General Mischief Dance Theatre to Present CONJUNCTIONS at Joan Weill Center for Dance
General Mischief Dance Theatre presents Conjunctions, an evening of collaborative works, as part of its ninth season of performances in New York City.
Performances will take place on Saturday, November 4th at 8:00PM and Sunday, November 5th at 5:00pm at the Joan Weill Center for Dance, 405 W 55th Street, New York, New York 10019.
Tickets are $18 advance for adults/$22 at the door, $15 for students, seniors, artists, and military, $10 kids 10 and under and are available at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3102353. The venue is fully wheelchair accessible and ASL translation will be provided.
A performance composed of four collaborations between the General Mischief company, under the leadership of Head Troublemaker Emily Smyth Vartanian, and a diverse group of collaborators. These collaborators include choreographer Karen Gayle, composer Lizzie Hagstedt, actor/sculptor Kevin Reese, poet Sandra Susser, composer Donna Viscuso and the VNote Ensemble, and a live performance by the stunning musical trio YY Sisters! Two works are premieres and new elements have been added to existing collaborations, so there is something new to see in every work. Don't miss it!
General Mischief's fall season will include the premiere of the newly expanded Suite Shel including Karen Gayle's "Circle Road", featuring original music by composer Lizzie Hagstedt. Gayle's new work looks at how people choose from the different paths available in life, how others often point us in many different directions, and how those paths often lead the wrong way - away from joy. For the first time, "Circle Road" will be performed as an epilogue to the audience favorite "Suite Shel", a suite of dances inspired by the poems of Shel Silverstein, choreographed by Celine Rosenthal and Emily Smyth Vartanian.
Another program highlight includes Recreation, a collaboration with actor and sculptor Kevin Reese, who shares his talents with schools and communities across the country. Reese designed and constructed a 20-foot overhead mobile specifically for this work with the help of hundreds of volunteers from Washington D.C. as part of the Atlas Performing Arts Center's "Mobilizing Our Community" project in 2015 with support from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Recreation combines Horton-based movement vocabulary with the puzzle of assembling and elevating the 37-piece mobile sculpture during the work. Recreation is set to music by flautist/composer Donna Viscuso and performed by the Venezuelan-influenced VNote Ensemble.
Knotted, a collaboration with poet Sandra Susser, intertwines spoken word poetry with contemporary dance. The words, empty space, and dancers' bodies meld in a multi-sensory interpretation of the poem, highlighting the relationship between the language itself and the reactional and instinctual movements of the body.
The final premiere on the program is An Eastern West, an exciting dance and music collaboration with the YY Sisters inspired by traditional Armenian forms, celebrating folk music and dance inspired by those who keep their home country's art alive while away from home. The choreography explores the intersection of traditional folk dancing and contemporary movement, while the musical arrangements honor traditional songs but feature the YY Sisters' stunning vocal harmonies and updated instrumentation.
General Mischief Dance Theatre is a New York-based contemporary dance theatre company dedicated to reinforcing the power that joy and laughter have in communicating ideas. The company creates theatrical dance adventures that are playful, accessible, and often interactive. Under the artistic leadership of choreographer Emily Vartanian, Mischief cultivates multidisciplinary collaboration and inspires collective innovation. Mischief's goal to combine powerful storytelling with high-quality movement reminds audiences that dance is both visceral and visual.
Karen Gayle Originally from Toronto, Gayle received her early training from the Claude Watson School for the Arts, and received her degree from Ryerson University. After moving to New York, she furthered her studies at The Ailey School. Karen has had the honor of working with such choreographers as Earl Mosley, Ronald K. Brown, and three-time Tony award winner Hinton Battle. She has taught at Ballet Hispanico, The Joffrey Ballet School, The School at Columbia University, Horace Mann, New Dance Group, Central Park Dance and is currently a faculty member at Steps on Broadway, Montclair State University and The Ailey Extension. She has had the opportunity to guest teach and choreograph across the U.S. and abroad, including Canada, Mexico, Bolivia, Italy, Cyprus and Israel. As artistic director of the xodus dance collective, her choreography has been showcased at such venues as: The Ailey Theatre, Riverside Theatre, American Dance Guild Festival, DUMBO DANCE FESTIVAL, Movement Research at Judson Church, the Downtown Dance Festival, the Inside/Out Festival at Jacob's Pillow and the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto.
Donna Viscuso is an experienced performer, composer and educator who has been part of the San Francisco Bay Area music scene for over 20 years. Playing flute, alto saxophone and harmonica, Donna has performed, recorded and toured with many groups including The VNote Ensemble (formerly The Snake Trio); Jackeline Rago and The Venezuelan Music Project; Altazor; Wild Mango; the KTO project; Chelle and Friends; Violist Mimi Dye; Brazilian singer Adriana Moreno, Storyteller Diane Ferlatte and Chilean singer/songwriter Lichi Fuentes. She has composed music for several award-winning documentaries: My Home My Prison, Sex Is, and Chuck Solomon Coming of Age. Her compositions can also be heard on the popular "Living Books" collection of educational CD-Roms including The ABC Book, Green Eggs and Ham, Harry and the Haunted House and Arthur's Reading Race. Since 2001 Donna has introduced San Francisco elementary school children to multi-cultural music experiences through the Adventures in Music (AIM) program, sponsored by the San Francisco Symphony. Donna studied music at San Francisco State University and Laney College and traveled to Venezuela to further her musical studies. While there, she performed and recorded with several renowned musicians including percussionist Alexander Livinalli and members of the Fundacion Bigott (Venezuela's Folkloric Institute). In addition she has recorded with Venezuelan musicians Aquiles Baez, Gonzalo Grau, Marco Granados, and Leo Blanco.
Kevin Reese is an actor and sculptor, and he brings both those talents to schools and communities across the country. Since 2001, he has worked nationwide with thousands of children and adults to build over 150 moving pieces of public art. His one man show, "A Perfect Balance", inspired by the life of sculptor Alexander Calder, has been presented over 1200 times during 16 seasons of national and international touring to theaters, museums, and schools including the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Taiwan International Children's Festival, the Seattle International Children's Festival, and the RITEJ Festival in Lyon, France. He was also the Performing-Artist-in-residence at Philadelphia's Institute for Arts in Education, as well as New York's Southern Tier Institutes for Arts in Education in Binghamton, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany. With funding from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, he recently completed a series of community workshops in Washington, D.C. as part of the Atlas Arts Center's "Mobilizing Our Community" project that resulted in the production of over 50 mobiles to displayed in the D.C. community and beyond.
Sandra Susser's poetry follows the White Rabbit down the hole, as it tends to traverse subjects and styles, with the overarching goal of exploring and interpreting complex topics through a playful approach to language. Ms. Susser's previous collaborations include a series of projects with NYC-based Theater in Asylum, her favorite being their FIVEinASYLUM project in 2012. Her poetic (and personal) philosophy can be summarized by the poet Jack Gilbert, in his work "The Forgotten Dialect of the Heart." He wrote: "How astonishing it is that language can almost mean,/and frightening that it does not quite." She is immensely thankful to her husband for all of his support.
Emily Smyth Vartanian (Artistic Director/Head Troublemaker of Mischief) is a lifelong dancer and has produced dance events for over fifteen years. She is a graduate of the UCLA Dance/World Arts and Cultures program, the CTI Producing Program, DNA's Choreographic Investigation Course, Ann Reinking's Broadway Theatre Project, and other programs. Her choreography has been presented at venues ranging from Radio City, the Capitol Theater, Dixon Place, MMAC, Don't Tell Mama's, Theater for the New City, Proctors, the Kumble Center for the Performing Arts in New York, the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington D.C., to the Freud Playhouse, Highways, and the House of Blues Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. Selected performance credits include Weird Al Yankovic's Mandatory World Tour, the national tour of Forever Swing's "Zoot Suit", New York appearances with Above & Beyond Dance, Metronome Tap Company, Elise Long/Spoke the Hub, Above the Belt, the STREB Halloween Benefit, and Fly-By-Night's Aerial Dance Festival. She has been taught over the years by Rennie Harris, Keith Terry, Cheng-Chieh Yu, Diane Laurenson, Karen Gayle, and Dawn Hillen. She has also served as a producing consultant for many events including the Frankie 95 Celebration at the Manhattan Center, the New York residency of Kybele Dance Theater, and the 2006-2007 Drama League Directors Project Showcases. She takes great pride in the company's efforts to make each General Mischief performance a positive adventure for both the performers and the audience.
Lucy Yeghiazaryan (co-director of YY Sisters) attended the National Conservatory of Armenia as a child studying violin. After her immigration to the United States in 2003, she became a full scholarship recipient of NJPAC's Jazz for Teens program for six years. She is a graduate of William Paterson University with a degree in Jazz Performance and History. In the last decade she has become an active member of the jazz community on the east coast and performs regularly at various venues in NYC. In 2015 she was a finalist in the prestigious International Monk Jazz Competition. Lucy, along with her sister Tatev Yeghiazaryan, co-founded the vocal a cappella group YY Sisters. The trio aims to preserve the traditional folk music of ancient peoples by bringing new perspective and reverence to age old music. The scope of the group's musical selections is extremely extensive, and covers a great deal of historical ground. The repertoire includes works by Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi of the fifth century, to English medieval carols, and early American music. The group captures the listener with evocative, unique and modern arrangements while still being deeply rooted in oral tradition and early folk singing.
General Mischief Dance Theatre was founded in 2008 in the interest of actively producing theatrical dance works that reinforce the power that joy and laughter have in communicating ideas, as well as to encourage the natural human desire to express oneself through movement. The company has previously presented interactive performances in New York City at Dixon Place, Manhattan Movement and Arts Center, The Connelly Theater, Theater for the New City, Don't Tell Mama, the JCC Manhattan, and numerous other venues. The company has performed regionally at the The Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C., Proctors in Schenectady, NY, the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, NY, as well as at Radio City Music Hall, the Higher Ground Festival, Fly-By-Night Aerial Dance Festival, FABFest, Theater for the New City, and Brooklyn's Kumble Theater along with numerous other festivals and special events. The company has received multiple grants from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and The Alliance of Resident Theaters - New York to support this presentation of interactive dance adventures. For more information, visit www.generalmischief.com.