Connecticut Dances-a Visual History

Posted: January 22, 2017 in *Celebration*, Dance, Events, Yum Yum
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Serena Plasikowsky
Connecticut Dances-A Visual History is a must see for anyone who is interested in not only the history of dance in the state of Connecticut but also our contemporary dance companies who work today in the state.  One of our favorites Judy Dworin Dance Project is of course included in the exhibition. The exhibition is held at the Connecticut Historical Society, One Elizabeth St. in Hartford and runs from January 19-March 4 and is sponsored by Ct. Dance Alliance.
The exhibit includes early days of dance in Ct. with images of the Shakers dancing away, historic performances, leaders in dance, dance from universities and colleges, dance groups, photos of children from dance schools and some great contemporary shots. From little ballerinas in Tu Tu’s, tights and toe shoes, to African Drumming and Dancing, from the Ted Hershey Dance and Music Marathon which celebrates the life and work of Ted Hershey, principal dancer with Hartford Ballet and co-founder of Works Contemporary Dance, who died of AIDS in 1998 to the American Dance Festival held at Connecticut College (1948-1977) which brought some of the greats, a who is who of dance, Cunningham, Graham, Rainer, Nikolais, Taylor, Ailey, Brown, Tharp amazing dance happening right here in our state by pioneers of the dance world.
Wonderful photographs that explore the great movements of dance, exploring the stories, cutting through space, and expiring us to new levels.  Ted Hershey said once in an interview “Dancers use their whole being. Dance speaks without words. You need to look. Each moment is unique, and if you don’t look the moment is gone forever.”  Daring new moves by the modern, the avant garde, the contemporary shining a light on what can be possible in movement showing us new approaches to a very old art.
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Judy Dworin The Witching Hour
The CDA History Project has this to say: The Connecticut Dance Alliance is an organization dedicated to increasing public awareness of dance in all its forms and to serving the needs of the state-wide dance community. Our “Dance History Project: Dance in Connecticut” is looking for photos and images from everything from professional performances in prestigious venues to social and cultural, dancing, and everything in between.” This is what we like, everyone who moves in what we call dance has been invited to participate. Of course like many exhibitions this show is curated but all photos that have been submitted to the project can be viewed by clicking on the link at the end of this article. What an amazing collection.
We have always loved this quote, although not part of the show we include it here.
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Barbara Malinsky Curatorial Advisor of Connecticut Dances in her article on the exhibition says: “In reaching back to Connecticut’s social and cultural dance history, the exhibition comprises a series of portraits of the art of dance that represents the state’s significant dance heritage, including the pioneering work of individual dancers, choreographers, companies, and the impact of schools and teachers.  The exhibition brings to life the valuable contributions that dance has brought to the cultural vitality of Connecticut.” Read the full article HERE.

The CT Humanities, The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, the NewAlliance Foundation and the Greater Hartford Arts Council funded the project.  Exhibition dates are January 19 through March 4, 2017 at the Connecticut Historical Society, One Elizabeth Street, Hartford, CT 06105, 860.236.5621.  Thereafter it will tour the state.

To view the complete project collections of images visit: http://www.flickr.com/groups/2734781@N25/

After its debut at the CHS, Connecticut Dances – A Visual History will travel to the Handel Performing Arts Center at the Hartt School, University of Hartford, the Playhouse on Park, followed by a tour to venues around the state. Tour listing as it develops can be found at www.ctdanceall.com.

Hours at the Connecticut Historical Society are:

Tuesday-Thursday 12:00-5:00  and Friday and Saturday 9:00-5:00

After its debut at the CHS, Connecticut Dances – A Visual History will travel to the Handel Performing Arts Center at the Hartt School, University of Hartford, the Playhouse on Park, followed by a tour to venues around the state. Tour listing as it develops can be found at www.ctdanceall.com.

We want to thank the Dance History Project and everyone who has worked on this exhibition for this extraordinary collection of dance history. We will certainly spread the word about the exhibition.

Notes

Ms Malinsky states in her article: “As recently as the 1960s, the United States government forbade Native Americans from performing ceremonial dances on their own reservations.  It was feared that the dances might unleash a host of emotions leading to insurgency.  Religious dances, which are an integral part of native culture, were almost lost forever.  Fortunately, some were secretly preserved by a younger generation of tribal members.”

We would like to add our own tribute here.

One of the first times that we were exposed to (wonderful way of putting this) contemporary dance was in about 1965 at a dance performance by Yvonne Rainer.  Now we are older and want to add this wonderful new work by Ms. Rainer, The Concept of Dust or How do you look when there’s nothing left to move?

In the second video Ms. Rainer talks about her piece.

 

 

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