Revival of SEEDS in celebration of Earthdance’s 30th Anniversary

SEEDS 2016 is an interdisciplinary arts and ecology festival gathering artists, community activists, scientists, spiritual leaders, permaculture practitioners, and more for ten days at Earthdance, an artist-run workshop, residency, and retreat center located in the Berkshire hills of Western Massachusetts.

September 16, 2016 – 5:00pm – September 25, 2016 – 3:00pm This year we are directly working with the connections between environmental racism, intersectional oppressions, power/territory, and privilege.

Through workshops, residencies, discussions, performances and artistic investigations, SEEDS aims to explore the potent space of art, allyship, movement practice, and ecology. By working with the connections between environmental racism, intersectional oppressions, power/territory, and privilege, SEEDS makes space for multiple voices and forms of participation while creating a space for embodied intelligence and collective inquiry. The festival is curated by Olive Bieringa, Margit Galanter, Hana Van der Kolk, Chris Galanis amd Melinda Buckwalter.

The festival includes:

WORKSHOPS with Benoit Lachambre, Sherwood Chen, Emily Johnson, Marbles Jumbo Radio, permaculture with Kay Caffaso + Will Shields.

20 local, national and international artists, activist and scholars will be in residence during SEEDS 2016 and include Bibi Calderaro, Cara Judea Alhadeff, Cindy Stevens, Colleen Bartley, Cristina Lella, Deborah Black, JoAnna Mendl Shaw, Joe Dumit, John Shade, Kelly Bitov, Laressa Dickey, marbles, Marlon B Solano, mayfield brooks, Melissa Tuckey, Paige Tighe, Pedro Alejandro, Stephanie Loveless, Valvalval Smith and Susana Matienzo.

SEEDS Mini-Festival Weekend -Friday eve, September 16th – Sunday, 18th which includes SEEDS Exchange -Sunday, 18th a resource, knowledge and skill sharing market.

Community Day Saturday, September 24th 12pm-12am with performances, workshops, research presentations, and dancing all day long. All are welcome! Donations collected at door. Please RSVP

Workshop Descriptions & Teacher Bios:

Transforming Notions of Presence with Benoît Lachambre Friday-Sunday, September 16-25

Dance may be practiced as poetic action, conscious stimulation, and creative dreaming. Benoît Lachambre does research on arousing the senses with support from weight and force. Through a radical pedagogical approach, he works with the body’s auto-direction centres. He invites participants to process and recognize the dynamics of interior and exterior movement, and enables a holistic understanding of the body and its environment. He works with participants’ alignment and imagination, inviting them to deepen and increase sensual acuity by becoming aware of the nature of gesture in a specific context, a living space. The goal is to open the mind while harmonizing stimulated internal spaces.

Benoît Lachambre has been evolving in the field of dance since the 1970s. He discovered the release technique in 1985–a kinaesthetic approach to movement and improvisation – causing a shift in his choreographic style. He devoted himself to an exploratory approach of movement and its sources, with the aim to seek the authenticity of the gesture.

His significantly radical approach is based on the awakening of senses, imagining the dreaming body transformating outside the notion of self, with the analyses of gesture in the context of a living environment. In his creations, he equally aims at modifying the performer’s empathic experience with the audience. Among those artists who influenced him the most are Meg Stuart and Amélia Itcush. Beyond his work as choreographer and dancer, Benoît Lachambre has gained a high degree of recognition as a teacher through his renowned workshops and classes that he has offered around the world for over 20 years. In 1996, Benoît Lachambre founded his own company Par B.L.eux in Montréal: “B.L.” for Benoît Lachambre, and “eux” for “them.” He continues to develop artistic encounters and dynamic exchanges, collaborating with numerous international choreographers and artists from different disciplines: Boris Charmatz, Sasha Waltz, Marie Chouinard, Louise Lecavalier and again with Meg Stuart and musician Hahn Rowe; with the latter he created one of his masterpieces Forgeries, Love and other Matters in 2003 for which he received the prestigious Bessie Award in 2006.

Benoît Lachambre is one of the major artists/choreographers of his generation, has created 15 works since the foundation of Par B.L.eux, participated in more than 20 others productions and was the choreographer of 25 commissioned works, for example I is memory (solo for Louise Lecavalier in 2006) andJJ’s Voice that he created for Cullberg Ballet in Stockholm in 2009. In March 2013, he created High heels too, a new choreography commissioned by the Cullberg Ballet. In 2013, Benoît Lachambre received le Grand prix de la Danse de Montréal 2013, for the work Snakeskins. In 2014, he received the ‘Best Choreography’ award from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, for Prisms, a Montréal Danse commissioned-work.Hyperterrestres, a co-production with French choreographer Fabrice Ramalingom and composer Hahn Rowe, had its North American premiere during the Festival TransAmériques in Montréal in May 2015. Lifeguard his latest creation will be presented during June Events in Paris on June 17th and 18th, 2016.

Second Natures with Sherwood Chen Wednesday-Sunday, September 21-25

This workshop includes: rhythmic studio training, sensory exercises, partnered movement research, and building personal and collective imagery to generate landscape-driven and/or landscape-derived work. We work with our direct senses, physical limits and sense memory towards a porosity between flesh, bone, imagination, and space, yielding impossible and/or newfound bodies.

Let’s track tension and interplay between dancing within a terrain and dancing a terrain. Let’s recognize the body as colony. To investigate strategies and performative yield of what it could mean to be danced by a terrain. Let’s admit identification as parasitic colonizer. To tread upon the dangers and values of a danced anthropocentrism.

How do we hone consciousness of our imported projections upon a specific land with which most of us have had recent and/or no history? How do we negotiate caution, hubris, and mutuality in the name of constructing individual and collective dances in nature?

Dress for the weather. Dress to sweat. Bring your curiosity and your inquisitive, receptive body.

Sherwood Chen (US/FR) has worked as a performer with artists including Anna Halprin, Xavier Le Roy, Min Tanaka, l’agence touriste, Sara Shelton Mann, inkBoat, Ko Murobushi, Grisha Coleman, and Liz Santoro. He co-founded the dance collaborative Headmistress with Oakland-based choreographer Amara Tabor-Smith. He has lead movement workshops internationally in-studio and in natural and urban landscapes in places including Ménagerie de Verre (Paris), Oficina Cultural Oswald de Andrade (São Paulo), Independent Dance/Siobahn Davies Studios (London), Centro Nacional de las Artes (Mexico City), Chez Bushwick (Brooklyn), Arlequi (Banyoles), and EDEN / Dock 11 (Berlin). For over twenty years, he has contributed to Body Weather research initiated by Tanaka and his associates.

Embodying Permaculture with Kay Cafasso & Will Shields Friday-Sunday, September 16-18

Explore and orient with the outer and inner grounds of permaculture as we develop vegetative swales and rain garden projects at Earthdance. Sessions will include: Permaculture Design Activities, Plant and Nature Connection, Garden Meditations, Deep Ecology, and Movement Awareness for Gardeners and Permaculturists. Each session will offer resources of design skills and permaculture techniques to bring to your home.

Kay Cafasso is a certified permaculture designer practicing the thoughtful design of ecological landscapes. Kay is Director of Sowing Solutions Permaculture Design & Education, offering ecological garden design services for homeowners and land stewards. Sowing Solutions also offers Permaculture Design Certification Courses twice a year in Western MA, and has led over 20 Permaculture Design Certification Courses (PDC’s) to date nationwide over the last decade. Kay is inspired by contemplative practices in the gardens, and passionate about growing medicine and healing through music and dance.

Will Shields is a pupil of systems and their intrinsic relationship to other systems. Ecologically motivated, he weaves a myriad of subjects into a more integrated holism. By connecting the realms of music theory, herbalism, physics, living pharmacies, ecology, edible ecosystems, regenerative design, and bio-intensive gardening, he hopes to create a fabric of land management that enhances current systems at Earthdance. He also aims to facilitate environmental literacy while simultaneously broadening interest in systems design. The heartbeat of motivation for this avid permaculturist is a harmonious livelihood that cooperates with nature and builds a healthy community.

Earthdance Environmental Action & Performance Project with Will Shields Monday-Thursday, September 19-22

For the Earthdance Environmental Action & Performance Project we will be investigating simple earthworks by building a vegetative swale that will redirect parts of our current hydrological/irrigation system into greater harmony with the rest of our watershed. With an emphasis on community building/bridging, we will journey through a subtle demarcation between interdisciplinary performance and environmental action. All are welcome to come participate and perform simultaneously.

Wrecking Walden: Landing Stories with Marbles Jumbo Radio

A practice and exploration of belonging for people of color Friday-Sunday, September 16-18 (first weekend)

What does it require for us as artists, academics, and interventionists of color to feel into our bodies in a culture and place that has been historically unrepresentative of and inaccessible to us? What would our practice become if we did not side step the impacts of racism, but rather included our whole experience as we move, write, and perform/observe the marginalized body back into the landscape? What will it take to dismantle the scripts that, thus far, prevented certain experiences from feeling they belong here?

The curriculum, process, and discussions, will reference bell hooks’ Belonging: A Culture of Place and journal excerpts from Jumbo Radio’s ongoing community initiative. Some questions/prompts to feed our movement investigation and conversation: What does entering a zone of white flight require of our nervous systems and brains, and what does that raise in our embodied sensory experience? What soil amendments are needed for such restorative justice?

What knowledge, histories, fictions, desires, and memories of ours are left out of these spaces out of fear that they too will get appropriated/colonized? DO TELL/embody how complicated it is.

Marbles Jumbo Radio places the queered, marginalized body as a central subject through dance and physical practice. Their work has been presented in New York at HERE, Danspace Project, and Joyce SOHO, and in Los Angeles at REDCAT, Dance Camera West, Anatomy Riot, Pieter, and LACE. They are a 2008 CHIME grant recipient, and with mentor Simone Forti, they created the performance and practice of Ice Bergs. More recent projects include performance for Meg Wolfe’s New Faithful Disco, Andrea Geyer’s video installation, Truly, Spun, Never, and their on going collaboration with Yann Novak in Johanna Breiding’s installation, We Love Our Parents, We Fear Snakes.

Activating Allyship with Aiyana Masla, Hana van der Kolk & Margit Galanter Friday-Sunday, September 16-18 (first weekend)

Alongside with and in support of Marbles’ Jumbo Radio’s workshop Wrecking Walden, Aiyana Masla, Hana van der Kolk, Margit Galanter, and a team of facilitators offer a concurrent forum on white privilege and allyship specifically for the context of SEEDS and Earthdance. We will break down the basics of white privilege and bare witness together to the historical and current white supremacy in contemporary dance/art, science, academic, and environmental activist spaces, paying particular attention to environmental racism and the intersectionality of racism, classism, and ecological crisis.

Drawing from conscious communication, embodiment and mindfulness practices, as well as the Internal Family Systems therapy model, the workshop leaders will then facilitate a non-hierarchical space for sharing, listening, and skill exchange around how, as artists, environmentalists, academics, activists, teachers, and community members, we might continue or begin to activate allyship in our personal and professional lives. How does the radical space of not-knowing required of us as artists offer tools for new ways of thinking and acting outside our art practices? What can movement and awareness in our lived body offer to this understanding?

Anyone identifying as an ally or committed to the possibilities therein, regardless of race, is welcome to join.

Aiyana Masla is a mover, educator, writer, musician and performance artist. She recently spent time as a resident artist in Ashfield, MA with Double Edge Theater, co-creating and training in the physical theater lineage of Jerzy Grotowski and Rena Mirecka. Aiyana is dedicated to working with the imagination and the body to deconstruct systems of oppression and injustice. Focusing her work with young people, she often works using mindfulness techniques, MBSR, and physical theater training in the tradition of Grotowski’s Laboratorio. Aiyana’s undergraduate thesis from Naropa University is a case study done with families immigrating from Mexico to cities in Colorado on nature deficit disorder, contemplative education and exercises designed to empower imagination and self reflection. She has worked with youth and children internationally, most recently creating performance art with youth at the Paulo Freire Social Justice School, The Youth Ambassadors program, and with Moonseed Teen Leadership Program, where she has been an assistant director for 4 years. She works curating events, performing and in a lab exploring various movement based artistic training techniques and relational practices as a part of the movement collective, Aorta. She also performs original work with the Royal Frog Ballet. Aiyana grew up back and forth between rural western MA and rural Jalisco, Mexico, and brings this cross-cultural background to her work as a white, jewish, queer, cis gendered woman committed to collaborating towards healing and justice for all people. She also works with Migrant Education foundation, teaching ESL, and is passionate about the natural world and all people’s place as a part of it.

Hana van der Kolk makes dance-centric performances, events, videos and writing that investigate community/collaboration and how thought shapes moving, how moving shapes thought, and how being thoughtful movers might positively destabilize our notions of gender, sexuality, work, nature, power, and politics. She is a graduate of the Level 1 training in IFS (Internal Family Systems) therapy, a dedicated meditator in the Insight Meditation Tradition, and a practitioner of sexual healing work encompassing elements of massage, mindfulness, and BDSM. Hana is based in Troy, NY where she is a contributing facilitator of communityLAB, an organization that offers workshops that challenge participants to identify and let go of self-limiting beliefs that hold them back from stepping into the role of change agent. She also co-hosts Troy’s bi-monthly queer dance party, Polly, which acts as a fundraiser for a different Capitol Region initiatives. Hana has taught dance, performance, and yoga internationally and collaborates with numerous activists and artists including Shanna Goldman, Tomislav Feller, Asher Woodworth, Ethan Keirmaier, Guy Schaffer, Jane Pickett, Tove Sahlin, Winnie Superhova, Jason Martin, LN Foster, and Jack Magai.

Margit Galanter is a movement investigator and dance poet living in Oakland, California. Her inquiries range from performance, teaching, and her private practice to galvanizing larger-scale cultural praxes. Margit’s unique perspective helps people access the potencies of movement, — through the movement arts, the Feldenkrais Method, and Chinese energetics. Margit is dedicated to the prisms of cultural inquiry, conversation, perceptual vibrancy, and nourishing life. Margit was Co-Director of Earthdance from 2006-2009, where she co-founded SEEDS and the Julius Ford/Harriet Tubman Healthy Living Project, an annual intergenerational, interracial critical arts symposium, and continues to instigate projects that meld collective thinking and embodied research in the Bay Area and inter/nationally.

Practice Site: *

Margit and Hana are co-curators of SEEDS 2016. They worked collaboratively to organize a symposium on Embodying Allyship at the Form-In-Question / Dance Improvisation Symposium at NYU this past January. They have a deep belief in the importance of radical presence and unknowing inherent in their dance/art practices, and how these lead us towards the complex, powerful work of recognizing and dismantling white supremacy and learning to become intelligent allies in this process.

Conjuring Future Joy with Emily Johnson - Saturday, September 17 only

We will conjure future joy. We will let nothing exist. What do you want for yourself, your family, your neighborhood, your city? We will talk about this. We will come up with some ideas we can make happen. And we’ll dance. We will improvise movement and stories for and with one another; aware of what we believe about ourselves and what we completely make up. What joys have you experienced? Some stories will be voiced, some silent. (It’s the silent ones that are really exciting to me right now.) We will begin to be comfortable, really comfortable in silence. We will begin to understand and listen to silence. We will watch each other with keen interest, respect, and love. There will be a lot of watching, along with the doing. I told someone once that it might feel like watching a tree: you sit or stand or lay on the ground and watch the wind move through a tree; you notice it is green or brown and that it rests with the sky. (photo by Chris Cameron)

Emily Johnson is an artist who makes body-based work. A Bessie Award winning choreographer and Guggenheim Fellow, she is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and New York City. Originally from Alaska, she is of Yup’ik descent and since 1998 has created work that considers the experience of sensing and seeing performance. Her dances function as installations, engaging audiences within and through a space and environment—interacting with a place’s architecture, history, and role in community. Emily is trying to make a world where performance is part of life; where performance is an integral connection to each other, our environment, our stories, our past, present, and future. Emily received a 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award; her work is supported by Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, Creative Capital, Map Fund, a Joyce Award, the McKnight Foundation, and The Doris Duke Residency to Build Demand for the Arts. Emily was a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota 2013 – 2014 and an inaugural 2014 Fellow at the Robert Rauschenberg Residency. She is a current Mellon Foundation Choreography Fellow at Williams College. With her collaborators she recently completed the third in a trilogy of works: The Thank-you Bar, Niicugni, and SHORE. She is in the process of making Then a Cunning Voice and a Night We Spend Gazing at Stars, an all night outdoor performance gathering taking place on and near eighty-four community-hand-made quilts.

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