General Mischief Dance Theatre to Present World Premiere of UP AND AWAY, 10/11
General Mischief Dance Theatre presents the World Premiere of Up and Away - Dances for all Hours. Performances will take place on October 11 at 1pm and 6pm at the Goldman-Sonnenfeldt Family Auditorium, JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC. Tickets are $25 ($20 in advance, $15 for students and seniors, $10 for children 10 and under) and are available at www.BrownPaperTickets.com or by calling (212) 714-4694.
The program highlight is a collaboration with actor and sculptor Kevin Reese, who shares his talents with schools and communities across the country. Reese will be designing and making an overhead mobile that General Mischief will assemble and then elevate in the course of the dance. Thanks to generous support from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the mobile he produces is going to be built in Washington, D.C. by hundreds of volunteers as part of the Atlas Arts Center's "Mobilizing Our Community" project. More information about the project can be found here: www.atlasarts.org/mobilizing-our-community.
The piece is set to music by flautist/composer Donna Viscuso from San Francisco. Choreographer Emily Smyth Vartanian will use some of Viscuso's songs from Vnote as well as a score Viscuso wrote with General Mischief in mind, called Milo's Ballet. The process will be guided by creative consultant and director Amanda Friou.
General Mischief Dance Theatre is dedicated to reinforcing the power that joy and laughter have in communicating ideas. The company's mission is to create and present theatrical dance works that engage audiences emotionally, socially, and kinesthetically. Combining aerial work with more earthbound forms of movement, the company removes spatial and physical limits from theatrical dance.
The program will also include a new suite of dances, The Love Trio, featuring the music of Paul Tillotson and Suite Shel, a one-act suite of dances inspired by the poems of Shel Silverstein, choreographed by Madeline Hoak, Celine Rosenthal, and Emily Smyth Vartanian, and set to the music of Lizzie Hagstedt. The cast includes Jane Abbott, Ellen Henry, Madeline Hoak, Wendy Lechuga, Saki Masuda, Jaisson Restrepo, Andrea Steiner, and Emily Smyth Vartanian.
Amanda Friou is a Brooklyn based director and multidisciplinary artist whose highly theatrical and intellectually rigorous work is distinguished by the organic and inclusive process by which she develops productions. She is particularly interested in non-traditional creative collaborations. Favorite directing projects include the NY premiere of Naomi Wallace's No Such Cold Thing and a site specific production of Martha Boesing's Pimp which she also designed. She has worked nationally at ART, La Jolla, CTG, The Guthrie, Asolo Rep, Geva Theatre Center, and the University of Iowa, and in NYC for Ars Nova, NYU, HERE, and Second Stage; including assisting directors Jo Bonney, Henry Wishcamper, and Tony winner Warren Carlyle. An accomplished puppet builder, she also frequently collaborates with puppeteer Basil Twist. In 2013, her production of Avenue Q was a KCACTF honoree. Friou is a 2011 Drama League Fall Directing Fellow, and is devising a puppetry infused dance/theatre piece as one of their 2015 Resident Artists. She is also a member of the 2015-2016 St. Ann's puppet lab where she is collaborating with puppeteer Kate Brehm on an abstract puppet show about technology and theoretical math. Proud alum of Macalester College. Member SDC.
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.
Emily Smyth Vartanian is a lifelong dancer and has produced dance events for over fifteen years. She loves moving, telling stories with movement, and merging different dance vocabularies to tell each story in the most effective way. Her training facilitates this multi-lingual approach; she is a graduate of the Dance Concentration in the World Arts and Cultures program at UCLA as well as a student of Ann Reinking's Broadway Theatre Project, the Diavolo Intensive workshop, and the Oakland Ballet. Her choreography has been presented nationally at venues ranging from the Freud Playhouse, Kaufman Hall, Highways Performance Space, and the House of Blues Sunset Strip in Los Angeles to Manhattan Movement and Arts, the JCC, Alvin Ailey, the Connelly Theater, Theater for the New City, The Zipper Theater, Medicine Show Theater, and the Kumble Center for the Performing Arts in New York. Her work ranges from more grounded contemporary movement and body music to the airborne styles of Lindy Hop and rope harness and bungee. As a producer, she is a graduate of multiple Commercial Theater Institute programs, including the 14-Week Program, as well as a member of the production team for the 2009 Frankie 95 Celebration at the Manhattan Center and the New York residency of Kybele Dance Theater among other projects. 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.
Paul Tillotson is an acclaimed jazz pianist and has been celebrated for many successes - from his self produced recordings to his live shows. He's performed across America with such renowned performers as Gene Harris, Lynn Seaton, Vernel Fournier, Mike Merritt (Conan O'Brien Show), James Wormworth (Conan O'Brien Show), Lew Soloff (Blood, Sweat & Tears), Chris Minh Doky, Luther Hughes, Paul Kreibich, Matt Wilson, Aton Fig (David Letterman Show), Shawn Pelton (Saturday Night Live Band), Mark Pender, Jerry Vivinno, Red Hollaway, Jimmy Norman (The Coasters), Ernie Watts and Dispatch. Paul has performed his music in The Montreux Jazz Festival, The Den Haag Jazz Festival, The Jazz in the Canyon Festival, The Gene Harris Jazz Festival, Sun Valley Jazz Jamboree, The Rochester International Jazz Festival, and Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble.
General Mischief Dance Theatre was founded informally in 2004 as an artistic collaboration between performer/choreographer Emily Smyth Vartanian, rigger/lighting designer Mark Baker and sound designer/choreographic advisor Adam Vartanian. The company was formally incorporated in 2008 in the interest of actively producing theatrical dance pieces 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 events at Manhattan Movement and Arts Center, The Connelly Theater, Theater for the New City, New York City Center Studios, and The Zipper Theater, amongst other venues. They have also been invited to perform at the JCC, Dance Manhattan, and Brooklyn's Kumble Theater as well as numerous festivals and special events. The company has received multiple grants from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council to support the presentation of their interactive dance adventures. For more information, visit www.generalmischief.com.
Founded in 1989, the JCC's early volunteer programs included JCC Works, a citywide social action day involving over 500 volunteers who worked at schools, shelters, parks, AIDS residences, soup kitchens, and hospitals; The Gift of Literacy, a 10-year partnership with New York City's P.S. 75-Emily Dickinson School where volunteers mentored 2nd graders at-risk for reading; Partners for Literacy and Early Bird, where JCC volunteers read to children to stimulate interest and enjoyment of reading; and SeniorNet, a program bringing seniors together to learn computer skills. By 2000, the JCC offered more than 400 programs a year.The JCC's Samuel Priest Rose Building at 76th Street and Amsterdam Avenue opened in January 2002, enabling the JCC to better serve the community through its powerful design and innovative programming. The 137,000 square-foot, 14-story, state of the art building created opportunities to celebrate and participate in all aspects of life.
Photo Credit: John Abbott