren talk after the SuperGroup Work in Process Showing

World Premiere

Ronald K. Brown

The Equality of Night
and Day (TEND)

June 29 - July 3
Jacob's Pillow Dance
Festival (MA)

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