Woods, Byron, “Justin Tornow and COMPANY Look at Dance From Every Angle in No. 19/Modulations“, INDYweek Dance review, Jul 27, 2017
As part of the 2016-2017 DIDA season, COMPANY presents
No. 19 / Modulations
July 19 and 21 at 8pm: Live dance film 21c Hotel and Museum at the Bull Plaza
July 23 and 24* at 8pm: Live onstage 21c Hotel and Museum Ballroom
* = afterparty with set by DJ PlayPlay
Durham, NC – COMPANY premieres No. 19 / Modulations, a two-part multimedia performance incorporating dance, visual art, film, projection, and live music. One half public art, the other a staged dance performance, Modulations will provide audiences two opportunities to experience this new work.
● On July 19 and 21, Modulations will be presented live on film in downtown Durham. COMPANY performs for a multi-camera shoot directed by filmmaker Alex Maness at an offsite location. Audiences will view the dance through the eyes of a filmmaker, as in-the-moment decisions by Maness interact with the dance performance and, in a sense, re-choreograph the work. The dance performances will be live-streamed and projected by KONTEK Systems in Downtown Durham at 21c Hotel and Museum at the Bull Plaza, with live music by Del Ward.
● On July 23 and 24, Modulations will be presented live onstage at 21c Hotel’s Ballroom. Audiences will experience the work as choreographed for a stage in the round, accompanied by different live sound scores each night. On July 23, the work will feature collaborators Matt McClure and Lee Weisert. On July 24, Modulations will be accompanied by a live experimental synthesizer set by Jess Dilday (Playplay). A free afterparty will follow Monday’s performance, with a DJ set by Playplay.
An intricately layered choreographic work, Modulations allows collaborating artists and audience members the freedom to rearrange the elements of the work to create unique viewing experiences. Justin Tornow’s highly physical choreography explores composites and repeating patterns which, for Tornow, recall reflections in life and in nature. Light, projections, and mylar elicit the experience of engaging with reflective surfaces—in objects, in people, and through digital mediums. The work continuously engages with the notion that these mediums can be both reflective and obscuring, asking what do we get to see, and what do we miss?
Collaborations power this project. Modulations is an installment in a larger series of works Tornow has been making with visual artist Heather Gordon, working closely on expression of concepts and imagery. Gordon’s maps Dynamics of a Binary System and My Flow in 160 Iterations serve as source material for movement pathways in Modulations. COMPANY’s dancers play an integral role, charged with embodying both the movement language and the conceptual layers. Filmmaker Maness further interprets the dance through the camera. Musicians Jess Dilday (PlayPlay,) Matt McClure, Lee Weisert, and Del Ward participate in live dialogue with the work. A host of designers and consultants weigh in on all aspects of the production. The project is a network of ideas and voices—a network audiences are invited to join.
Modulations is in constant flux. Its dance, sound, and film elements align in ever-shifting patterns, a way for the audiences to experience dance at its most ephemeral. For Tornow, these playful changes serve to remind us of the present moment, an appreciation that no two instants can exist in the same way again.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
COMPANY is a small dance company based in Durham, NC. Established in 2013, COMPANY is currently comprised of six dance artists — Amy Blakely, Hunter Darnell, Austin Dixon, Kate Kyle, Jasmine Powell, and Glen Rumsey — who work with artistic director and choreographer Justin Tornow to develop new dance works. Collaboration is a key part of the work to date: COMPANY often works with visual artist Heather Gordon, filmmakers Michelle Lotker and Alex Maness, and musicians Matt McClure and Lee Weisert on performance projects. Since 2013, the company has presented four full-length works. COMPANY performs locally in Durham, regionally, and internationally, with recent tours including France and Italy. Tornow’s most recent project with Heather Gordon, ECHO , was commissioned by 21c Hotel and Museum, and will be featured in the museum’s collection through July 2017.
Justin Tornow is a North Carolina native, currently located in Durham, NC. She is the artistic director of COMPANY, a producer of the local artist series PROMPTS, and a co-founder and -organizer with Durham Independent Dance Artists (DIDA.) In 2010, Justin received an MFA in Choreography from UNC-Greensboro; she lived and worked in NYC from 2010-2013 before relocating to Durham. Justin was recently a guest artist at NC State University and part-time dance faculty at UNC-Greensboro, teaching studio courses in technique, composition, and repertory. This fall, she will be traveling abroad, doing research, teaching, and participating in a residency in Germany.
Jess Dilday is PlayPlay, Durham-based DJ, producer, music scholar, and activist. PlayPlay creatively interweaves nostalgic hip-hop and house classics into both their DJ sets and music production, and lately has been experimenting with improvisational synthesizer sets. They are also an energetic force behind several parties in the area, including long-running 80’s & 90’s themed parties, traveling hi-energy party Club PlayPlay, and the Pinhook’s Party Illegal (on hiatus). Currently, Jess teaches the Art and Culture of the DJ through the Department of Music at UNC-Chapel Hill and is working on their debut EP, set to be released in the fall.
Heather Gordon was born in 1967, and is the daughter of an accountant and engineer. She received her B.F.A. from the University of Florida in 1990 and her M.F.A from New Mexico State University in 1995. She lives and works in Durham, NC.
Alex Maness is a photographer, filmmaker, and visual artist living in Durham. His recent theater video design projects include Donald, And the Ass saw the Angel, The Emotions of Normal People and HUNCHBACK. Alex was a key collaborator on the ECHO project by Heather Gordon and Justin Tornow, featured at 21c Museum Hotel February-July 2017. He is a past staff photographer for The Independent Weekly and is a co-conspirator at the Shadowbox.
As a saxophonist and conductor, Matthew McClure enjoys musical experimentation including alternative venue performances, unusual collaborations, and multimedia and live electronic interactions. He has performed as the winner of numerous concerto competitions, at a variety of conferences, and at music festivals in the United States and Europe.
Lee Weisert is a composer of instrumental and electronic music and an associate professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, where he teaches courses in composition, electronic music, and musicianship. His recent music has incorporated increasingly disparate elements such as orchestral instruments, found sounds, field recordings, digital synthesis, and analog circuitry, in an attempt to find, “through experimentation, tinkering, and unconventional approaches, a ritualistic and deeply expressive world of sound.” Wild Arc , his debut CD of original compositions, was released in 2014 on the New Focus Recordings label.
Del Ward is a 22 year old out of Hillsborough, North Carolina. He has been playing since he was a kid, and has been influenced by a wide variety of artists and styles, but his music comes back to an Alternative Blues Rock sound, delivering an intimate and wholesome sound topped with downreaching lyrics and a big voice to sing them. Del has been playing music for dance for about four years for programs including UNCG, UNCSA, and ADF.
LOCATION AND TICKETS
July 19 and 21: Livestreamed performances of Modulations will be projected at 21c Museum Hotel at the Bull Plaza. These are free and open to the public. Digital and printed materials will be available to accompany the performances.
July 23 and 24: Performances will be held at 21c Museum Hotel in the Ballroom. Tickets are available online and at the door by donation/choose-your-price ($5+). Afterparty with DJ set by PlayPlay, July 24 at 9pm. Info and tickets: https://goo.gl/Ebxrxq
21c Museum Hotel (Ballroom) 111 Corcoran Street, Durham NC 27701