by Brantley Ivey
Directly following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, author Colum McCann began scouring history for acts of creation that could defy his present devastation. In his search, McCann stumbled upon accounts detailing Philippe Petit’s tightrope walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in the August of 1974, a performance that is heralded, to this day, as one of the greatest acts of bravado in our city’s history. He immediately began devouring research, learning how the act was meticulously conceived, planned and executed. However, he ultimately became more invested in and fascinated by “the ordinary people on the street, the ones who walked a tightrope one inch from the ground.”
A video letter from our Producing Artistic Director, Jordan Rosin.
To contribute, visit: https://igg.me/at/TheUmeGroupTurns5
I'm reviving one of my favorite workshops in honor of the return of DREAM DANCES as part of The Ume Group's 5-Year Anniversary NY Season at the Irondale Center in August....
The DREAM DANCES Physical Theatre Intensive will be offered for 3 days in June and include a public performance component. Click the link below to check it out! 30% EARLY BIRD DISCOUNTS end May 13, so register now!
Producing Artistic Director, The Ume Group
Auditions for The Ume Group Physical Theatre Ensemble: Performance Apprentices & Guest Artists (4/23 & 4/26)
The Ume Group physical theatre ensemble is looking for strong & passionate performers for the following positions…
For audition questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note: There is no advance registration or appointments.
Please show up to one of our workshop-style open calls.
WHEN: Initial auditions take place Saturday, April 23, 9:30am - 12pm and Tuesday, April 26, 7pm - 9:30pm with callbacks for those invited on Thursday, April 28, 7pm - 9pm.
Please arrive no later than the specified start time to register and warm-up. Attendees may attend EITHER audition day (4/23 or 4/26), but MUST be prepared to stay the entire time (and ideally to return on Thursday, April 26 if invited to callbacks) in order to be considered for a position.
WHERE: The Ume Group School at Grace & St. Paul’s Church
123 West 71st Street, New York, NY 10023
(1, 2, 3, C, or B trains to 72nd Street.)
WHO: We are interested in seeing MALE & FEMALE physical performers, ages 18+, with strong backgrounds in acting, clowning, or commedia del arte. Experience with acrobatics, yoga and butoh dance is also encouraged, but not required. You must be comfortable with rolls, weight sharing, lifts, falls and aerobic activity. You MUST be available for the majority of the classes, rehearsals, and performances listed here.
Auditioners should be particularly suited for the following roles in our show “Lysistrata Project” (a Commedia Dell’Arte-styled adaptation of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata)...
About The Ume Group
The Ume Group is a New York - based dance / physical theatre ensemble dedicated to sharing traditions and developing new work. We believe that a good performance artist is constantly learning, creating, teaching, and performing. We are hailed by critics for our “commanding, physically impressive performances” (The Village Voice) and “risky physical vulnerability” (nytheatre.com) which basically means... we do a lot of handstands and crazy butoh stuff.
This week, we sat down to talk with artist Sean Devare who designed and fabricated three original Commedia Dell'Arte-style masks for The Ume Group's "Lysistrata Project." Here is what he had to say...
JORDAN ROSIN: How did you find your inspiration for the masks?
SEAN DEVARE: I always approach my projects with as much research as I can find, from as many related and sometimes unrelated sources as possible. I started by researching the Commedia types and typical traits while also drawing inspiration from certain Japanese mask aesthetics, especially for Capitano. I can be frequently found sketching or photographing masks and sculptures at museums, where inspiration is bound to strike at any time!
JR: What materials did you use?
SD: For expediency, I used a combination of air-drying paperclay and wood glue over various cardboard, paper-mache, or plastic armatures. I often rearrange and re-purpose old Halloween masks as base structures to build on top of. Various enamel spray paints were used for the finish.
JR: How did you learn to make masks like this?
SD: I've studied mask carving with different master craftsmen in Bali, Indonesia, but the majority of my fine arts training came through my undergraduate degree at the Rhode Island School of Design where I studied anatomy, sculpture, and character design in the Illustration department.
JR: What's been the most exciting thing about collaborating with The Ume Group?
SD: I had the unique opportunity to design masks specifically for characterizations that the actors had already been working on. Often times the mask provides initial inspiration for the actors' movements, but this process was nearly reversed! You could say it was a creative dialogue, as I'm sure the actors made further adjustments upon working with the finalized masks. I particularly enjoyed Byron's buzzard-like interpretation of Pantalone, which helped inspire the shape of the nose earlier in the process. It was a pleasure to see such vibrant and playful performers bring the masks to life! I'm always excited to see what different people find in the masks, and the Ume Group brought such specific articulation and expression. It was absolutely captivating to see and hear these larger-than-life characters on stage!
Sean Devare (Mask Designer) is a NY-based multi-disciplinary artist. He was a resident actor at The Flea Theater where he appeared in 'The Cutthroat Series' as an actor and puppeteer. Other NY credits: 'The Saltmakers' (Dixon Place/HERE); 'Artaud Artaud' (Signature); 'The Tutors' (The Kraine). He studied theatre at Brown University where he created a solo show, 'Into the West,' featuring original masks and projections. Training includes: Dell'Arte International Abroad (Bali), Old Trout Puppet Workshop, and Per Brahe. BFA in Illustration, RISD.
The Ume Group's 5-Year Anniversary fundraising campaign launches March 27 (Easter Sunday) on IndieGogo! To celebrate we're throwing a party on Saturday, April 2 for everyone who contributes during the first week of the campaign.
FREE admission AND drinks for those who contribute (in any amount) to our IndieGogo campaign by Saturday, April 2.
Doors open at 8pm. Secret location, TBA.
Featuring performances by...
THE UME GROUP
LAUREN SKY & LEAH BELTRAN
PLUS dancing, games, tarot, the return of our signature "Sweet Dreams" cocktail and a chance to mix and mingle with members of The Ume Group Ensemble.
To contribute to our IndieGogo campaign and get FREE admission and drinks on Saturday, April 2, visit: https://igg.me/at/TheUmeGroupTurns5
#party #secretlocation #IndieGogo #launchparty #funtimes #fundraiser#physicaltheatre
UNFIX NYC - A New Festival of Performance & Ecology
UNFIX NYC is a new festival of Performance and Ecology taking place at Grace & St. Paul Church on April 29-May 1 2016, presented by Ren Gyo Soh. UNFIX Festival started in Glasgow (Scotland) in 2015, created by performance artist and Butoh dancer Paul Michael Henry (www.unfixfestival.com), and Ren Gyo Soh is excited to bring it to New York as their 2nd anniversary celebration and fundraising event.
UNFIX is a multi-art form event fusing live performance, dance, installation, workshops and debate in a bid to unravel the knots in how we're living. Ecological crisis and renewal addressed through our bodies and physical sense of being alive.
This New York City version is the first collaboration between UNFIX and Ren Gyo Soh, which the two groups hope to make an annual event. We want to simultaneously celebrate and question our relationship to each other, to the planet on which we live, to our own imaginations and the structures that mould us in this time of ecological crisis.
This year Ren Gyo Soh, a Butoh-based theatre company in NYC celebrates its 2nd anniversary, and is using the opportunity to present UNFIX as a bridge between performance and ecology (or artists and the Earth on which they work). Our program will include live performances, installations, workshops, and yoga with live music.
*UNFIX NYC is presented by Ren Gyo Soh, sponsored by The Ume Group and Grace & St. Paul Church.
Click the links to register, OR buy multi-day festival passes here.
Day 1 - Friday, April 29th 6-9pm: Ren Gyo Soh Spring Workshop (Register here.)
Day 2 - Saturday, April 30th 7-10pm: Performance / Installation / Discussion (Buy tickets here.)
Day 3 - Sunday, May 1st, 2pm - 3:30pm: Yoga with Live music, meditation - sending a prayer to the planet (Register here.)
Detailed Festival Schedule
Day 1 PROGRAMME: Friday, April 29th 6-9pm: Ren Gyo Soh Spring Workshop
A butoh-based ritual movement workshop for all ages & abilities.
DAY 2 PROGRAMME: April 30, 7pm-10pm PERFORMANCE / INSTALLATION / DISCUSSION
Day 3 PROGRAMME: Sunday, May 1st, 2pm - 3:30pm: Yoga with Live music & meditation - sending a prayer to the planet
More About UNFIX
-from Unfix Festival, Glasgow Scotland by Paul Michael Henry-
Why have a festival of Performance and Ecology?
The festival theme aims to identify an untapped resource for artists: Ecology is perhaps the grand theme of our times, uniting issues of climate change, sustainability, political independence / interdependence, and the various flows of ageing and death, economics, culture and emotion.
Rather than restricting ourselves to ‘environmental art’, UNFIX takes a broad definition of the term and includes ecologies of Imagination (the connections between the ideas, myths, dreams and archetypes we live by), Politics, Environment, Soul and Mental Health (the ecology of the individual psyche and questions of balance and happiness; ecologies of emotion and the forces of love, conflict, anger, shame).
This wide net is intended as an offer to artists to find methods of rethinking human inter-relationships and environmental approaches through our bodies and physical sense of living, both in daily life and the concentrated forums of performance and culture.
UNFIX is conceived as an act of love, a bear hug to the world, a prayer of sorts. As humans we don’t have to ‘work hard’ and ‘earn a living’; we already have one by virtue of being alive. The question is how to engage with it. How we can love each other more, and stop killing the planet?
We can no longer pretend to be separate from one another.
- From Ren Gyo Soh by Yokko, The Artistic Director -
I share deeply the point of view Unfix Festival is pushing. I believe we can do something about the direction our species is traveling in through arts. The world we see is a reflection of our mind.
"A long time ago, Nature and Human beings coexisted. We lived together on this planet, the earth. However, looking around, and back over recent history, its clear we have forgotten something. If we can start taking care of Nature, Mother nature will start taking care of itself. I believe we can stoke an awareness in ourselves as individuals and small communities, through our bodies and psyches. It might be a small step, but it can also become a ripple, and then a big wave. It is time for each one of us to think, feel and transform from our insides out, in resonance with the world. Be the change that you wish to see in the world."
- Mahatma Gandhi
For me, Butoh & ecology is quite natural connection. Here are two of my favorite quotes from founders...
"Butoh is a dance of life"
- Kazuo Ono
"My dance is expansion of human concept- letting a human body metamorphosis into anything including an animal, a plant, even an object which does not have a life, and the fundamental ideology of my butoh is finding the possibility."
Are you a constant re-sharer of content? Are you a Instagram ninja? What about a Twitter-junkie? Facebook guru? If you are active on one or more social media platforms and passionate about The Ume Group and its unique brand of physical theatre, we want you for our volunteer Cyber Street Team!
The cyber street team is a group of folks from as many different backgrounds as possible each with an active presence on one or more social media platforms. Their job will be to meaningfully promote The Ume Group's 5-Year Anniversary Fundraising Campaign on IndieGogo (launching Sunday, March 27 and running through April 30) by sharing, liking, commenting, and engaging with a variety of content which The Ume Group publishes during the course of the campaign. Detailed suggestions and instructions will be given each week for how to most impact-fully participate via a weekly digest e-mail.
If you are interested in participating, please e-mail email@example.com / subject: "Cyber Street Team", saying "count me in!"
By participating, you'd be agreeing to...
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to donate to the campaign myself?
Not at all! It would definitely help if, even for $1, you added your name to the total number of funders (a number to which people pay attention), but you are not obligated to contribute.
Do I have to re-share / like EVERYTHING in the bi-weekly digest e-mails?
No. Our job will be to provide as many different types of content on as many different social media platforms as we can. You pick and choose what resonates with you and to what you think your social network will respond. Are you more of an instagrammer? We'll attach photos for you to upload and hashtag suggestions galore.
Additional questions, feel free to ask!
Remember, if you're interested to please reply to firstname.lastname@example.org saying "count me in!"
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