New Dance Alliance and Chashama Present WORKSession IN FOUR WALLS Next Month

The project runs February 22–March 23, 2023 at 1 Brooklyn Bridge Park.

By: Jan. 12, 2023
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New Dance Alliance and Chashama Present WORKSession IN FOUR WALLS Next Month

In this latest edition of WorkSessions, a project of New Dance Alliance, longtime colleagues Karen Bernard, Rachel Thorne Germond, Jil Guyon, and Lisa Parra present a series of installations and performances in a salon-like setting. Presented by New Dance Alliance in association with Chashama, WORKSession In Four Walls will take place at 1 Brooklyn Bridge Park, a waterfront gallery at 360 Furman Street (between Piers 5 and 6), in Brooklyn Heights.

WORKSession In Four Walls explores the possibilities created by artists sharing and comingling their individual processes in a salon-like community. All four artists are multidisciplinary and experiment with the intersection of the image with the body. Sharing a common vocabulary of dance, they explore different modalities within movement by combining it with visual art, film, video, sound, installation, and language to various effects. For this project, each artist takes a different wall to display their visual media with scheduled performances during the exhibition period, allowing new juxtapositions and unexpected connections to arise.

From Wednesday, February 22 to Wednesday, March 8 (1pm-4:30pm), the public is invited to view and interact with the artists as they develop and install their works. Performances will take place March 9-11 and 16-18 (Thursdays and Fridays at 7pm, Saturdays at 3pm). There will be a reception following the performances on Friday, March 10. On Monday, March 20 and Thursday, March 23 (1pm-4:30pm), audiences are invited to witness the dismantling of the installations.

Tickets for performances are available on a sliding scale from $5 to $25 and can be purchased at

Karen Bernard's Device Not Detected is a two-part performance work combining visual art and minimalist movement to explore the feminine mystique and aging. A commentary on the ways we perceive aging and its limitations, the piece incorporates humor, costume, music, and projection to explore darker themes of aging, uncertainty, and death-all with a touch so light it caresses. In Part One, Bernard, at age 74, is both performer and choreographer, using self-manipulated lighting and projection elements to create a space where gestures of collapse and struggle are juxtaposed with fluid and playful movement. The seeds of the work came as Bernard practiced falling and recovering. Part Two echoes Part One and uses spare, stark lighting on the body adding to the pared-down, essential movement as Bernard's body becomes a cinematic moving sculpture.

Karen Bernard is a choreographer and interdisciplinary performance artist based in New York City. She began studying dance at age three with her father, Steven Bernard, a company member with 20th-century dance pioneer Charles Weidman. During her career, Bernard has created introspective movement-based pieces that explore the contradictory labels assigned to the female body and women's roles in society. As both choreographer and performer, she creates emotionally charged works that challenge underlying assumptions about gender while interrogating spectatorship. Between 1986 and 1998, Bernard presented a series of solos in collaboration with DIA Center for Arts that went on to be presented at The Kitchen, Performance Space 122, Dixon Place, Danspace Project, and Dance Theater Workshop. Her work has also been presented at the Festival of New Dance in St. John's, Newfoundland, Women in Transition in Vienna, and Here Arts Center in NYC. Bernard has received support through residencies including Bogliasco, Movement Research, the Emily Harvey Foundation, Brooklyn Studio for Dance, Foundation Obras in Portugal, and Chashama. As the founder and director of New Dance Alliance, she performs, teaches, lectures, and serves on advisory panels across the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

In Memoir/Art/Dance, Rachel Thorne Germond examines her lifelong desire to combine multiple creative impulses, including journaling, dance, and visual art. The performance includes paintings and drawings along with a performed monologue and solo choreography. Using notebooks, small canvases, some projected via video, or framed on the walls and spread throughout the space, Germond immerses viewers viscerally, allowing them to touch and engage with the artwork and surrounding visuals.

Originally from Rhode Island, and the daughter of two painters, Rachel Thorne Germond is a performer, dancer, teacher, choreographer, and visual artist. Her early training in art was at RISD summer school where her father was a professor. In 1986 she received a BFA in photography and printmaking from Cornell University's College of Architecture, Art and Planning. Based in New York City from 1986 to 1998, she presented her choreography at such notable venues as Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church, Dixon Place, and Joyce Soho, among others. In 2000 she received an MFA in choreography from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, and soon after founded her Chicago-based company, RTG Dance. Since returning to New York in 2014, she has continued to perform and present multidisciplinary performances that incorporate visual art, dance, video, and photography. Germond currently lives and works in both Brooklyn, NY and the Monadnock region of New Hampshire.

Jil Guyon's WIDOW is an installation wall comprised of material derived from a collection of solo movement-based works made for stage, screen, and print. In each creation the Widow character explores the contours of grief and transcendence through ritualized gesture. Her defining black dress, heels, and unfurling belt form a visual leitmotiv that sets the stylistic and emotional tone throughout the series. Merging autobiography, strangeness, poetry, and catharsis, the series/installation is an offering of mourning, empathy, and deep embodiment amid the cascade of crises we collectively face.

Jil Guyon is a multidisciplinary visual and performance artist. Her work has been presented at theaters, cinemas, museums, galleries, and concert halls worldwide, including Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, Queens Museum, Museum of the Moving Image, and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. As part of the Toronto Urban Film Festival, curated by filmmaker Guy Maddin, her performance video, Widow, was screened throughout the Toronto mass transit system, averaging over two million viewers per day. She has collaborated and performed with many notable artists such as video/performance pioneer Joan Jonas, choreographer Noémie Lafrance, vocalist Helga Davis, and singer/songwriter Amanda Palmer (Dresden Dolls). Guyon is a Lumiere Prize nominee and the recipient of numerous awards in experimental film. She holds an MFA in painting and art history from Hunter College.

Lisa Parra's work explores the parallels between memory, erasure, and immigration as embodying identities while using digital and analog technologies as a reference point to create postcolonial portraits. These portraits are influenced by cultural surroundings and orientation- generating works that use archival materials to reimagine and trace physical, social, and political histories.

Lisa Parra is a first-generation Mexican-American dance artist based in NYC. Most recently, Parra was a 2020-2021 New Dance Alliance Satellite Artist Resident, a 2017-2019 Artist in Residence at Movement Research, supported by the Mertz-Gilmore foundation, as well as a 2019 commissioned artist resident at Alkantara in Lisbon, Portugal. In the spring 2020 she was invited to teach at UCLA's World Arts and Culture/Dance Department as a Movement Research Exchange artist. Her work has been presented in New York at New Dance Alliance, Movement Research, Center for Performance Research, and Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center. Internationally, her work has been presented in Portugal, Spain, and Mexico. She has received support and residencies from Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center in Troy, NY; Center for Arts and Architecture in Guimaraes, Portugal; DeVir CAPAa in Faro, Portugal; Media-Lab Prado in Madrid; and at Bilbao Eszena in Bilbao, Spain. In addition, since 2013, Parra has had an ongoing collaboration with Portuguese media artist Daniel Pinheiro called the LAND project. This research project focuses on embodied presence via the Internet for developing and performing work from remote locations.


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