PRACTICES – WEEK 1
ALTERNATIVA > GUT Motives
January 6-10, 2020
GUT Motives is an alternative dance class and ongoing research by ALTERNATIVA investigating corporeality from internal impulse to external expression. Exploring states and acts of motion through a hybrid of traditional, contemporary and alternative forms in order to utilize embodiment and motion as means of perception, intuition and action. Deepening awareness and understanding of the body by working with energy, touch, somatic improvisation, technical modalities and three-dimensional choreography. The class is an intimate, animated arena for physical and creative exploration, deeply informed by live, original music, and encouraging sensate virtuosity, kinetic efficiency, interactive intelligence and performance-level dancing.
ALTERNATIVA, directed by dancer Kathleen Hermesdorf with musician Albert Mathias, is an apparatus for deeply integrated contemporary dance and music via collaboration, creation, improvisation, performance, production, curation and education. Active in San Francisco since 1998, the organization supports the creative work of the directors, known for radical dance classes, performance projects and musical endeavors delving into the corporeality and ineffability of human conditions, behaviors and other curiosities. Activities, including an annual FRESH Festival, ongoing classes and workshops in the Bay Area, residencies at universities, festivals and studios worldwide engage an extensive population of artists, audiences and participants. ALTERNATIVA is fiscally sponsored by Dancers’ Group and has received support from the Zellerbach Family Foundation, the William + Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Fleishhacker Foundation, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Dancers’ Group’s Matching Grant and CA$H Grant, CHIME/MJDC, the San Francisco Arts Commission, The Suitcase Fund and individual donations. www.la-alternativa.us | www.freshfestival.org
Kathleen Hermesdorf is an international dance artist, educator and producer based in San Francisco. She directs ALTERNATIVA, with musician Albert Mathias. Hermesdorf has been dancing in the Bay Area since 1991 and teaches, performs, improvises, creates and curates around the world. Her work has been presented in the Bay Area, New York, Seattle, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Dakar, amongst other locations, in commission for universities, companies and independent dancers, and in collaboration with art partners worldwide. She was a member of Bebe Miller Company, Contraband/Sara Shelton Mann and Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, and co-director of Hermesdorf & Wells Dance Company with Scott Wells and Collusion with Stephanie Maher. She is the co-director, with Maher, of PORCH summer school at Ponderosa in Stolzenhagen, Germany, and of WILD [West Cork Contemporary Dance Festival] with Tara Brandel, in Ballydehob, Ireland. Hermesdorf brings over 20 years of experience from the field, studio and stage to her work and holds a BFA and an MFA in Dance Performance + Pedagogy.
Albert Mathias is a multi-disciplinary musician based in San Francisco since 1991. He creates and performs composition and sound design for dance, theater, film, video and audio mediums, and is the music director of ALTERNATIVA, with director/dancer Kathleen Hermesdorf. He was a member of Bebe Miller Company and Contraband/Sara Shelton Mann, and has created original sound scores for myriad dance companies. In 2000, he was nominated for an IZZIE Award with ALTERNATIVA and received a BESSIE Award in 2006 with Bebe Miller Company. Mathias has produced 15 records of original music and collaborated in numerous bands, most notably LiveHuman, an internationally acclaimed trio with DJ Quest and bassist Andrew Kushin. Mathias attended California Institute of the Arts, training in tabla, voice and accompaniment, and has had the honor of private study with Pandit Swapan Chauduri, Sri Ravi Bellare and Tony Williams. His eclectic sounds can be found on I-Tunes, Bandcamp and CD Baby. Relocated to Mazatlán, Mexico in October 2019, Mathias now works with Delfos Danza Contemporanéa and their school, EPDM, as well as continuing with ALTERNATIVA.
REGISTER TODAY AT FRESHFESTIVAL.ORG/PRACTICES
Abby Crain > Discomfort Camp
January 6-10, 2020
What can be learned, digested and transformed when we trade euphoria for attentive curiosity about what doesn’t feel right? Inspired by Sara Ahmed’s thinking on the generative nature of discomfort, as a way to “abide differently”, we tap into the wealth of our resources as sensate and perceptive beings and work to unleash the genius and furor of our inner “feminist killjoy”. Alongside this process we keep asking ourselves – How is pleasure also a part of this project? We will work singly and together through movement for sure, and possibly writing, listening, drawing, seeing, feeling, speaking, chanting, singing, and “hard play.”
Abby Crain makes things that should probably be called dance because they work with the body, movement, time and space, but as she is not interested in virtousity or choreography as much as she is interested in fucking with what is expected from the body, time, space, and reality, she calls it body based performance. Her teaching practice stems from 25 years of obsessive research and experimentation with the body and its consciousnesses and possibilities, in which she is equal parts committed to expanding the range, power and dynamism of our moving bodies and a belief that doing so can be a pleasure based practice of care and attention that cultivates resiliency and connection. Her work sources from her committed studies of Open Source forms with Stephanie Skura, as well as extensive study, practice and performance with both Sara Shelton Mann and Miguel Gutierrez. Abby is a student of Biodynamic Cranio Sacral Therapy, and is currently pursuing her MFA through University of the Arts in Philly, with research centering around the “Problem of Emptiness” in body based practices as viewed through a feminist, anti-racist and pro-earth lens.
REGISTER TODAY AT FRESHFESTIVAL.ORG/PRACTICES
Keith Hennessy > Dancing Magic Together
January 6-10, 2020
Dancing Magic Together
A five-class series exploring the poetics, politics, and potentials of creating a shared world by dancing together. Working mostly in duets but also solo, trio, group, we enter a laboratory of making and unmaking. We will dance more than talk supported by ritual technologies of divination, ancestors, elements, care, and prayer. We’ll consider the symbolic and metaphoric aspects of dancing together as well as the real intimacy of what is happening right here and now. Engaging decolonial and queer-feminist practices of consent and collaboration this will be a futurist laboratory that knows that another world is possible and it will be improvised.
Magic involves poetic and embodied action in a ritualized context to influence both consciousness and material realities. The pretend influences the real. Working with dancing, somatics, tarot, and spell crafting we will create a laboratory of activist magic. We’ll include indigenous land acknowledgement as a necessary act of healing, education, and respect. How can bodies and imaginations be decolonized and healed? How can dancing respond to anxiety and trauma? What are the potentials and pitfalls of wicca on colonized land? How do we develop tools for non verbal and improvised negotiations of consent and collaboration? All this while deepening the desire to move; to feel and learn and express through dancing.
The class will draw on Keith’s ongoing work including dancing objects, fake healing, negotiating power, while prioritizing intuitive and embodied responses to political crises.
Keith Hennessy, MFA, PhD, is a dancer, writer, choreographer, activist, and ritualist. Raised in Canada, living in San Francisco since 1982, he tours internationally. Prioritizing collaboration, often across lines of difference, Keith’s collaborators since 2016 include Snowflake Towers (Yoeme, Mayan), Peaches, Meg Stuart, Scott Wells, Jassem Hindi, J Jha, Annie Danger, Gerald Casel, the punk band Hemorage, artist/administrator Alley Wilde, and the BIPOC collaboratives Blank Map and Circle X. Awards include Guggenheim, USArtist, Bessie, Sui Generis, and a few Izzies. Hennessy directs CircoZero, was a member of Sara Shelton Mann’s Contraband, 1985-1994, and is a co-founder of CounterPulse (formerly 848 Community Space). Keith teaches internationally at universities, festivals, and independent studios, annually at Impulstanz, Ponderosa, & FRESH.