It takes two!
Triskelion Arts, a Brooklyn based non-profit arts organization founded in 2000 is welcoming BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance and Mari Meade Dance Collective (MMDC) for two separate exciting and diverse performances.
Fellion, the artistic director and choreographer for the company’s production “Agawam,” is thrilled to be a part of the weekend. “’Agawam’ feels like an extension of ‘Home,’ a previous piece about finding home within the self and a journey of self-actualization,” she said.
According to Fellion, the show emerged out of her research into her own ancestors. “It’s named ‘Agawam’ because that’s the town that a large part of my family is from, where they immigrated to back in the post-Depression era,” she said. “I rooted it in my grandparents and great-grandparents as working class Italian-Americans families. It’s been because both my grandparents died last year.”
However, Fellion said she didn’t want the entire production just to reflect her heritage. “I don’t want it to feel like a personal story,” Fellion explained. “Immigration, the way everybody enters this country, is such an important process. Presently, it’s so important for us to honor and treat all immigrants with respect.
“I want audiences to have their own experiences and be able to relate to the piece wherever they’re coming from,” she also noted.
Fellion stresses that fans can expect great entertainment. “There’s a lot of fast foot work and this piece has a lot of motion to it,” Fellion said. “Everything moves quickly. Also, there is movement through the upper body that is sort of heavy and has weight to it because, when you see the faces of people who have worked really hard, there’s heaviness there and a fatigue from a lifetime of effort. The movement that has come out with this combination has been great.”
The dancers’ efforts are reinforced by the set and lighting. “We have images and objects from a home of that time period, “Fellion noted. “We have five dancers and two apprentices who have been involved in the process of creating the work, and the five dance artists performing the piece are fantastic.”
Also part of the weekend is “Thresholden” by MMDC, which is an exploration of coexisting worlds that is mysterious and inviting.
“We have a residency at Berlin and Lake Studios,” said Meade, the group’s artistic director and choreographer. “We’ve been working on it for a year. In the show, we’ve created a different and unusual world. I’ve done sketches of the world and they will be on display throughout the lobby. We really wanted to bring people into this space, bring the audience into this strange world of ours that we’ve been creating.”
So far, buzz has been positive for the unique show. “We did a preview in Berlin and even though it was a work in progress, we got a lot of great feedback,” she said.
Meade, who started her company in 2009, is happy to have the same talent with her for many years. “We rehearse year round with the same people and tour with the same people which creates opportunities for trust, risk-taking and trying new things,” she said. “I have nine different dancers and I pull from their talent. Getting feedback inspires the movement.”
The performance’s cast of characters—fantastical, hunched, textured, anthropomorphic—and their overlapping confrontations in an intricate web of existence are steadily revealed. Meade originally created this haunting work while in residence at Lake Studios Berlin.
“We originally talked about marginalized people, the visual of an old person that’s kind of hunched over crossing a street who might be ignored, might not be taken as full person,” explained Meade. “We are letting those people be seen and exaggerating different things we are seeing,” she said.
Triskelion Arts presents MMDC & BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance – A Shared Evening of New Work at the Muriel Schulman Theatre at Triskelion Arts, 106 Calyer Street, on Saturday, March 11 and Sunday, March 12 at 8 p.m. with a Families Welcome Matinee at 4 p.m. Tickets are $16 in advance online ($20 at the door) and can be purchased at http://www.triskelionarts.org/mmdc-bodystories-tfd.