>"¸¸.•**•♪♫•**•.¸¸¸¸.•**•♪♫•**•.¸¸Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhaaaa oooooohhhh haaaaaa hooooooo.no nieh, Naha...!" It's a gray Monday afternoon in May. Walking by our studio in Oakland you would think the local chorus or theater group is rehearsing, but it's the AXIS dancers standing in a circle, using their vocal cords. Ann Carlson get's sounds out of the dancers I haven't heard before.
A moment later she get's them to write postcards - dancing postcards that is, about the things they love. Crawling on the floor they share their passion for olives, tulle, squeakily blue deflated dinosaur balloons, quad-rugby, honeysuckle, food (especially carbs, protein & cheese!), laughing, and their love for bikram yoga even though "the room smells like a cat box".
After a 36-minute vocal exercise, basically replicating a sound and moving it along in the circle, Ann explains: "I think this is a great performance exercise. It's a lot about being able to surrender and being wacky. Doing this for a long stretch of time allows you to listen more closely and to relax into the illogic of it."
After a short break Ann get's the dancers seated in a line (even though she hates lines) and starts directing them: a base, intertwined with heavy breathing, than some mumbling & yelping interjected:
"I really want to try and make a piece one day with a vocal score Ann starts and before we know it, the workshop ends with a discussion about robots, mythbusters, aliens, and mermaids. Maybe they will all end up in a piece one day...
About Ann Carlson: In 2004 Ann choreographed "Flesh" for AXIS. In this piece Choreographer Ann Carlson takes her inspiration from music by Meredith Monk and a 1909 futuristic story by E.M. Forster concerning humanity living underground in a mechanized complex, a young man longing to get free. "Flesh" was co-commissioned by the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, UC Riverside Presents and UC Santa Barbara Arts & Lectures. To see an excerpt click here. Ann Carlson is a dancer, choreographer, and performance artist. She creates “dances that reflect and investigate the metaphor of the everyday” and are coauthored by the performers, who have included non-dancers, suc
h as lawyers, doctors, and nuns. With a background in visual and performance art, Carlson often shows her work in unconventional dance sites, including museums, trains, and barnyards.