As one part of three separate strategic directions, The Lovelies have set out to spend a year putting a concerted effort into defining and disseminating our own role in the compositional improvisation landscape, within the field of dance at large and - broader still - our, and its, place in the world.
While this can be viewed as looking outward - this, world, is who we are - we also view this bucket as the opportunity to challenge the world’s many misconceptions of our form and our field.
It’s crazy what grows when you pay attention to it.
It’s crazy what surfaces unexpectedly when you haven’t been putting care in.
NBNA has been a staple highlight performance platform for The Lovelies since 2015. Just 3 months after we began to practice this form publicly in performance, we were at Triskelion, performing amongst other improvisers.
We have seen this brainchild, created by Andy Dickerson, former Technical Director and current President of the Board at Triskelion, grow, and it’s hard not to reflect upon our own growth as well.
NBNA has held the space for improvisers to continue to take risks and rub up against mystery, and for audiences to witness a practice, not a polished product, necessarily.
The Festival, initially one weekend, and now occurring over 3 weekends in January, has produced fully-choreographed dances and pieces with very tight structures and some looser ones, operating under the idea that the works have, yes, never been done before, and never will again. The idea is that the works are based in improvisation. But what does that mean? Aren’t ALL THINGS BASED in some sort of improvisation?
The Lovelies, humbled and hired as the Festival’s curators for NBNA 2020, set out to change the trajectory of that concept.
Let's face it. Improvisers and the form itself can get a bad, and/or inaccurate rap: we just do what we want, we just do what we feel, we don't need to rehearse, there are no skills needed, it's a solo practice so there's no real accountability....I can go on! While much of this is absolutely true and absolutely valid in other realms, none of the above is the case for what The Lovelies do, or have asked our cohorts to do for NBNA:
We are pushing our colleagues to step further into the unknown - to move away from previously determined choreographic ideas and call it improvisation, to loosen the grip on a structure to hold up the dance, to trust in a practiced, skillful, rigorous form.
While IG videos show millions of movers improvising for their fans in tiny skits and bursts on social media, we ask these same folks - can you do it with someone else? Can you do it with form and skill? Can composing be more than non-sequitur free movement? I KNOW the answer is yes. With discipline and trust in the form, and true commitment to not knowing ahead of time.
This year, NBNA will be a step towards this - towards working ensemblicly, towards working without structure, towards true improvisation, as this is where the magic lies.
This year, NBNA will include:
* True integration with a cast from the Dance for PD® community. And we WILL be structure-less dancing, btw.
* STAGE DIVE - a no-tech forum on Sundays for improvisers to take the biggest risks they can dream up
* Our mentors, The Architects, performing outside the context of their shared pedagogical platform, MICI, for whoxknowsxhowxmanyxyears.
* More workshops & Royal Jelly (created by Trisk AD Rachel Mckinstry) opportunities
* Some of the most talented performers in our industry working within the form and performing their work for the first time in NYC in ten years.
What NBNA will NOT include is devised choreography.
I hope you'll join us this January.
With the right amount of care, to quote The Architect Katherine Ferrier, the right things will grow: our form, the dance field, the dance itself, and sure as fuck the things our world needs most.