'A little dig'

mind map to new york

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

It started with a mind map and ended with a tour to New York. Three years ago we sat down together and worked out what we wanted to do and how we wanted to do it.

The key points were, we wanted to tour overseas with our own work and we wanted to do it by self-funding. The mind map had a tour of 4-5 cities, in the end we went to one. The idea to self-fund worked on an agreement to split our earnings from joint projects into thirds, one third each and a third into the pot.

The ‘pot’ allowed us to fund ourselves to do many small projects over the year by paying for a flight here or there, or paying for expenses whilst working. Over 2005/2006 we had a good run of work and managed to save close $7000.

Realising the overseas part took a lot of energy and persistence; David was the keystone for this. It took close to 6 months to make contact and convince the Movement Research Festival that we were legitimate and keen as mustard to get there. Uploading our work onto YouTube and being able to send MR the link was an important as it allowed the festival curator to see our work and make an informed decision. While we could have sent a DVD or VHS of our work, using YouTube meant that the material was accessible immediately. It also reduced costs for us as we were contacting a number of producers/promoters – all it requied was them having broadband access (which most do).

We couldn’t book our tickets until we had confirmation and we were heading into peak season. Accommodation had to be sourced and we were lucky enough be able to stay with friends whilst there. Thank you Rachel, Justin and Joseph.

Before leaving Australia we discussed applying for more funding and made some initial enquiries to the Australia Council (our advice here is to call and talk to them rather than email – after numerous emails back and forth there was confusion and annoyance on both sides) but in the end decided to do this own our own merits and without the extra obligation of acquittal. Also, it was unlikely we would be successful in gaining the funding on short notice and the whole point of saving was to avoid doing things like writing grants.

For studio hire in New York we used the Panetta Movement Centre which is a lovely light filled studio.
214 W. 29th Street
Suite 1001, 10th fl.
New York, NY 10001
It is cheap (US$12 an hour) and seems to have a broad community using it.

If you are going to tour to NY and need a studio try http://www.nycdanceplaces.org/

Performance in New York is divided, by those who know, into uptown and downtown work. We were told we are definitely downtown performance.

Performance venues to check out
PS 122 – www.ps122.org
St Marks – www.danspaceproject.org
The Kitchen – www.thekitchen.org
Joyce Soho – www.joyce.org
Movement Research (using the Judson Church and other venues) – www.movementresearch.org

If you’re keen to get over there we’d really encourage you to go for it. If you want some more thoughts or suggestions get in touch and we’ll tell you some more!

some photos from St Marks

Monday, February 5th, 2007

Rachel Roberts came and took some photos for us while we were in NYC performing at St Marks.
Here’s some low-res versions for you to have a look at.

Thanks so much Rachel.


the whirlwind that was

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

well, we had plans to update the blog while we were on the road but, needless to say, it didn’t eventuate.
the 6 days (that’s right, less than a week) of our first visit to New York was extremely full and didn’t really allow much time for sitting and writing. here’s a quick overview, more details to come about venues, etc.

after two days in Toronto being looked after by our friends we flew into JFK Airport at around midday. the taxi ride to manhattan is capped at US$45 and took us straight to St Marks in the lower East Village area. we had 2 hours of time in the space there where we were accompanied by some painters who repainting the walls. from there we went to the Panetta Movement Centre for 2 hours rehearsal time (of which I slept for 40mins or so) then headed to our accommodation. the next day we had some more rehearsal time at Panetta and a tech run in the evening where we met Kathy Kaufmann who was lighting the works for the festival as well as Bessie and Ishmael Houston-Jones from Movement Research.
our third day was spent wandering around New York. a stroll through Central Park, walking down to Times Square, a wee sojourn in Hell’s Kitchen.
then the first night of the festival. we were on the bill with Polly Motley and Miguel Gutierrez – Miguel will be in Australia in 2007 choreographing on Balletlab. our performance was in between Polly’s and Miguel’s. we’ve uploaded a video of the performance to YouTube which you can view here. we had an amazing response to our work that was a great acknowledgement, for us, of what we’ve achieved in our 10 years of practice. more on this in another post.
the following day we did some more walking around to see the sites as well as checking out some possible venues for touring in the future. we caught the Staten Island Ferry there (State Island of course) and back and got a great view of the city. went to two of The Strand bookstores, walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and caught headed in for the second evening of performance for the festival, which featured Daniel Lepkoff, Paige Martin, Chris Aiken and Marc Boivin. after a short visit to a Jazz club in Harlem we headed to our new digs for the night.

sunday was a little more relaxed as we caught up with people we’d intended to meet and then headed in for our second show – here on YouTube (my, you’re going to be keen to watch 40 minutes on such a small screen!). just an aside… we’ve put up long unedited excerpts (and in these two cases, full shows) for people to see because we want people to get some experience of what we do in real-time as opposed to what we could create through editing the work and providing a montage. there’s a tendency for people to show work that is a slick edit of a stage work, and that doesn’t really let you engage beyond the gloss of the edit. aside finished. after this show (to which we also received an extremely positive response) we went for dinner with some of the artists and staff at a local resteraunt.

our final day was probably one of the most hectic. we had arranged a few meetings and wanted to scope out some more venues so we really hightailed around the city before catching a cab to the airport after lunch. two car accidents on the route to the airport meant that we were quite late for our plane to LA but there was no problems. on the long haul leg (13.5 hours) from LA to Sydney we bought an upgrade to business class at the LA terminal at a very reasonable price. it was such a good thing to do – made a huge difference to how we experienced jetlag when we got home.

now begins the work of following up and trying to organise our next tour, which we hope to be a season of our own work.

we will post some more details about our experience soon – hopefully some of which will be useful to others looking to head over to NY to perform.

when you get up to the city, you better have some cash

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

In a couple of days we will be performing at the Movement Research Festival in New York, New York (the customs guy hassled Jacob about putting the city *and* the state on his visa waiver form… important stuff). US customs take two finger prints (left and right index) and a photo of you whenever you enter the the country. Lots of unpacking and repacking carry-on luggage being patted down and not being allowed to take more than 100ml of any fluid, gel or other liquid on board (isn’t a fluid a liquid?). This also meant not taking an empty water bottle to fill up on the plane. No problems anywhere though really, just time consuming and a little boring to go through. Also, when you look at it objectively, totally ineffective for anyone who’s determined. All the extra security seems mostly just to make people feel like something is being done.

Anyway, the festival is over three days Fri 8th, Sat 10th and Sun 11th of December, and features mostly US dance artists including Miguel Guiterrez, Daniel Lepkoff, Polly Motley, Chris Aiken, Paige Martin and Marc Boivin. Google them to find out more – you can also check the program at movementresearch.org

Circus Oz are in town while we’re there and we hoping to hook up with some of them to say hi. May even get to see the show if we’re lucky and can fit it in.

After a couple of days in Toronto’s -8 degrees temperature we’re looking forward to the balmy 6 degrees in New York.