For its eighteenth season, The Seldoms aim their focus on the environment with the presentation of two dance-theater works about climate change. Local programming includes performances of a revised Exit Disclaimer: Science and Fiction Ahead (2012) at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theater, and the premiere of Floe at the Art Institute of Chicago, in the company’s first engagements at those venues, as well as informal work-in-progress showings at the Poetry Foundation and Newberry Library.
Exit Disclaimer: Science & Fiction Ahead, the company’s 2012 foray into climate change, crawls down the Internet rabbit hole of climate denier versus believer madness; it is a satirical work about the carnival of ideas that come to light when the skeptics and the “militantly eco-conscious” have their say. Employing their signature athletic dancing, and play with objects such as spatulas and an old-fashioned school desk turned on its side and hoisted in the air, the company articulates the absurdity and dogma of the extreme positions of the climate debate. The 2019 revision will include expanded text by collaborating playwright Seth Bockley. Choreography and direction by Artistic Director Carrie Hanson; sound design by Mikhail Fiksel; lighting design by Julie E. Ballard; performance by The Seldoms ensemble: Solomon Bowser, Philip Elson, Sarah Gonsiorowski, Damon D. Green, Maggie Vannucci
The Seldoms perform Exit Disclaimer at the Margaret D'Houbler Performance Space, Lathrop Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on November 14 and 15 at 8pm, and November 16 at 2:30pm. This is a shared program with Kate Corby & Dancers. Tickets are $22 general admission and $16 for students; tickets go on sale October 14 at artsticketing.wisc.edu.
Chicago performances of Exit Disclaimer take place at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theater on Thursday-Saturday, December 12-14 at 8pm, and Sunday, December 15 at 3:30pm as part of the LookOut program. Tickets are $35 general admission with $15 tickets available for students, seniors, and military. Tickets/information: https://www.steppenwolf.org/tickets--events/lookout/1920-winter/exit-disclaimer/
Floe, The Seldoms’ new dance theater work about the climate crisis made in collaboration with playwright Seth Bockley, is about warming oceans, the vanishing of Arctic ice, oil extraction, and madness and delusion. The artists navigate this complex topic by weaving together multiple references to modern delusions: the theories of flat earth conspirators, contemporary climate change denialists, and the ill-fated whalers of Hermann Melville’s Moby Dick. They draw a link between the 19th c. whaling and the modern-day fossil fuel industries, both unsustainable exploitations of natural resources. The performance, by turns irreverent and elegiac, embodies the fragmentation of our global conversation on climate change as it veers from anti-science conspiracy theories to the very real impacts of global warming on communities from the Gulf Coast to the Arctic Circle. Floe centers around a portrayal of the Earth itself -- ice, water, and land -- and our interwoven humanity — the people making our planet less hospitable, the people victimized by a changing earth — in short, all of us. Visual design includes projection of images from a changing Arctic and a flooded Houston upon two massive inflatable “icebergs” created by long-time collaborator, visual artist Bob Faust. Sound design by Mikhail Fiksel includes voices from the Arctic region to the Gulf of Mexico, the latter recorded in interviews with civilian rescuers and flood survivors of Hurricane Harvey, during The Seldoms’ research residency in Houston. Choreography and direction by Carrie Hanson; costume design by Jeff Hancock; projection design by Liviu Pasare; lighting design by Julie E. Ballard; performance by The Seldoms ensemble: Solomon Bowser, Philip Elson, Sarah Gonsiorowski, Damon D. Green, Maggie Vannucci
Floe will premiere at the Wisconsin Union Theater at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on January 22-24, 2020, at 7:30pm. Tickets are $35 for general admission, $31 for Union Members, $33 for UW Faculty/Staff, $10 for UW students. Tickets/information at https://union.wisc.edu/events-and-activities/event-calendar/event/the-seldoms-floe/
Floe will be presented at the Jarson-Kaplan Theater, Aronoff Center in Cincinnati by Contemporary Dance Theater on Friday and Saturday, April 3-4, 2020. Further information coming.
The Chicago premiere of Floe happens at the Art Institute of Chicago on April 22-25, 2020, opening on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. The performance will take place in the Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room. Further information coming.
Floe RELATED EVENTS:
“Poetry & Dance” happens November 7 at 7pm at the Poetry Foundation, 61 W Superior Street, Chicago. Floe is dance theater with a literary and poetic impulse, drawing upon rich sources such as the classic American novel, Moby Dick, and layering meaning onto simple physical gestures — rowing, backstroking, tipping slowly to lose one’s hat. In this informal evening of poetry & dance, artistic director Carrie Hanson, collaborator Seth Bockley, and The Seldoms ensemble will share work-in-progress excerpts of Floe, and poet Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué will present selections of his recent book, Losing Miami, a bilingual experiment in grieving the potential sinking of Miami due to rising sea levels. There will be an ASL interpreter at this event. The event is free. For information and reservations: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/events/150437/poetry-dance-floe-the-seldoms-gabriel-ojeda-saguat
On February 25, 2020 at 6:00pm at the Newberry Library, Chicago’s independent research library, The Seldoms will perform preview/excerpts of Floe before its Earth Day premiere at the Art Institute of Chicago. The artists are joined by climate expert Dan Vimont, Director of the Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research at UW-Madison and Co-Director of the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts, who will speak about climate changes specific to the Midwest region.
In its 18th season, The Seldoms creates multimedia performance charged by bold, exacting physicality and believes that dance can ignite thinking about critical social issues. Each project is fueled by an appetite for research and incubated with partners from fields including history and science. Under the direction of choreographer Carrie Hanson, they design expansive productions with practitioners of visual arts, architecture, theater, sound, and fashion. Making works on topics such as the 2008 recession, climate change, and most recently, a trilogy surveying power and powerlessness in America, they have built a reputation for “well-crafted and researched works that don’t hold forth a political agenda, but look instead at how these towering issues reflect back on our own humanity” (New City, “Best Local Dance Company” 2012). The Seldoms has toured nationally and to Russia, Canada, Taiwan, and Scotland, in an exchange with Glasgow visual artists to create “Toolbox”, a cross-disciplinary sourcebook for makers. The company’s acclaimed work about Lyndon Baines Johnson, “Power Goes” (2015), was commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, toured to ten U.S. venues, and engaged a diverse community cast in each city. The Seldoms has designed spectacular works for sites including a truck garage, an outdoor pool, the Morton Arboretum, and a Chicago Landmark park fieldhouse. In 2012, they designed, with Tim Daisy, a site-specific promenade performance by 24 dancers and musicians through the Harris Theater of Music and Dance. The Seldoms have been an Arts Partner in Residence at Pulaski Park since 2013, providing free dance classes to neighborhood youth. http://theseldoms.org
CARRIE HANSON / Founding Artistic Director
Since 2001, Carrie has made over 25 original works for The Seldoms. Her current work involves research and embodiment of social, political, environmental issues and history, as a mode of pressing performance to speak to larger public concerns. Hanson is currently an Interdisciplinary Artist-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2015, she was named Chicago Tribune’s “Chicagoan of the Year in Dance”, honored for her political, issue-oriented dance theater and “brawny, brainy movement”. Her work Power Goes (2015), was commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, received a National Performance Network Creation Fund and NEFA National Dance Project Award. Carrie is the recipient of a Chicago Dancemaker’s Forum Lab Artists award, two Illinois Arts Council Fellowships, and a Ruth Page Award. The Chicago Tribune wrote, “Hanson is among the more fascinating and surefooted of our contemporary choreographers”. She teaches at The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, holds a BFA from Texas Christian University, and an MA in Dance Studies from Laban London.
JULIE E. BALLARD / Lighting Design
Julie E. Ballard is a professional lighting designer and theatrical technician. Ms. Ballard is an Assistant Professor of Theater Arts, specializing in lighting and sound, at Illinois Wesleyan University. She is affiliated with IATSE Local 2 and the Actors’ Equity Association and was previously the Stage Manager and Properties Master for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Additionally, Ms. Ballard is the owner/operator of OverlapLighting, a freelance production company specializing in production/stage management, lighting design and photography, and is the Technical Director, Resident Lighting Designer and Stage Manager for The Seldoms. Ms. Ballard was the Lighting Director at the Dance Center of Columbia College for nearly 8 years. She has freelanced for two decades in and around the Midwest, touring regionally, nationally and internationally with Hubbard Street, Pilobolus, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater and David Dorfman Dance, among others. Ms. Ballard holds degrees in Theater (BA, 1999) and
Lighting Design (MFA, 2004) from Kent State University and the University of Florida, respectively.
SETH BOCKLEY / Writer
Seth Bockley is a playwright and theater director specializing in literary adaptation, design-driven production, and new play development. As a writer his works include Gilgamesh & Enkidu, Tabletop Tragedies, Charisma! with Minneapolis rock band Greycoats, Rip Van Winkle; or, Cut The Old Moon Into Stars, the first commission by Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in Cold Spring NY, 2666 (adapted with Robert Falls from the novel by Roberto Bolaño, Goodman Theater), CRISPR Kids, Laika’s Coffin, Journey For The Sun, Wilderness, February House (with Gabriel Kahane, The Public Theater, NYC), and adaptations from stories by George Saunders: Jon and CommComm, plus the “Cool Dads of America” sketch from A Prairie Home Companion. Directing credits include Gilgamesh & Enkidu; the multimedia documentary theater works Wilderness and Basetrack Live with En Garde Arts (Abrons Arts Center, NYC), 2666 (with Robert Falls, Goodman Theater), Lauren Yee’s Samsara and Philip Dawkins’ Failure: A Love Story (Victory Gardens, Chicago); Jason Grote’s Civilization (all you can eat) and 1001; the clown play Guerra, with Mexico City-based troupe La Piara (toured Mexico, Colombia, and U.S.) He teaches at the University of Chicago. https://www.sethbockley.com
BOB FAUST / Visual Design
Drawing upon the language and tools of the design world and capitalizing on his expertise as a typographer, Bob Faust creates visual, visceral and contextual art experiences that inspire and/or instigate action. He is the principal and creative director for Faust, a cultural branding and communications studio as well as the studio/special projects director for artist Nick Cave where he collaborates on both exhibition design and performance works. Faustʼs non-secular approach is ubiquitously applied across all his work genres, from client-based commercial work to galleries and institutions, as well as his monthly, anonymous street art series called "Full Moon Projects.” Faust has been recognized nationally and internationally for his creativity and clarity through many prestigious exhibitions and publications such as the Society of Typographic Arts, Expo Chicago, DSGN CHGO, Communication Arts, Print and the London Creative Competition. Faust also created visual design for The Seldoms’ Power Goes (2015), RockCitizen (2016), and The Making (2017). http://www.faustltd.com/faust/
MIKHAIL FIKSEL / Sound Design & Composition
Mikhail is a composer/designer/dj based in NYC and Chicago, but living at the intersection of classical music, jazz, electronica, and sound design. His previous dance collaborations include The Seldoms, Lucky Plush, The MCA Chicago, The Nexus Project, and The Inconvenience. Other recent projects include theatrical designs and compositions for Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club, Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Goodman Theatre, The New Victory, BAM, Chicago Shakespeare, The Old Globe Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, Victory Gardens, Dallas Theatre Center, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, The Geffen Playhouse, 2nd Stage Theatre, Writers Theatre, Redmoon Theatre, Tukkers Connexion (Arhnem, Holland), Festival FILO (Londrina, Brazil) and Albany Theatre Project. Recent film work includes scores for feature films “Glitch”, “The Wise Kids” and “In Memoriam”. As a DJ, he has been exploring and blending genres for the dance floors and cerebral playgrounds since 1997, sometimes with his live music ensemble “Seeking Wonderland”. He has received eight Joseph Jefferson Awards for Sound Design and Composition, two Lucille Lortel Awards, two Drama Desk Nominations, an AfterDark Award for a New Original Musical and the Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award. https://www.mikhailfiksel.com
JEFF HANCOCK / Costume Design
Jeff Hancock, MFA, performs, teaches, choreographs and designs movement and clothing that moves all over the US and abroad. Since 1990, dancing for River North, Hubbard Street, Same Planet Different, The Lyric Opera and others, his dance and design life collided, supported and informed each other, and shaped his path as a teaching artist. Curiosity about the semiotics of movement and clothing and their mutual influence has fueled his long history of research and exploration. Recent performance collaborations: EX/BODY wake, dam, steel - Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak, Of Whales, Time and Your Last Attempt to Reach Me…- with Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak, Sword-fighting and Other Things to Do With Your Manhood, Volledig with Rob Welcher, And We Shall Be Rid of Them with Molly Shanahan. Recent solo work: Verge: at the gilded edge of loss... Hollins University, Verge: the edge of chaos and becoming Northwestern University. Recent design: Marginalia - Khecari, Dance For Life Finale – Randy Duncan, I’m Fine – Peter Carpenter, Iyami - Qudus Onikeku, When Bodies Ring - Peter Carpenter, Surfacing - Margi Cole, This Is (Not) My Body - Wini Haun
LIVIU PASARE / Projection
Liviu has a Chicago-based practice creating works and visual experiences using new media and technology. He works as a video designer, cinematographer, editor, and animator, and has produced, directed and performed for live multimedia experiences. He has been affiliated with theaters and artists such as Luftwerk, Collaboraction, Redmoon, Manual Cinema, Victory Gardens, Blue Man Group, Lucky Plush, Claudia Hart, Maria Marshall, Takao Kawaguchi. This is his fourth collaboration with The Seldoms.
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