E|MERGE 2012

E|MERGE Interdisciplinary Collaborative Residency

E|MERGE 2012 Interdisciplinary Artist Residency | February 14-26

E|MERGE brings together 30-40 collaborators of multiple disciplines for a ground-breaking, collaborative residency that successfully builds a dynamic and powerful interdisciplinary artist network: part think-tank, part lab, part workshop, part performance festival.

2012's Projects and Artists-in-Residence were:

What Is Left
Director: Kate Doyle
Collaborating Artists:
Susan Pfeffer
Sharon Penz
Jake Wise

"What is Left is a site-specific installation, sited in a cabin and on land directly outside the cabin. This work expands and extends concepts and multi-media collaborations that have evolved in two recent installations: The Found Grotto and Spiral.  The edge where the conscious and subconscious meet, serendipity, how change, choice and accident intersect, and the formation of rituals that both create community and further solitary reflection and spiritual expansion are key concepts that will be explored and materialized in this work."

DirectorPamela Casper
Collaborating Artists:
Karen Bernard
Shira Wohlberg
Cory Neale
Hannah Wasielewski
Brooke Smiley
Taja Will

"A multi-disciplinary Tornado performance with Karen Bernard who will function as choreographer and director of movement. I have developed a sound score with my collaborators while working on the installation and a Tornado painting to inspire and be part of the performance. The process began with a group discussion of meaningful themes related to the Tornado and nature. Each discipline conceptualizes and contributes to this Tornado using his or her medium. The dancer’s (6-10 dancers) movements create the tornado, the sound score, to express the Tornado phenomena and accompany the dancers movements."

DirectorShaina Cantino
Directorial consultant/ advisor: Davina Cohen
Collaborating Artists:
Rachel Schwartz
Nyx Zierhut
Shelley Etkin

"A piece for our neighbors. I approached the process and piece as a model for use in other neighborhoods.  Being at Earthdance, however, this piece was specific to the immediate population.  We nurture community at Earthdance and yet have minimal interaction with our direct “non-dance” neighbors, either on Prospect Street or in nearby towns. I began the making of this piece by asking why. I am interested in how we can share our skills for facilitating collaborative creation with the nearby “non-dance” communities. In addition, I know that contact with our immediate neighbors is critical as we become more sustainable at Earthdance. The place and community in which we live is the ideal starting place. This will mean communications that require us to articulate the role that we play as artists beyond the comfort of known vocabulary at Earthdance."

The Making Of
Director: Sarah Ledbetter
Collaborating Artists:
Gabriel Loeb
Rebecca Patek
Alli Ross
Kristen Greco

"I created and performed a one-person show 13 years ago called THE HISTORY OF MOVEMENT, which looked at history itself in terms of movement and Movements. It was a structured solo improvisation in segments such as Manifest Destiny -- on the Dance Floor and Heading West; Butoh and the Bomb and the Stillness; Civil Rights Movement Comprised of Standing, Refusing to Stand, Sitting, Refusing to Sit; The Pre-Jitterbug. Prehistory of the Kiss and How I Love You Forever (thought I don't know who we are,) were personal explorations of what it means to perform a solo, from love, to an attentive audience, about a subject too broad and ambitious to master. My preamble alerted the audience to the fact that I knew what I was trying to do couldn't really be done, but that I thought it was nonetheless worth trying: to see how we are moving together through time, seen as dance.

This many years later, I revived and rewrote the work as a 12-person show called THE MAKING OF, structured in a way similar to a jazz concert in which each player knows the 'movements' and agrees to go at it together with ears and hearts and eyes open, completely. I rewrote the sections themselves based on my evolving sense of the underscore, as Nancy Stark Smith shared it with us in the March workshop and as I've come to see it as a structure for solo improvisation as well. The score was not revealed to the audience. The score was created on the spot, bouncing off what I wrote. But not at all contemplative and conceptual; it was arresting and popular and funny and sad and of-the-wall, and it asked folks to be all that they really are. It revealed its own means, as well."

Any Resemblance
Director: Jen Abrams
Collaborating Artists:
Gillian Chadsey
Krista DeNio
Sandie Luna

"Any Resemblance is a live social media serial performance project. Its six live episodes are each ten minutes long and were performed over the course of two months. They incorporate movement, video, theater, and the audience’s cell phones. The connective tissue between the episodes is found online, in the form of the characters’ Facebook profiles, Flickr photostreams, video blogs, etc., each of which is also a stand-alone literary or visual art work. Audiences are able to “friend” the characters, comment on their blogs, “like” their posts, etc.

The storyline follows a queer interracial couple in the process of trying to get pregnant. Audrey and Maddy have been together for nine years. Questions arise: Does Audrey really want a baby? Is she having an affair with Frances? Maddy doesn’t remember the years 1989-90– why? Will their relationship survive the difficulties and absurdities of artificial insemination? What racial fissures will the baby’s lightness or darkness expose? This is just the beginning of the narrative – I expect other questions to enter, based on the interests I expressed above and on the interests I encounter at E|Merge."

Family Portrait
Mary Pearson
Eliza Ladd
John Leo
Miriam Wolodarski
Collaborating Artist:
Ariel Speedwagon

"We have an imagined seed, or starting point, which is the family portrait. Perhaps someone is always dead or missing. Perhaps we swap roles and play out all the possible constellations within the group. Perhaps siblings sometimes have to act as parents; perhaps we are orphans. What if there are no leaders? No authority? We can explore the journey and search for security.

We have drawn from our own experience and content, without the focus becoming either autobiographical or therapeutic. From what we have already exchanged of our biographies, we know that there are difficult stories amongst us – what we flag up as shaky ground with room for hilarity. We want to be able to share ourselves and establish trust in order to be able to play hard, push boundaries and take risks in our work. Exploration of our own narratives, in the context of performance, allows us to go far beyond them or their expression.

In addition to these embryonic ideas, at the same time, in the process we have also been able to throw out what we have and start from zero, begin again and again. The question of how to begin is itself a theme and point of interest."

Collaborative Pool
Akseli J Aittomäki            
Sophie Nimmannit
Erika Kate
Javiera Benavente






2012's Public Events were:

February 24th & 25th NEW PERFORMANCE SERIES: Works in Progress by E|MERGE Artists in Residence + Panel Discussion

February 24th Performances + Panel Discussion on The Social Body: Creating Socially Engaged Performance Work
at the West Cummington Congregational Church
Performances begin at 8pm followed by the panel discussion

February 25th MORE PERFORMANCES & Dinner
at Earthdance
Dinner & Discourse @ 6pm
Performances @ 8pm

FEBRUARY 18th & 19th Workshops at Earthdance taught by E|MERGE Artists
See below for workshops descriptions

2012's Workshops were:

Y(our) History as a Dance taught by Sarah Ledbetter
When history collides with the personal, what you're left with can be described as a dance. In this improvisation workshop, participants will replay and re-explore the "opening into dance" afforded...More info >>

Evacuate/ Inhabit Co- taught by Kristen Greco & Daniel Bear Davis
An intersection of butoh, energetic states, qi gong principles, characterologies and composition. More info >>
Biomythography taught by Gillian Chadsey 
Each of us has a story to tell. These stories are always a mixture of the imaginary, the wishful, and the real. Some of us are gifted storytellers, but it is not always easy translating our stories...More info >>
I'd like to write a song with you ta Davina Cohen & Cory Neale
We'll make songs out of nothing using our bodies, brains, voices, hearts, and all the artistic resources we have.  All styles, voices, instruments, languages, interests, and experiences welcome. More info >>
The Un-Layered Body is a workshop on physical theatre lead by Debora Balardini and Sandie Luna, co-founders of the Nettles Artists Collective based in New York City. This dynamic workshop centers on...
In this workshop we will explore physically. We will delve into emotional states. We will use our eyes to tell a story.We will use text to inspire movement and use architecture and perspective to...More info >>
Aiming to work in a mode where space tells us what to do: not looking for good ideas, but resting in a natural state of grace. Practicing non-territoriality, acknowledging our own foolishness,...More info >>
This workshop will explore and test personal edges through impact and endurance training using a somatic lens. During this time participants will span the entire spectrum from the passive restful...More info >>