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Kannapolis: A Moving Portrait

" Photo Joshua Black Wilkins

Kannapolis: A Moving Portrait
Jenny Scheinman, violin

March 4, Saturday
8:00 PM, Mahaney Center for the Arts, Robison Hall

Acclaimed composer, singer, and violinist Jenny Scheinman invites us into the captivating visual world of Depression-era filmmaker H. Lee Waters. Scheinman and her musical sidemen, Robbie Fulks and Robbie Gjersoe, create a live soundtrack of new folksongs, fiddle music, and field sounds to accompany Waters’s fascinating footage, now masterfully reworked by director Finn Taylor. The result is a reflection on “the gaze” both then and now; the evolution of mill towns; and a striking commentary on race, class, and the American experience. “Scheinman [has] a distinctive vision of American music, suffused with plainspoken beauty and fortified all at once by country, gospel, and melting-pot folk, along with jazz and the blues”—New York Times. Post-performance Q&A with the artists. Sponsored by the Performing Arts SeriesDepartment of Film and Media Culture, and the Committee on the Arts. The program is approximately 70 minutes with no intermission. There will be a Q&A after the performance. Tickets: Public $20, College ID holders $15, Students $6.

Funded in part by the Expeditions program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from the six New England state arts agencies.

LEARN MORE
Associated Events>> | Press Release>> | Video>> | Facebook Event Page>>

Associated events:

Glenn Andres: Middlebury as Mill Town

March 3, Friday
12:15 PM, Mahaney Center for the Arts, Dance Theatre

Professor Emeritus of the History of Art and Architecture Glenn Andres gives an illustrated lecture on Middlebury’s past as a center of mill industry. He will touch on the significance of the local textile and marble industries, their role in shaping the town, and the people whose lives were intertwined with them. Offered as partof the Fridays at the Museum series, and in conjunction with Saturday’s performance Kannapolis: A Moving Portrait. Free

Pictured: James Hope, Middlebury Falls, ca. 1850, collection of Henry Sheldon Museum

Gallery Talk: American Faces

March 4, Saturday
7:00 PM, Middlebury College Museum of Art

Middlebury College students give a brief introduction to the exhibition American Faces: A Cultural History of Portraiture and Identity in conjunction with Kannapolis: A Moving Portrait. The museum is open for pre-concert visitors from 6:00–8:00 PM. Free

American Flag of Faces Exhibit, Ellis Island, New York (detail), c. 1990–2011. Photographs in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

 

Additionally, Scheinman will visit Prof. Natasha Ngaiza’s Film & Media Culture class Sight & Sound I, and coach the independent study folk music duo of Milo Stanley ‘17.5, fiddle and Aidan O’Brien ’20, violin.

Photo by Erik Jacobs for NPR

 Video

Press Release

February 15, 2017

March 4 Concert Includes 1930s Documentary Footage of Mill Town Residents

Middlebury, VT— Acclaimed composer, singer, and violinist Jenny Scheinman invites us into the captivating visual world of Depression-era filmmaker H. Lee Waters in the multi-media performance Kannapolis: A Moving Portrait on Saturday, March 4 at the Mahaney Center for the Arts. Seasoned with bluegrass, county, and roots notes, this performance will take audiences on a journey back nearly 100 years into America’s industrial past.

Scheinman and her musical sidemen, Robbie Fulks and Robbie Gjersoe, have created a live soundtrack of new folksongs, fiddle music, and field sounds to accompany Waters’s fascinating footage, now masterfully reworked by director Finn Taylor. The result is a reflection on “the gaze” both then and now; the evolution of mill towns; and a striking commentary on race, class, and the American experience. Audiences can stay after the performance for a Q&A with the artists.

“Scheinman [has] a distinctive vision of American music, suffused with plainspoken beauty and fortified all at once by country, gospel, and melting-pot folk, along with jazz and the blues”—New York Times.

About the Performance

Scheinman developed this performance in collaboration with Duke Performances. She writes, “H. Lee Waters was a journeyman portrait photographer in Lexington, North Carolina, whose business fell on hard times during the Great Depression. He came up with another plan to make a living: make regular people into movie stars! He got hold of a movie camera and travelled to towns throughout the Piedmont region. He would film as many people as possible in public places, then return several weeks later to show the footage in the towns’ movie theaters…between 1936 and 1942 he worked tirelessly to create 118 movies, compiling one of the most comprehensive documents that we have of American life at that time.”

Scheinman began work on the project in 2009, writing over three hours of music for the project, and eventually narrowing her material down to one hour to match film director Finn Taylor’s carefully curated editing. These are America’s home movies. They contain a clue to our nature, an imprint of our ancestry. They were shot before Americans had sophisticated understanding of film, and capture truthfulness that one is hard-pressed to find in this day and age, now that we are immersed in a world of social media, video, and photography. These people can dance. Girls catapult each other off seesaws and teenage boys hang on each others’ arms. Toothless men play resonator guitars on street corners, and toddlers push strollers through empty fields. They remind us of our resilience, and of our immense capacity for joy even in the hardest of times.”

About the Musicians

Jenny Scheinman is a violinist, fiddler, singer, and composer originally from Northern California who has worked extensively with Bill Frisell, Bruce Cockburn, Ani DiFranco, Norah Jones, Madeleine Peyroux, Nels Cline, Rodney Crowell, Myra Melford, Robbie Fulks, and Mark Ribot, and has also garnered numerous high-profile arranging credits with Lucinda Williams, Simone Dinnerstein & Tift Merritt, Bono, Lou Reed, and Sean Lennon. She has taken the #1 Rising Star Violinist title in the Downbeat Magazine Critics’ Poll and has been listed as one of their Top Ten Overall Violinists for over a decade.

Robbie Fulks is a country singer, writer, and musician who has released twelve records on major and independent labels. Radio appearances include: NPR’s Fresh Air, Mountain Stage, and World Cafe; PRI’s A Prairie Home Companion; and WSM’s Grand Ole Opry. TV credits include Austin City Limits, the Today Show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Last Call With Carson Daly, and 30 Rock.

Robbie Gjersoe is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, songwriter, and occasional engineer and producer who has worked on a variety of musical projects wide-ranging in style and content for the last 30 years. He plays guitar, bottleneck slide, resonator, dobro, baritone ukulele, mandolin, nylon string, cavaquinho, viole, 12-string, lap steel, pedal steel, and bass.

Associated Events

Audience members can explore the themes of Kannapolis: A Moving Portrait further in two associated events: On Friday, March 3, Professor Emeritus of the History of Art and Architecture Glenn Andres will give an illustrated lecture on “Middlebury as Mill Town,” exploring Middlebury’s past as a center of mill industry. He will touch on the significance of the local textile and marble industries, their role in shaping the town, and the people whose lives were intertwined with them. Offered as part of the Fridays at the Museum Series, this talk will begin at 12:15 P.M. at the Mahaney Center for the Arts Dance Theatre, and will be free and open to the public.

Concertgoers can also enjoy the second associated event: a free, pre-concert gallery talk on Saturday, March 4 at 7:00 P.M. at the Middlebury College Museum of Art. Art history students will give a brief introduction to the exhibition American Faces: A Cultural History of Portraiture and Identity. The museum will be open for pre-concert visitors from 6:00–8:00 P.M.

Kannapolis: A Moving Portrait will be presented by the Performing Arts Series, the Department of Film and Media Culture, and the Committee on the Arts, and is funded in part by the Expeditions program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from the six New England state arts agencies.

Kannapolis: A Moving Portrait will take place on Saturday, March 4, 2017, at 8:00 P.M. at the Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts, in Robison Hall. The pre-concert gallery talk will begin at 7:00 P.M. at the Museum. The Mahaney Center is located on the campus of Middlebury College, at 72 Porter Field Road, just off Route 30 south/S. Main Street. Free parking is available curbside on Route 30 or in the Center for the Arts parking lot, in rows marked faculty/staff/visitors. Tickets are $20 for the general public; $15 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, alumni, emeriti, and other ID card holders; and $6 for Middlebury College students. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or go to http://www.middlebury.edu/arts.

—END—

Press Release Photos by Joshua Black Wilkins

The Ubiquitous Mass of Us

The Ubiquitous Mass of Us
Maree ReMalia | merrygogo

March 17–18, Friday–Saturday
8:00 PM, Mahaney Center for the Arts, Dance Theatre

Join Maree ReMalia | merrygogo for The Ubiquitous Mass of Us, an evening-length, escalating journey where nine performers from across artistic disciplines question the bounds of their identities. Moving in and around the set designed by visual artist Blaine Siegel, they explore the way they take up space. Watch them bare a broad range of physicality and newly discovered expressions to an original soundscore by David Bernabo. For all ages, seasoned performance goers, and those new to the theater. Sponsored by the Performing Arts Series, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/Movement Matters Program, and the Dance ProgramBuy tickets: $20 Public/$15 Middlebury ID holders/$6 Middlebury students.

Associated events:

March 14, Tuesday CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER
Gaga, Improvisation, and Repertory Experiments
3:00 PM-4:15 PM, Mahaney Center for the Arts, Dance Theatre
Participants will be guided through playful improvisational explorations intended to increase self-awareness and build group connection. Maree ReMalia and friends will then teach repertory material from The Ubiquitous Mass of Us, including movement, sound, and text that will be used as source material for experimentation in developing original, small group sequences. No previous experience necessary. Free and open to the public.

March 18, Saturday
Pre-show Warm Up with the Ubiquitous Cast
6:45 PM-7:15 PM, Mahaney Center for the Arts, Dance Theatre
Join Maree ReMalia and friends as they warm up for their performance. Free and open to the public.

Visit our Facebook event page>>

About the program:

Maree ReMalia | merrygogo
The Ubiquitous Mass of Us

Created by: Maree ReMalia in collaboration with the artists and performers
Performers: David Bernabo, Joseph Hall, Taylor Knight, Zac Lounsbury ’16, Moriah Ella Mason, Maree ReMalia, Jil Stifel
Anna Thompson, Rachel Vallozzi
Sound Design: David Bernabo
Set Design: Blaine Siegel
Costume Stylist: Rachel Vallozzi
Lighting Design: Michael Giancitti, Katie Jordan
Text: Gaston Bachelard, Corydan Ireland, Deborah Jowitt, Nicole Krauss, Starhawk, Elizabeth Streb
Videography: David Bernabo, Louis Cappa, Jeremy Fleischman, Paul Kruse
Premiere: June 14, 2014,  New Hazlett Theater’s inaugural CSA Performance Series

The Ubiquitous Mass of Us is an interdisciplinary performance work created over three intensive rehearsal periods throughout 2013-2014. In this escalating journey, with a hint of other worldliness, we question the bounds of our identities and the way we take up space – Who are we as individuals? Who are we together? How far beyond what we conceive of ourselves can we go? What are the myriad ways in which we inhabit space? What are the visible and invisible boundaries we create? How are these questions impacted by and connected to contemporary issues in a larger context? Here, we bare the complexity of our individual and collective identities through a broad range of physicality and newly discovered expressions that explore the liminal zones and hard lines between.

Running time: 50 minutes

Artist Biographies:

Maree Remalla

Born in South Korea and raised in Medina, OH, Maree currently lives between Washington, DC and Middlebury, Vermont. She travels frequently throughout the U.S. working as a choreographer, performer, and teacher facilitating movement experiences with individuals from a broad range of backgrounds.

merrygogo is her platform for creating project-based performance works with communities of shifting collaborators. In 2014, her interdisciplinary work, The Ubiquitous Mass of Us, was named by The Examiner as one of “Pittsburgh’s Top 10 Contemporary Dance Performances.” Her work has been commissioned by Gibney Dance DoublePlus Festival under the curation of Bebe Miller and has been presented in Cleveland Public Theatre’s Big Box and DanceWorks Series (OH), CKM&A Dance & Dessert (MD), Daegu International Dance Festival (South Korea), Dance Place New Releases Choreographers Showcase (DC), Kelly Strayhorn Theater Hear/Now Series and newMoves Contemporary Dance Festival (PA), LightLab Performance Series (PA), Movement Research at the Judson Church (NY), New Hazlett Theater Community Supported Art Series (PA), Summer Portraits (Israel), the Current Sessions (NY), and Three Rivers Arts Festival (PA). She is grateful to have received support through Dance Exchange Local Artist-in-Residence Series (MD), Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s Fresh Works Residency (PA), PearlArts Studios Artists-in-Residence Series (PA), and Cleveland Arts Prize Kathryn Karipides Scholarship, Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant, Greater Pittsburgh Artist Opportunity Grant, Heinz Endowments Small Arts Initiative, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency, and The Ohio State University Alumni Grants for Graduate Research.

Recent performance credits include Blaine Siegel and Jil Stifel’s Objects for Dance, Staycee Pearl dance project Playground, and appearances in the work of interdisciplinary artist, David Bernabo. She has performed the work of Bebe Miller, Ohad Naharin, and Noa Zuk. From 2003-2008, she was a member of Cleveland-based companies MegLouise Dance and MorrisonDance and previously the Richmond Ballet (1996-1997) and Southern Ballet Theatre (1995-1996). In 2013, she joined the cast of Chickens, a new play by Paul Kruse produced by Hatch Arts Collective.

As an educator, Maree facilitates classes in Gaga, improvisation, and creative process in academic, community, and conservatory settings. She co-facilitates Soma/Gaga workshops with Mark Taylor and is a visiting teaching artist with Colorado Conservatory of Dance and Dreams of Hope Queer Youth Arts. She has been invited as a guest teacher at Baldwin Wallace University (OH), Between the Bones Studio Collective (CO), Company E (DC), Evolve the Intensive (PA), Feverhead (OH), Inventing Earth (CO), Keimyung University (South Korea), Light Switch Dance Theater (MD), Ohio Wesleyan University, Point Park University (PA), Peabody Institute/Society of Dance History Scholars Special Topics Conference (MD), Prescott College (AZ), Towson University Community Program (MD), The Alloy Studios (PA), The Movement Factory (OH), Slippery Rock University (PA), University of Maryland Baltimore County and College Park, and Virginia Commonwealth University.

In 2011, she completed her MFA in Choreography and Performance at The Ohio State University and went on to earn her certification to teach the Gaga movement language through the first official Gaga teacher training program in Tel Aviv, Israel (2011-2012). She received her BA in Education for Social Change and Cultural Studies at Prescott College (AZ) and studied somatic and improvisational practices at Moving on Center School for Participatory Arts (CA). From 2015-2017, Maree is thrilled to join Middlebury College for the Movement Matters Residency as the Mellon Interdisciplinary Choreographer.

Maree is also a practitioner of the Ilan Lev Method, a Feldenkrais-based bodywork.

Artist website>>

 

Rotimi Agbabiaka: Student-Initiated Rothrock Residencies 2017

Rotimi Agbabiaka’s Middlebury visit is a student-initiated residency spearheaded by Akhila Khanna ’17, supported by the Rothrock Family Fund for Experiential Learning in the Performing Arts, established in 2011, which supports opportunities that broaden the scope of Middlebury students’ experiences in the performing arts. This residency is also supported by Chellis House–Women’s Resource Center, Women of Color, and Q&A: Queers and Allies.


March 9, Thursday
Type/Caste

Performed by Rotimi Agbabiaka

8:00 PM, Wilson Hall, McCullough Student Center

A queer, black actor dreams of a dazzling career on the American stage but first he’ll have to leap over obstacles placed by an industry that isn’t always welcoming to applicants who are neither white nor straight.  Based on Rotimi Agbabiaka’s real life experience as a professional actor, Type/Caste is a fast paced and humorous journey into the peaks, pitfalls and hallucinations of a young artist’s quest for success in a gentrified and commercialized industry. Agbabiaka shape-shifts from character to character and uses monologue, song, dance, and drag to embody, explore, and expose the battles minority artists fight in the exclusive world of mainstream American theatre. Hailed as “a spectacular, neon-drenched coup-de-theatre” by 48 Hills magazine. Agbabiaka’s Middlebury visit is a student-initiated residency spearheaded by Akhila Khanna ’17, supported by the Rothrock Family Fund for Experiential Learning in the Performing Arts, Chellis House–Women’s Resource Center, Women of Color, and Q&A: Queers and Allies. Free. Open to Middlebury ID card holders only.

March 10, Friday
Master Class by Rotimi Agbabiaka: Techniques of Telling your own Story

2:00-5:00 PM, MCA Room 232

Actor/writer/director Rotimi Agbabiaka offers a theatre master class for Middlebury College students following his Type/Caste performance the previous evening. Free. Middlebury ID card holders can sign up here>> to participate. 

Artist website>>

Artist bio:
Rotimi Agbabiaka was born in Lagos, Nigeria and moved to Katy, Texas at the age of fourteen where he stumbled upon a theatre audition while waiting for his mom to pick him up after school. He got cast in the pivotal role of “Hotel Clerk” in Douglas Carter Beane’s “As Bees In Honey Drown” and has never looked back.

After studying English, Economics and Plan II at the University of Texas – Austin, Rotimi reliquinshed all plans for future financial stability and braved the frozen cornfields of the mid-west to earn an MFA in Acting from Northern Illinois University.

He then moved to sometimes sunny San Francisco where he has performed in a variety of venues – from historical musical revues (Beach Blanket Babylon) to local parks (with the San Francisco Mime Troupe) to museums (The DeYoung) to reknowned regional theatres (Cal Shakes, Marin Theatre Company, Magic Theatre) to smaller local companies and the occasional nightclub.

He has written a solo play, Homeless, that won Best Solo Performance at the SF Fringe Festival, directed plays in the SF One Minute Play Festival, writes articles for Theatre Bay Area , and teaches youth theatre programs through San Francisco Shakespeare Company, Each One Reach One, and the SF Mime Troupe, where he is a Collective Member.