River Meditations by Brian Harris

Here is a second video Brian Harris created as part of our Scenic Route performance along the Potomac. It is basically me rolling around on a large rock. But, it's really cool. Mostly because of Brian.

Scenic Route: River Meditation from Brian Harris on Vimeo.


Scenic Route by Brian Harris

The company has created and performed versions of Scenic Route a number of times - twice on the Billy Goat train along the Potomac River in Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C. This video - by the amazing Brian Harris - was the second time we led a hike/performance along the Potomac. It was a beautiful day with a lovely group, and the event lasted almost 3 hours.

Here's Brian's remix of the event:

Scenic Route from Brian Harris on Vimeo.

with myself + Kathryn Harris Banks, Stephanie Yezek, and singer Allison Hughes.


Ad Libitum - Brian's Video

As an artist who has collaborated with numerous other artists I have many relationships which I cherish for their depth, longevity, and frankly, success. One of my favorite collaborators over the last number of years has been with Brian Harris - a video artist, composer, photographer and web designer. Brian and I have known each other for over 20 years, but we began collaborating artistically a little over three years ago. He came to my performance of "Ad Libitum" at Joe's Movement Emporium and recorded the show. He then went home, edited the video, composed original music, and created something unique out of our performance. On one hand it documented the performance, but in another way, and more pronounced, the video is itself a work of art which stands on its own. Brian has gone on to record and remix (as it were) a number of other performances, as well as creating one video which we spent a day and a half recording on site. Over the next couple weeks I'm going to be posting Brian's videos on this blog to showcase his wonderful work, as well as remember some of the work the company has done over the last couple of years. Enjoy!

This video is from the first work Brian remixed for us - Ad Libitum, an evening of structured improvisation developed from various meditation and mindfulness practices.

Ad Libitum from Brian Harris on Vimeo.

with Kathryn Harris Banks, Keira Hart Mendoza, Carrie Monger, Stephanie Yezek


a long and winding road

Last weekend The PlayGround presented Acts of Arriving across metro DC - starting in Mount Rainer traveling to Brookland, then onto Meridian Hill / Malcolm X Park, and finishing at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. We performed in each location, then walked to the next location. It took the whole day, with over 7 miles of walking and 3 hours of dancing. It was a long and winding journey through the city.

In January 2012 we started rehearsing for this day. In that time we have rehearsed in numerous studios, on-site many times, toured locations in the freezing cold and the heat of summer. We have researched our personal genealogy, histories of neighborhoods, stories of people who migrate, and the meaning of home and community. The company has created movement, spoken word texts, videos, while David has composed some amazing music. As individuals we have gotten married, had a baby, changed jobs ( a couple of times), and I even moved to Milwaukee (!). We have gotten to know one another in new ways, were introduced to locations in the city some of us were unfamiliar with, and each of us grew, in many ways, as an artist. The journey has been full, if somewhat long and winding.

We arrive at the end of this journey excited and grateful about what we offered. In many ways it is a culmination of many works and performances the company has created over the last number of years, and at the same time, it is unlike anything else we've created. It is playful but complex, multifaceted yet direct, formal and informal, highly structured with room for spontaneity, and approachable while being challenging. As with most of my work I hope it is welcoming without being simplistic, and visceral with a touch of poetry.

As with the end of any long and winding journey there is deep satisfaction, with a little sadness and great gratitude.

If you weren’t able to join us (or even if you were) here is a video montage of our Mount Rainier performance by Brian Harris - with dancers Kathryn Harris Banks, Anthony Barbir, Valerie Branch, Daniel Tehmann Tejos, Abigail Wallace, trumpeter Joseph Teachey, with music by David Schulman. I’m around as well:

Acts of Arriving from Brian Harris on Vimeo.


The Places They've Lived

Throughout the process of creating Acts of Arriving we offered creative workshops at locations across Metro DC. One of the activities we asked people to participate in was in listing all of the places they lived, starting with where they were born until present day. This video is excerpts of people's responses.

Acts of Arriving: Places The've Lived from Daniel Burkholder/The PlayGround on Vimeo.

The photo at the beginning is of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 
and the map at the end is one we used for our creative workshop at Monroe St Market in Brookland. 

for those of you unfamiliar with Acts of Arriving:
Acts of Arriving is a multi-year project in which we engage question about place, community, and the creative act of making a home. We offered four workshops in Mount Rainier, MD, Brookland, DC, Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park, and at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. We will be performing at all four locations on Saturday, October 18, 2014. 
More details at: www.danielburkholdertheplayground.org


Katie @ The Kennedy Center

A couple weeks ago The PlayGround rehearsed Acts of Arriving at The Kennedy Center for our upcoming performance (info here). At the beginning of the performance each performer does a solo for a different part of the audience, so there are 6 simultaneous solos happening. The following is an excerpt of Katie's solo - I like how, at only moments, she exites the shadow into the light, with a little on her face here and there.

Acts of Arriving Katie at The Kennedy Center from Daniel Burkholder/The PlayGround on Vimeo.

Learn more about Acts of Arriving - with performances on October 18, 2014 across Metro DC: http://www.danielburkholdertheplayground.org/when.html


Being In Space

This last weekend, The PlayGround had an on-site performance at The Kennedy Center for our upcoming performance of Acts of Arriving. We will be performing on the North Plaza, just adjacent to the Watergate Hotel. It is a large space, with lots of straight lines, next to two large buildings, and very open to the big sky above. When we arrived and began to discuss how to situate ourselves in this space, it was somewhat overwhelming. Often, as dancers, we wish we had more space (in the studio we're rehearsing, or the stage we're performing on), but, as they say, too much of a good thing is not necessarily a good thing.

The challenge with any site-specific, or site-semi-specific performance, is that the site can so easily dominate the performance. You have two choices (at minimum two) - either try to contrast the site to stand out against it, or blend into the site to a certain degree to integrate with it. You can do both in a single performance, of course, or ride the continuum from one end of this spectrum to the other. Some sites are more appropriate to integrate with, and others are more inviting to contrast.

The North Plaza at The Kennedy Center, with its white stone floor and straight lined walls, highly manicured bushes opening to the sky, and its large gold-ish pillars, seems to invite contrast. There are not many details in this place, just a vista with a view. So, we choose to place Acts of Arriving along one of the walls, just over from the Potomac River, with the sky overhead. For the majority of the dance the site will frame our work, without direct interaction or comment.

About two thirds of the way through the performance there is a section in which the dancers spread out to interact with the space more directly. This section is more specifically site-specific. The other Acts of Arriving sites (Mount Rainier/Joe's Movement Emporium, Brookland/Dance Place, and Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park) are rich in details with many areas to explore. The Kennedy Center has space. Plenty of it. But, not many nooks and cranies to explore. Thankfully, we were able to find three serparate spaces for the dancers to create something specific, and unique.

Here is a short video of Daniela and Anthony exploring thier spaces: