Inter­ac­tive the­ater and dance make for a groovy late-win­ter weekend

3 minute read
'Vessels' pushes freedom against confinement. (Photo by Melisa Cardona.)
'Vessels' pushes freedom against confinement. (Photo by Melisa Cardona.)

This weekend is going to be a kinetic one in Philly. Native choreographer Rosy Simas makes a stop in the city with her inclusive dance performance Weave, Annenberg Center Live premieres an interactive theatrical performance that questions freedom and answers it with sound, and 1970s dance research shows its evolution with a brand-new monthly event that celebrates and welcomes people with all embodied histories and aesthetics. It might be a chilly weekend, but there's no reason you can't dance the cold away.

Weave tours into Philly

Native choreographer Rosy Simas comes to Philadelphia with the remarkable, inclusive dance project Weave. Drawn from the interwoven and interdependent nature of our world, Weave traces the vibrant threads of individual and embodied stories, uniting in an interdisciplinary performance woven of story, dance, moving image, and sound. Weave brings together an international gathering of Native, feminist, queer, transgender, and people of color artists, working together with Simas. Hosted by Intercultural Journeys, the show hits the floor this Friday, March 8, and Saturday, March 9, at 7:30pm at Performance Garage (1515 Brandywine Street). Tickets range from $15 to $25, and more information is available online.

World premiere of Vessels at Annenberg

Annenberg Center Live presents the world premiere of Vessels on March 7 through 10. In this theatrical performance co-shaped by Rebecca Mwase and Ron Ragin, seven women explore the transcendental possibilities of song as a survival tool during the slave trade’s Middle Passage. Set in an interactive, sculptural environment that invokes the infamous slave ships, this interdisciplinary performance considers the question “What does freedom sound like in a space of confinement?” Each performance will be followed by an opportunity for audience members to process the experience with the performers. Tickets are available online or by calling (215) 898-3900.

New Chamber Ballet premieres Stray Bird

On March 9 and 10, the German Society of Pennsylvania (611 Spring Garden Street) welcomes New Chamber Ballet in the Philadelphia premiere of Stray Bird: Dances to Music by Ursula Mamlok. Mamlok, born to a Jewish family in Berlin, was a budding musical talent before escaping with her family to Ecuador after Germany fell into Nazi oppression. Shortly after, she came to the US. and launched an influential career.

Performed in New Chamber Ballet's trademark up-close, in-the-round style and highlighting the German Society's historic building, the full-length work of contemporary ballet is choreographed by artistic director Miro Magloire and guest choreographers Rebecca Walden and Mara Driscoll, featuring live music by the Momenta String Quartet, soprano Cree Carrico, flutist Roberta Michel, and clarinetist Pascal Archer.

Saturday’s performance is at 7pm, with a matinee at 3pm on Sunday. Tickets range from $10 to $20 for students and adults, and are free for children 12 and under.

Inclusive Contact Improvisation Jam

Contact improvisation, born out of dance-performance research in the 1970s, asks: What happens when we fly through the air and collide with one another? The practice has since evolved, and in a new monthly event hosted by 954 Movement Collective (954 North 8th Street) and facilitated by Morgan Andrews and Nicole Bindler, the practice has become more inclusive.

The Inclusive Contact Improv Jam begins this weekend and runs every second Friday, and serves as a creative, playful space where you can come as you are, with all of your embodied histories, needs, and aesthetics. Participants of all abilities, shapes, sizes, ages, incomes, backgrounds—anyone is welcome.

An improv jam is an open gathering for play and experimentation, where participants can practice contact improv at their own will. Facilitators Andrews and Bindler will be there to help cultivate kinesthetic, social, and compositional awareness. Consent, bodily autonomy, and freedom of movement are important here.

The March 8 jam begins at 5:30pm with a recommended warm-up class, with opening circle at 6:45pm and closing circle and nosh at 8:45pm. Admission is on a sliding scale of $5 to $15 and no one will be turned away due to lack of financial resources. The 954 Movement Collective space is wheelchair accessible.

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