Photos from Primary/Scale

In May the company presented Primary/Scale at the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival - you can read more about the piece here and here. While we were setting up the tech crew asked if I wanted them to stop people from taking photos, but instead I asked them to give the photographers my business card and request the photographers send me links to the photos they take. We ended up with so many wonderful photos. Below are some of them. Enjoy! And thanks to Don Arteides, Jaedra DiGiammarino and Ted Jamieson.

Primary/Scale from Daniel Burkholder on Vimeo.


Thoughts on Not Sucking

In a couple of weeks I, along with my collaborators Katie, Susan, Stefanie and Stephanie, will be presenting The Chemistry of Lime Trees as my thesis concert for my MFA in Dance from University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. As I've noted elsewhere, this performance consists of two separate, but related works exploring how borders, real or imagined/personal or political, effect our lives. The first half of the evening is a duet with Katie based upon an oral history about a young Russian woman who is left at Ellis Island by her fiance. The second half is a trio for myself, Susan and Stephanie based upon a couple from Sarajevo (he Orthodox Christian, she Muslim) negotiating and living during the Bosnian War of the early 1990s. Both these works deal very specifically with character, plot and storytelling. This level of theatricality along with actual 'acting' is new to my work. In the past I have always dismissed the idea of "pretending" and wanted a "real" physical experience - we, the performers, were always ourselves in the moment. In this work we are definitely portraying other people - in both works, real people.

Because this type of work (theater) is new to me I certainly have a good dose of nervousness about it, as well as questions. Does the story come across? Are our characters believable? Are we pushing it too far, or not enough (the 'sex' scene, for example)? Can I push myself emotionally to the edge I need to get to? Can I help the other performers get there? Can they help me? Will the audience find this engaging, funny, terrifying, sad? Because the work is so different for me I go back and forth on how to judge the work (though that is probably clear by now). How do I make it better? What does 'better' even mean?

And, of course, the big, overarching question is simply, "Does it suck?". Of course, I don't think it does, but then...does it? I guess this is the question, problem or challenge that we all face when we do something - at least something that challenges our normal processes and products. And, I think, this is what we should be doing with most, if not every, project we take on - challenge our norm, push our process, dare to suck!

The show goes up July 15 & 16 here in Milwaukee, then again November 19 in Reston, VA.

Come and let me know if it sucks or not.....


Video from NVFAF

Last month the company created and performed Primary/Scale at the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival. As I wrote about in a previous post, this was an all day event consisting of three 45-minute sections (one with 1,000 bricks, one with 1500 square feet of sod, and the last section in a large fountain). In addition we created a short video that was shown to one or two members of the public at a time. The video was shot, edited and shown entirely on an iPod. Here is that video:

Primary / Scale from Daniel Burkholder on Vimeo.

**Note: there is no sound on the video.


The Chemistry of Lime Trees In NYC

Tonight Susan, Stephanie are up in New York City to perform our newest work, The Chemistry of Lime Trees at the TriBeCa Performing Arts Center. We, along with Stefanie Quinones Bass, have been developing the work for over a year. The work is based on the true story of Bosko and Admiration from the Bosnian War of the early 90s. Boasko (a Christian) and Admira (a Muslim) fell in love while in high school, before the war. During the war they were shot and killed as they tried to cross from the Muslim side of the border to the Chriistian. It is still unclear who killed them.

In developing The Chemistry of Lime Trees we have explored bringing a theatrical approach to the work (more theatrical than my previous work). This means we are very concretely dealing with plot, characters and dialogue. No, it is not straight theater by any means. And, yes, there are sections that are more abstract, more dancey. But, overall we are characters more than we represent ourselves. This makes me nervous since my creative work is more straight dance with the performers being themselves, not "acting" as someone else. There have been many moments when I feel myself run up against my insecurities. But, I do know that Stephanie's dancing and Susan's sing are incredible - and that can't be a bad thing.

The performances are Thursday (6/9) and Friday (6/10) at 8p
At the TriBeCa Performing Arts Center. More info here. http://tribecapac.org/air.htm#lily