About Us, Creative Work, Dance, Dancers, Fashion Briefs, Film, Finding Place, Perfect 10, Travel

Reflections on 2013


Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice! (at SPARKcon, photo by roguemark)

Well FAD fans, another year is ending so it’s time to take a look back at all the lovely moments of 2013. Here are a few of the highlights:

January 13 & 25: The year began with our last two performances of Julep as part of the NC Dance Festival tour. First, a Sunday matinee at UNC-Wilmington then a Friday evening show at UNC-Charlotte.

February 5: New sections of Finding Place are performed at Artspace in downtown Raleigh as part of their First Friday open gallery festivities. (We are in the home stretch for the full show premiere by this point; I’m surprised we could even break from rehearsal for these three mini-shows!)

Finding Place premiere

Finding Place premiere in PSI Theatre, photo by DC Dance Photography

February 22 & 23: This is the big one – the full premiere of Finding Place at the Durham Arts Council‘s PSI Theatre! Wonderful stories, great music, exciting choreography, and touching film segments combined to create our third evening-length work in just five seasons. (And this one was completed in only nine months… needless to say the company was ready for a break following this show!)

March 13-16: Again this year, I traveled to the American College Dance Festival’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference to represent the company and teach classes. With class scheduled at 8am this time, the turn-out was smaller than the last year, but still about two dozen collegiate dancers got to learn parts of Finding Place choreography (in addition to getting in the company’s traditional technique class).

April 28: We perform Journey at NC Dances in Cary, NC. Journey was originally created for NC State University’s Panoramic Dance Project, so this marked the first time Code f.a.d. dancers got to perform the work. We also brought in a guest dancer for this show – Sarah Putterman! We hope we get to work with Sarah more in the future.

May-July: Code f.a.d. Company was quiet this summer, but there were certainly creative juices still flowing, preparing for the busy fall season ahead.

August: The company finds two new rehearsal “homes” for 2013: Barre-Up and Cirque de Vol Studios. Holding our Saturday classes at Cirque de Vol has given us the opportunity to make this the first season we open company technique class to area dancers, and we have had a great time inviting more folks to join us a few Saturdays each month! Following auditions after one of these open company classes, we are also pleased to welcome three new dancers to our group: MacKenzie Buice, Krystal Lynch, and Anna Maynard. You can expect to learn more about all of these lovely ladies in the coming months on the blog. Rehearsals are also in full swing for Dear Nature, our new work inspired by the Artspace exhibition of the same name, including artwork by Natalie Abrams, Mi-Sook Hur, and Cynthia Camlin.

Dear Nature at Artspace, photo by Anna M. Maynard

Dear Nature, photo by Anna M. Maynard

September 6: First Friday at Artspace brings the partial premiere of Dear Nature in Gallery 2. Just like in February, we performed three 10-minute shows throughout the evening, to packed crowds!

September 12: Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice! Stuck right in between our Dear Nature performances came 2013 SPARKcon, and being we have participated in the festival for the past five years, we couldn’t let this one slip by without a Code f.a.d. appearance. The company invited some guest dancers from AWW Performance Company to join us in an interactive performance following the Beetlejuice theme (chosen by this year’s filmSPARK organizers). The show was complete with the super talented Todd Buker (composer to much of our work) performing as the sandworm!

September 18: Back to Artspace for the full Dear Nature premiere, and it was such a great experience to perform in the gallery among the artwork that inspired the piece. This show also marks the debut of two new artists in our ranks: composer Julia Price and poet Jessica Mansell Temple! We are excited to work with both Julia and Jessica on more new work in 2014.

October 12-13: I attended the NC Dance Alliance’s Annual Event as our company representative to teach classes (more Finding Place repertory is taught to high school attendees and professionals) and to speak about our dance films in a lecture/showing with other dance filmmakers based in NC.

Gerren roams through the audience during the performance at Masquerade

Gerren performs during Masquerade

October 25: Masquerade! Thank you to all who attended our fall fundraiser cocktail event, Masquerade. If you were unable to attend and would still like to support our work, we accept tax-deductible donations securely online through our fiscal agent, Fractured Atlas: http://www.fracturedatlas.org/site/fiscal/profile?id=4584

November 13-17: Destination by Michael Kors (one of our fashion-inspired dance films) makes it into its first big film festival! I traveled to Wilmington to attend Cucalorus for the screening (and got to see many other films and speak with filmmakers of all kinds at the events – inspiration was gathered for many new works to come).

from the film, Destination by Michael Kors

Destination by Michael Kors

December 6-12: The last performance of 2013 was on December 6 in Winston-Salem, as part of Movies by Movers IV. We performed a few excerpts of Dear Nature, adding video projections to those sections we took and titling these portions A Few Southern Legends. I’m excited to turn some of these sections into stand-alone dance films in the coming year. Also, across this entire week I was honored to have the opportunity to teach dance students at Jordan High School in Durham, NC. The advanced “company” dance class worked on a dance film project while junior and senior-level technique classes learned Horton modern dance technique.

And there it is… well, was. What a great year 2013 turned out to be for Code f.a.d. Company – lots of new faces and new dances! So, what does 2014 have in store for us? I’m tempted to just say wait and see, though I’ll give you a hint to be on the lookout for new dance films (hopefully) hitting the festival circuit in 2014. (And don’t worry, we’ll post some clips and photos from the shoots online, too.) Thank you for continuing to support the work that we do, for supporting dance, and we wish all our fans a very Happy New Year!

See you in 2014…

(Code f.a.d. Artistic Director)

A Few Southern Legends

A Few Southern Legends

Creative Work, Dance, Fashion Briefs, Film, Travel

A look back at Fashion Briefs

While the majority of the company’s time is spent preparing for our next big show, Finding Place, I decided to take a break to think back to our last big show – Fashion Briefs. (Also, I just sometimes need a break from the creative process to remind myself that even though I may feel blocked at the moment, this happens with every new work and eventually the work will get finished and will premiere!) We have recently received some wonderful photos (by Siobhan Hanna Photography) from our Fashion Briefs performance in Washington, D.C., and so I’m taking this FAD Friday to share some of my favorites. *I especially love how some of the McQueen images capture the ghostly images of the late designer in the background!

(Code f.a.d. Artistic Director)

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Creative Work, Finding Place, Travel

Back to work in the new year!

We are a few days into 2013 now, and rest assured, the company is busy once again after a break from rehearsals for two weeks. Yesterday afternoon Christina, Gerren, and I met to record our stories from Finding Place. (Thank you Chris White for your help with the recording!) While my story has already been choreographed, we have just barely started working on material for Gerren’s (and haven’t started Christina’s at all). Click here to listen to just a short portion of Gerren’s contribution to the text of the piece. As you can probably imagine, the images of those clowns are too irresistible not to work into the piece! Luckily, we’ve already found some volunteers to join our Finding Place cast:

a couple creepy clowns...

a couple creepy clowns…

So, the choreography is coming along with new dances and new stories, and good thing because we are only a month away from our First Friday perform at Artspace! We will be showing a short portion of Finding Place in Artspace’s downstairs education room on February 1 – a special preview performance ahead of the big premiere later that month in Durham. Shows will last approximately 10-15 minutes each and will take place at 7pm, 8pm and 9pm that evening. *Don’t worry, we’ll remind you again as we get closer!

Speaking of performances, we are even closer to our next tour performance of Julep; the company will be in Wilmington, NC, next Sunday, January 13 for a 3pm show in the Cultural Arts Building on the UNC-Wilmington campus. See ncdancefestival.org for more info or to buy tickets in advance. If you haven’t had the chance to see this work yet, please come out! We only have one tour stop left after Wilmington (January 25 in Charlotte). Feel free to view again the video clips of Julep online to get excited for the performance. Did you know there is also a 6-person version of Julep (in addition to the trio the company performs)? I expanded the cast last year to set the work on the NCSU Dance Company, and honestly, I don’t know which version I tend to enjoy watching more! Check them both out on my personal YouTube channel and the Code f.a.d. channel.

I know this post feels a bit disjointed – must just be the craziness that is the new year – and double show prep… Our regular rehearsal schedule starts back up tomorrow morning, so you can look forward to some video clips of our new choreography up next week!

(Code f.a.d. Artistic Director)

About Us, Dance, Dancers, Travel

A Day in the Life of a Code f.a.d. Dancer: Jill Bradley Hall

Editor’s note: Throughout the coming months, we are pleased to share a bit more about our dancers’ lives (both in and outside of rehearsal). We are starting this journey by spending a day with each dancer, beginning with Jill Bradley Hall, who has chosen to document one day of the company’s recent performance trip to Washington, D.C.

Saturday Dec 8, 2012

Running past the Washington Monument...

Running past the Washington Monument…

8:30am – Morning run. The temperature was almost perfect for running – a little chilly and foggy but not raining. I had the privilege to run by some the most notable buildings in D.C., including the Washington Monument. Luckily, I had my phone and was able to snap a picture.
9:30am – ¬†Shower. One bathroom… four women. It takes us awhile to get everyone showered and dressed – especially considering the extra grooming required for a performance in our underwear.
11:00am – Brunch, finally. Thank you, Panera Bread!
Holocaust Museum

Holocaust Museum

12:00pm – Metro ride. We set off in search of museums and monuments; however, we were quickly distracted by a street arts and crafts market. I managed to find three Christmas presents for family and new earrings and a bracelet for myself! After shopping we walked through the city, across the lawn at the Smithsonian, saw the Washington Monument (for the second time today), and headed to the Holocaust Museum. Note: do not have mace in your bag when attempting to enter a national museum or monument. It’s not allowed. I had to surrender my mace and was pulled aside and searched. Once inside you are left to explore the exhibits on your own. There are no words to express the horrific events of the Holocaust. The experience [of going through the museum] was overwhelming and emotionally exhausting but one I’m thankful to have experienced. Unfortunately Kelley, Autumn, and I spent entirely too much time at the Holocaust Museum and were then running late for our call time at the theater.
5:00pm – Mad dash back to the apartment! Quickly gather all the things we needed for the performance, stop by Subway for dinner on the go, and a bakery for a cupcake to be used in place of a cake for tonight’s performance.
6:20pm – We finally arrive at the theater. Christina and I rehearse with Human Landscape Dance for a small role assisting in their portion of the show. Then it’s on to makeup, hair, and warm-ups. As the backstage manager begins to give us the countdown to top of show, the nerves of being mostly naked on stage begin to kick in.
8:00pm – As “places” is called, we all strip off our sweat pants and step onstage in our underwear. The curtain is opened, the music and lights come on, and the show begins. All too soon our portion of the performance is over. I think it went well.
9:30pm – Post show reception in the lobby. We met a couple who were attending their first dance concert, and they loved the show.
10:00pm – Metro ride back to Dupont circle. It seemed like it took forever for the red line train to arrive!
11:00pm – Late night dinner and drinks and then home to bed so that we can do it all again tomorrow.
Jill performs "Regulation"

Jill performs “Regulation”

Creative Work, Dance, El Anatsui, Film, Finding Place, Guest Dancers, Travel

On Vacation in NYC

After a very successful premiere of Finding Place at the NC Museum of Art, it is time for a break! So the dancers and myself take from mid-July to mid-August off from regular rehearsals. A few of us actually take real vacations, while the rest find the time to catch up in their “regular” lives of 9-5 jobs, laundry, taking care of kids, going to school, etc.

I take advantage of the small bits of free time to attend the National Dance Association’s annual pedagogy conference in Norfolk, Virginia, and then go to visit a good friend (and fellow dancer) Monica in New York. (I’ll write more about the NDA conference on my personal website soon: autumnmistbelk.com)

Most modern dancers I know love to take pilgrimages to NYC as often as we can. We take classes, see shows, and generally just enjoy feeling like New Yorkers without having the sky-high rent and being able to know when we go back home we’ll have washers and dryers in our homes. My trip was no different; I took several modern dance classes (at The Ailey School and Dance New Amsterdam), some anti-gravity yoga classes, and went to see Zarkana at Radio City (thank you Living Social deal) and (a definite highlight) Sleep No More! This was also a bit of a “work trip” in that I worked with Monica on a new film section of Finding Place, which we shot in Central Park.

Monica in Finding Place

Before I got to the city Monica sent me her story to be included in Finding Place, a bit of it is below:

The city where I grew up as a little girl was very hot and humid. We only have two seasons there: hot and rainy and hot and not so rainy. … One night when it was bedtime, we lost power. It had been a very hot and humid day and thankfully it started to rain after we lost power. My dad had a brilliant idea; he opened our apartment door so we could get some of the refreshing rainy air into the apartment, and he grabbed a mattress for my mom, my younger sister, him, and myself to lay on while the power came back. When it did, I didn’t want to go back to bed in my room, it had been very fun to lay all together, hearing the rain fall.

Obviously, it would have worked out quite well if it had been raining the day we needed to shoot our footage, but no such luck. No worries, we definitely captured the “hot and humid” feeling, and some rain noise will be added in to the video later. A tiny bit of our Central Park footage is captured below; look for the completed film to debut with the evening-length Finding Place in February 2013. (I left in the New York city noise for now. Monica’s story and some rain will overlap the movement in the final version.)

(Code f.a.d. Artistic Director)