Experience a unique workshop led by Catherine Turocy…
Registration: Pre-registration recommended. Walk-ups for single week or double week enrollment welcome on August 20, space permitting, and single week enrollment on August 27, space permitting. NO option for single-day participation.
The workshop is in two parts:
Week 1/Part I: The Vitruvian Man Dances/Speaks. This 9 hour workshop over 3 days explores Da Vinci’s drawing and explanation of the microcosm/macrocosm.
- Class 1 will explore the pre-expressive state of the dancer’s body through movement exercises to music of the Late Renaissance and Early Baroque.
- Class 2 will explore fighting principles in fencing as a springboard for exploring early ballet technique. (The dancing master was often the fencing master and gentlemen kept fit for fighting through dance.) Dance exercises will alternate with stage combat.
- Class 3 will use the sphere of the Reverend Gilbert Austin as seen in his book, Chironomia, (1806) to explore expressive theatrical gesture in dance, especially the melodramatic dancing which later influenced early American modern dance.
Week 2/Part II: Dance Theory from the Jesuits leading to the “New Baroque.” This 9 hour workshop over 3 days explores 17th and 18th century treatises defining the perfect ballet, many of them written by Jesuit priests.
- Class 1 will explore concepts of choreography and performance from Jesuit dancing masters teaching in the colleges of Paris in the 17th and 18th centuries. Excerpts from the 1700 published dance, Les Folies d’Espagne, will be used as examples.
- Class 2 will look at three choreographers/performers who were known for their dance experiments: Françoise Prévost and Marie Sallé, her student, as well as Jean Georges Noverre who had danced and studied with Sallé. Using period descriptions of their performances for our improvisations, their link to Jesuit thought will become apparent.
- Class 3 will look at new applications of Baroque dance theory to create the New Baroque, a current trend in dance choreography/performance of today. Indeed, choreographers Trisha Brown and Lucinda Childs have used historical dance consultants in their recent modern creations for operas of Monteverdi, Rameau and Handel.
Some theoretical background:
Apollo’s Angels by Jennifer Homans is an impressive book. She comes very close to discovering the DNA of ballet and indeed some of the proof is in her first chapter. However, she does not recognize the clues uncovered in her own research. The roots of ballet and theatrical dance (including “modern”) are not in the courts of aristocratic Europe as many dance historians have declared, but, rather, in the concepts of the cosmografia del minor mondo described by Leonardo Da Vinci. On page 221 she recognizes that dancing master Carlos Blasis (1795-1878) read Da Vinci’s writings but does not ask the question, “Why?” In this workshop Catherine Turocy will share her current thought, based on 40 years of experience in researching and re-imagining Baroque dance for stage productions, to re-position our current perspectives on the origins of theatrical dance in Europe and to understand the New Baroque emerging from America and Europe. This new trend could revitalize ballet and ring in a new century for the classical form.
More on Yanira Castro’s COURT/GARDEN:
COURT/GARDEN is a new dance by A CANARY TORSI investigating the experiential shifts in an audience’s engagement with a dance: proximity, frame, participation. It started with the question of how early ballet moved from the French Court (an active participation) to the proscenium stage (a passive spectatorship)? Through choreographer Yanira Castro’s contemporary lens, A CANARY TORSI looks at theatrical conventions to consider their role in the experience of today’s audience.
More on DNA’s Artist in Residence Program:
DNA’s Artist in Residence program is an adaptive model in which each residency is designed in collaboration with the artist. Residencies can last three weeks or three years; they may culminate in a presented work in the theater or simply serve as an incubator for new ideas. Artists are selected for this program by invitation.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
a canari torsi
a canary torsi creates site-adaptable, installation-based performance projects. Formed in 2009 by New York choreographer Yanira Castro, a canary torsi invites audiences to participate in work that is anchored in live performance and extends into other media and online platforms. Ranging from formal movement and immersive audio installations to fictional Twitter feeds and interactive websites, a canary torsi explores the relationship between audience and event, developing scenarios where the audience’s presence dramatically impacts the work.