Check out the new Hoop Suite Website!
Anna Myer and Dancers (AMAD) and North American Family Institute (NAFI) (www.nafi.com) in conjunction with Youth Link, created Hoop Suite, a rap opera that has evolved from a unique collaboration between one of the area's top performing dance and theater companies and youth from Boston's toughest public housing developments.
Inspired by Myer's Street Talk, Suite Talk, Hoop Suite continues to meld classical music and dance with spoken word, rap, percussive instruments, and hip- hop movement. However, Hoop Suite takes an emboldened step forward by incorporating inner-city teen artists and encouraging them to explore dance, drumming, poetry, and behind the scenes technical work in a professional setting. In addition to building confidence in youth, the performance aspect of this project is built on a long-term educational plan designed to engender literacy, responsibility, and opportunity. The larger humanitarian goal aims to forge bonds within and between diverse communities in the Boston area and urban centers worldwide.
With a powerful score composed by Jakov Jakoulov and conducted by Susan Davenny Wyner, Hoop Suite continues to develop into a multifaceted experience. Kat Tatlock Productions, with Sean Meehan & Gautam Chopra, is currently documenting the creative process of this project, so that it may reach the broadest audience possible. Hoop Suite will soon begin the highly anticipated summer season on Boston basketball courts turned into theaters-in-the-round in Roxbury and Dorchester, followed by showings at the prestigious Institute of Contemporary Art.
Special thanks to The Pearson Foundation.
What: World premiere of the Hoop Suite Project/AMAD/NAFI
Where: Basketball courts at public housing sites-Franklin Field, BHA Basketball Court adjacent to 25 Corey St., Alice Taylor; and Institute of Contemporary Art
When: Franklin Field, June 9th-BHA court, June 23rd-Alice Taylor/Housing July 7th: Rain dates next day following these dates.
Hoop Suite at The Institute of Contemporary Art (presented by CrashArts)
What: AMAD and the world premiere of Hindsight Now and the Hoop Suite Project.
Where: Institute of Contemporary Art
When: October 12th-7:30 PM; October 13th-8:00 PM and 14th-3:00 PM
As the title suggests, the theme of the work is transformation, using the gift of hindsight to inform, fuel, and enrich the moment of now and lead to wholeness. Deeply personal and universally sweeping, the work will careen through a gauntlet of near-defeat and glide into alchemy-turning dark to light, gray to gold.
Nine dancers led by acclaimed choreographer Anna Myer, and four cellists directed by noted Venezuelan composer Paul Desenne will interact on stage with high- tech sets and "cello carts" designed by Emmy Award-winning set and production designer, Katha Seidman. Seven Generations Video & Kat Tatlock are currently filming the creative process for this project.
PAST PROJECTSStreet Talk, Suite Talk (Project Page)
Anna Myer's newest work fuses rap, contemporary dance, and music for violin. The evening-length piece is being developed through a collaborative process involving the choreographer, seven young poet-rappers, seven dancers, the composer Jakov Jakoulov, and violinist Mark Berger. Advisors to the project include Anthony Toombs and Robert Macy from the On-Track Initiative. A music-based curriculum that helps youth to engage in healthy self-expression, the Initiative is part of the Center for Trauma Psychology.
Street Talk, Suite Talk is a unique and extraordinary combination of people with diverse approaches to art. The juxtaposition of artistic voices and backgrounds generate a dynamic vocabulary of dance, music and poetry. In a world that is often fragmented and distrustful, Street Talk, Suite Talk forges bonds between these diverse worlds, with all working to create a common vision.
The work is a collaborative effort with neon sculptors Alejandro and Moira Sina. A group of ten children join six company dancers to perform to the music of Bach's cello suites. The performers' overlap of ages, races and cultures embodies the concept of penumbra. By bringing together different artistic disciplines and performers of different ages and races, Myer hopes to draw a broader audience to experience a common center.
All At Once
Features music by Russian-born composer Jakov Jakoulov, conducted by Susan Davenny Wyner and the New England String Ensemble. “All At Once” includes nine dancers, the conductor and twelve musicians (six violins, five cellos, and one bass) all on stage together. This 35-minute piece gives university or community string musicians a chance to work closely with conductor Susan Davenny Wyner, Jakov Jakoulov, and Anna Myer.
"...'All at Once was visually unusual, and emotionally satisfying. At moments, the dance steps seemed to make the musical phrases visible while the musicians’ bowing arms appeared to be doing dances of their own. As they played a richly textured score by Jakov Jakoulov… Striding, crawling and leaping, the dancers forged choreographic trail among and around them, swooping toward them at some moments, keeping their distance at others. The dancing provided visual counterpoint to Mr. Jakoulov’s intensely moody score."
- Jack Anderson, The New York Times
Angle of Repose
Angle of Repose is a geological term referring to the plane in which rocks, dirt and debris come to rest, as well as the title of a novel by Wallace Stegner. This piece is set on ten dancers, including two children and a 77 year old woman. Danced to an eclectic array of music, including, Jackie Wilson’s Lonely TearDrops, Brahms, and the new-age sound of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Angle of Repose charts the unfolding of a life. Built on layers of choreography that use leaning, resting, falling and propulsive movement, the dance develops as a consequence of the weight of preceding and surrounding events and our attempt to give them shape. Angle of Repose (funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Cambridge Arts Council) premiered April 2001 at the Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, New York City.
Bluebird No. 173
Featuring seven adults and seven children, this work was inspired by Marc Chagall's painting, "The Birthday Party," as well as musings on domestic life, love songs, and the image of a bluebird. The music, drawn from popular culture, pushes at the boundaries of nostalgia and sensuality.
"Ms. Myer is a master weaver, smoothly blending ages and degrees of professionalism in intricately plotted yet simple-seeming dance … Bluebird No. 173 drew cheers from the audience."
- Jennifer Dunning, The New York Times
This provocative piece explores the passions of the human heart. It is punctuated by love-struck cartwheels and heart-stabbing gestures that surround the centerpiece, a romantic pas de deux. Heartchunks is set to a musical collage of Chopin, Chris Isaak’s Two Hearts, Michael Convertino’s It’s a Big Planet, and Los Tres Ases’s Sabra Dios and Queseas Feliz.
"Myer makes everything extreme, from the walk on tiptoe to the heart-stabbing gestures to the Petrouchka-like turned-in feet and hands held almost as if crippled." Anna Myer’s work is full of high energy … Her choreography is passionate, sweaty and tense … A killer workout, both physically and emotionally."
-Christine Temin, The Boston Globe
Set to Vivaldi, Bellini, Verdi, and Offenbach, this sumptuous piece juxtaposes the religious themes of crucifixion and stigmatization, found in Italian Renaissance and Baroque art, with a contemporary, street-style pantomime of Italian conversational gestures.
"In Italian…succeeds as a pure dance piece as it zigzags between celebrating the joy of movement and celebrating the beauty of religious iconography….by its sheer spirit, moves you."
- Thea Singer, The Boston Globe
Quintet to Brahms
Based on elegant postures swung free, this full-length piece creates an emotional tumult that is as quixotic as the dancers’ 14-inch Russian tutus and their bare feet. The strength and musicality of Brahms resonate throughout.
"Hands pressed together like beaks arms become wings; legs squat and feet rise into birdlike walks and steps. Five dancers…hop twist and turn….all the while they maintain an amusing air of hot house cool."
- Jennifer Dunning, The New York Times
Wine and Roses
Exploring the infinite nature of the human soul, Wine and Roses uses a combination of movement derived from ordinary activities such as driving a car and those improvised from the ritual forms of Tai Chi. The dancers explore fluidity, definitive shapes and flight through the air, while establishing the language of relationships that celebrate wholeness and the connections between us.
"Wine and Roses a Quintet danced to a witty instrumental amalgam of Bach, opera and a selfmocking English song, delicately and pleasurably juxtaposes circumscribed and space-gulping dance."
- Jennifer Dunning, The New York Times