What are the limits – or possibilities – of a sense of belonging amid rising fear and tension in an unsteady world? In her newest work, internationally acclaimed choreographer Colleen Thomas delves into the embodied experience of self, perception and connection in a climate of heightened political and social unrest. With a cast of dancers from Poland, Ukraine, Belarus and the U.S., but the sun came up and we were here asks if the expression of our individual essence, intuition and power can be the antidote to division in a fractured world.
“The beautiful and ominous mingle in thoughtfully poetic ways.”
~ Deborah Jowitt
Directed by Colleen Thomas
Choreography by Colleen Thomas with the performers
Music by Robert Boston
Lighting by Rebecca Makus
Costumes by Rachel Jones Bellas
Samantha Allen, Oluwadamilare (Dare) Ayorinde, Daniil Bielkin, Mikołaj Karczewski,
Krystian Lyson, Evgenia (Jenya) Romanovich, Krystyna Lama Szydłowska, Monika Witkowska, Darrin Wright
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Colleen Thomas (Choreographer/Director/Performer) is a New York-based choreographer and performing artist. She began her professional career with the Miami Ballet and went on to work with renowned contemporary choreographers such as The Kevin Wynn Collection, Nina Wiener Dance Company, Donald Byrd/The Group, Bebe Miller Dance Company, and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company among others. In 1997 a creative collaboration with Bill Young evolved into a company focused on rigorous physicality and dynamic partnering. Their work has been seen throughout the U.S, Europe, Asia, and South America. Now interested in focusing on illuminating her vision of contemporary work, Thomas has formed Colleen Thomas Dance. Thomas has presented her work in Hong Kong, Estonia, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, and Russia and in New York at Joyce Soho, Danspace Project, DTW, Dance New Amsterdam, The Miller Theater, Danny K. Playhouse, and The Kumble Arts Center, the 92nd Street Y, Governors Island, as well as at Cal State Long Beach, East Carolina University, and Minneapolis at the Ritz Theater, Southern Theater, and The New Guthrie.
Thomas received her BA in Psychology from SUNY Empire State College and her MFA in Dance from University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. She has been an adjunct faculty member at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus, The New School, Barnard College, Skidmore College, and Bates College. She is currently an Associate Professor of Professional Practice at Barnard College of Columbia University. Thomas is also the co-director and a co-curator of the LIT series at 100 Grand.
Samantha Allen (Performer) is a dancer and maker. As part of the Institut IDGAF, she makes live work and films with collaborators Devika Wickremesinghe and Chris Cascarno. She is a frequent collaborator with Colleen Thomas Dance, and has also worked with choreographers in New York City and Chicago including Katie Workum, Julie Mayo, Yanira Castro, Buck Wanner, Jessie Young, and others.
Rachel Jones Bellas (Costumes) has costumed film, theater, and dance in New York City since 2007. In addition to launching capsule collections, she has worked as a tailor and a re-purposer of vintage garments. She holds a BFA in fashion design from the Fashion Institute of Technology and studied theater at Atlantic Acting School. Rachel is a member of USA 829.
Robert Boston (Composer/Musician) is a pianist who regularly performs free jazz, contemporary classical, rock and electronic music. As a composer, Boston endeavors to fuse his eclectic experience, finding form within mechanical noise and functionality of harmony/melody for each specific dance piece or instrumentation. He has scored dances by Korhan Basaran, Diane Coburn Bruning, Giada Ferrone, Loni Landon, Lone Larsen, Jodi Melnick, Pietro Pireddu, Caitlin Trainor, and the Martha Graham Dance Company. Boston has appeared on NPR’s Front Row and at the Prospect Park Bandshell, the Joyce Theater, 92Y Tribeca, The Knitting Factory, The Stone, Rockwood Music Hall, and Pianos, among others. Formerly Principal Pianist for the Mark Morris Dance Group, he is currently Music Director at Barnard College Department of Dance.
Oluwadamilare (Dare) Ayorinde (Performer) is a graduate of Mason Gross School of the Arts. In addition to his work as a member of the Trisha Brown Dance Company, Dare has performed with Colleen Thomas, Bill Young and Kyle Marshall in New York, and has held an apprenticeship under Netta Yerushalmy.
Daniil Bielkin (Performer) is a dancer, performer, and teacher. Born in Ukraine, he has studied modern dance and choreography, most recently at the Kiev National University of Theatre, Film and Television. Belkin has performed, choreographed, and taught in a wide range of international settings over the past two decades. Recent projects include the International Festival in Moldova (teacher, 2011), “In four Hands” in Ukraine and Belarus (performer, 2014), “Lab Work 19.9” in Belarus (performer, 2016), and Dnipro Body Project in Ukraine (curator, 2016), among many others.
Since 2008, Mikołaj Karczewski (Performer) has worked in theaters in Poland as a dancer, actor and choreographer. He performed in pieces by Magdalena Piekorz, Monika Strzępka, Bartosz Szydłowski, Dominika Knapik, and Wojciech Klimczyk, and choreographed for works by Jędrzej Piaskowski (“Raj-Tutorial” and “Puppenhouse. Kuracja”). A graduate of The Ludwik Solski State Drama School in Cracow, Dance Theatre Department in Bytom (MA), his dances are based on contemporary dance technique. Since 2012, he has danced with an international company based in Denmark – Granhøj Dans. For his role in “Petrushka – Extended” (chor. P.Granhøj), he received nomination from “CPH Culture” as “best dancer for season 2015/16 in Denmark”. Since 2013, he has worked as a teacher of contemporary dance at The Ludwik Solski State Drama School in Cracow, Dance Theatre Department in Bytom.
Krystian Łysoń (Performer) is 28 years old with a Masters in acting and dancing in Academy of Performing Arts in Krakow. “‘I don’t know. If I have found the dance, or the Dance have found me’ – that’s the quote from Wall street journal, that I’m really proud of. I have to be honest, I love movement, every part of it and each of its representation, for me its a pure joy and essential truth hidden in every change. My goal is… to Be, and I think, that dance and body as an instrument is a way to grow as a human Being being a part of bigger structure. I found something unexpected for me in contact improvisation, small steps are creating a balance in weight of a sentence. Polarization and laws of physics between active bodies build a space for speechless relation. Timespace starts to be in both as one.”
Rebecca M. K. Makus (Designer) holds an M.F.A. from the California Institute of the Arts and a B.A. from Smith College and is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Kennesaw State University. Her work frequently includes custom designed and built light objects that are unique for each production. Her international work includes designs at Lyon Opera Ballet, Nuffield Theatre at Lancaster University, Opera de Monte Carlo, Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Sibiu International Theatre Festival. She has also worked extensively in New York City for over 10 years including shows at Lincoln Center, Mint Theatre, Dance New Amsterdam, Dance Theatre Workshop, P.S. 122, HERE Arts Center and D.R.2 Theatre.
Evgenia (Jenya) Romanovich (Perfomer) was born in Grodno, Belarus, Evgenia Romanovich is an actress and puppeteer. She trained at the Belarusian State Academy of Arts under Vladimir Gromovich. She is a principal actress with Grodno Regional Puppet Theater. Romanovich has performed at and participated in many workshops, festivals, and forums, including: International Festival Zawirowania (Poland, 2009); Festival of Puppet Theaters (Poland, 2011), Festival Danse à Péronne (France, 2012); Lilia Burdinskaya’s “Dostoevsky in the head” (Russia, 2015), and Adeksandr Tebenkov’s “From Point A to Point B” (Belarus, 2017). In 2015, Romanovich founded the creative space DOM46 in Grodno, Belarus.
Krystyna Lama Szydłowska (Perfomer) is a Poznan, Poland-based performer, improviser, dancer, choreographer, and teacher. Her interests are focused around conceptual choreography preceded by in-depth research and expressed through all the necessary channels of communication with the viewer. She is interested in both innovative experiments and working with patterns from the past. She graduated from Poznan School of Social Sciences with a Bachelors Degree (majored in dance composition and techniques), Alternative Dance Academy 2015, 2016 and 2017 Art Stations Foundation by Grażyna Kulczyk scholarship holder, currently studying a Masters course in Choreography at Academy of Music in Łódź.
Monika Witkowska (Performer), born in 1994, graduated from E. J. Dalcroze Eurhythmics Section of National Secondary Music School in Czestochowa and Physical Theatre Studio at Silesian Dance Theatre in Bytom. She studied at the National Academy of Theatre Arts in Krakow, Dance Theatre Department in Bytom. In 2015 she held scholarships at the Dance Department of the prestigious Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen, Germany and at the Dance Theatre Department of Kibuttzim College of Education in Tel Aviv, Israel. She took part in research project focused on exploring Pina Bausch repertoire (project created through cooperation between Pina Bausch Foundation and Folkwang University). She was a finalist at the Solo Dance Contest at Gdansk Dance Festival (Poland) with the piece I fought piranhas, choregraphed by Maciej Kuźmiński. She has performed in pieces by Jacek Łumiński, Maciej Kuźmiński, Henrik Kaalund, and Anna Piotrowska, among many others. She has participated in many European dance projects, workshops and festivals.
Darrin Wright (Performer) is a Brooklyn-based artist, is a native of Los Angeles, California where he started tap dancing at the age of six. HIn 1997, Darrin joined The Bella Lewitzky Dance Company as part of its farewell tour. He received his BFA in Dance from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2002. Since graduation, Darrin has had the pleasure of working with the Metropolitan Opera, Susan Marshall, Terry Creach, Jane Comfort, Bill Young, Colleen Thomas, Yanira Castro, Jack Ferver, and Doug Varone, among many others. In 2009, he received a Bessie Award for his work in A Canary Torsi’s “Dark Horse/Black Forest.”
La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival
La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival continues to support La MaMa’s commitment to presenting diverse performance styles that challenge audience’s perception of dance by featuring performance/installations, experimental film screenings & public symposiums which address dance artists’ engagement with the current political climate, as well as honoring diasporic histories and legacy, ancestral inspirations and inter-generational dialogue.