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Save the date for a weekend of emotion, humor, passion, and dance during the first annual CinemaDance Festival at Pathways Arts Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 11 and 12. CinemaDance Festival is a joint effort between Pathways Arts and dance film curator Lisa Gross, featuring screenings of classic and new dance films.
Dance film is not just film and it’s not just dance, but a hybrid art form all its own, using film techniques in tandem with dance choreography.
“It takes a dance choreographer and works with the director of cinematography to create its own unique work,” Gross said of CinemaDance. “It’s usually on locations, changing perspectives, changing time. It really becomes its own thing.”
Gross speaks with zeal about dance films and how the camera is interacting with the dancers. Unlike music videos, which tend to cut to different scenes or images, a dance film, Gross says, has a cohesiveness and a flow, all representing a whole.
“You’re trying to capture movement in and of itself,” Gross said. “It’s very pure, it’s very simple, but it’s also really difficult.”
Gross’ passion for CinemaDance can be traced back to her days as a choreographer, when people would say her dance pieces had a cinematic quality to them.
“I realized what I was trying to do was change perspective and time in a way that you can’t really do on the stage, but I was just trying to see what could happen,” she said.
Over time, Gross shifted her focus from dance to education advocacy and her family. It wasn’t until her move to the Vineyard that she began to go back to her creative roots.
Last year, Gross approached Pathways co-director Keren Tonnesen and asked if she could show a few dance films. After a showing, Gross got great feedback, and began organizing a full film festival.
Curating the films was no easy task; Gross spent weeks researching films. This summer, she went to the Dance on Camera Festival in New York; she looked for films online, and spoke to production companies to get the rights to show their films.
Knowing that a CinemaDance Festival would be something brand-new for many people, Gross decided to incorporate some classics of dance film, spanning decades. The films cover the emotional spectrum from serious to funny, happy to sad, but all inspiring in a different way.
The festival is broken up into different screenings. The first set will be short films, ranging in length from 60 seconds to 34 minutes. The shorts begin with a humorous and dramatic group of films that touch on themes of “perfection and pretense,” and looks at how society measures the individual. The shorts will end with a film set in a former nuclear reactor hall at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.
Saturday will close out with two documentaries. There’s a new documentary about Alexander Ekman, a Swedish choreographer, and his piece “Play Serious,” which follows his choreography, anxiety, and juggling of time limits at the Paris Opera. Ekman looks at the meaning of play, its inherit spontaneity, and how to translate that into a formalized work.
The second day of the festival looks at dance films focusing on social justice. The films travel from the streets of Camden, N.J., to the desert of the Middle East, looking at inequalities across racial and socioeconomic lines, and the oppression of women and their struggles to heal and be free. The most notable film is “From Here to There,” which follows a group of women who are survivors of sexual violence and marginalization, using dance movement therapy to empower themselves.
The festival will close with two documentaries that focus on two different periods in the creative process of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, a world-renowned Belgian choreographer. The first was filmed in 1983, and follows De Keersmaeker’s “Rosas Danst Rosas,” a classic dance piece that was her international breakthrough. The second is “Mitten,” a 2019 film that follows the final weeks of rehearsal for De Keersmaeker’s newest piece, based on the six cello suites by Johann Sebastian Bach, and the intense collaboration between the choreographer, the dancers, and cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras. The film follows De Keersmaeker as she creates a dance piece by studying classical music.
For now, Gross is focusing on curating dance films, but says she might be behind the camera herself one day.
“I tried to curate films that showed a wide variety of what a dance film is, while also trying to make them accessible so people who don’t normally watch dance films can watch it and enjoy them,” Gross said. “I just wanted to make sure there was something for everyone.”
The CinemaDance Festival, Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 11 and 12. For more information, film listings, or to reserve a seat, visit bit.ly/cinemadancemv. Seats should be reserved ahead of time. Screenings are $5 admission. The festival will be followed by a reception.
“We have creative hothouses, including the laudable Pathways Projects Institutes, brainchild of Marianne Goldberg, which provides support, a performance venue, and an audience for Island writers.”
– Jack Shea in his December 30. 2014 article
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Martha’s Vineyard Times Article January 30th,2019 by Gwyn Mcallister
In honor of Black History Month, Pathways will exhibit the work of two African American artists at the Chilmark Tavern during the month of February. Local painter Harry Seymour and Boston-area artist Nygel Jones will be the featured artists.
Jones’ work is unique for a number of reasons. The first and most obvious thing that sets his work apart from the mainstream is the way that he displays his paintings. He builds his own frames, which are very often constructed in unique shapes and/or designed to fit together with each other. Not one to limit himself to right angles, Jones’ frames are sculptural works in their own right. Having grown up with a carpenter father, the artist, a skilled woodworker himself, is as interested in creating visually arresting ways to display his work as he is in painting the pictures enclosed by his unusual frames.
“The first job I had was for a custom signmaking business,” says Jones. “We did a couple of projects making these crazy unusual shapes. Now I can break beyond the traditional square or rectangle. I just started making my picture frames unorthodox. It’s more of an exercise for myself.”
In 2015, Jones earned a B.F.A. in interdisciplinary arts from Montserrat College of Art in Beverly. He studied painting for the first two years, then focused on sculpture for the second half of his tenure. It was only in 2017 that he returned to painting in earnest. However, he continues to combine his interest in architecture and three-dimensional art with his current work.
Last January Jones’ work was featured at the National Center of Afro-American Artists in Roxbury. He showed a triptych series called “Debut and Departing.” In his artist statement from that show, Jones wrote, “In my recent work, landscapes, architecture, and design are the main focal points in my making my own rules. Visually, my work embraces ideas and aesthetics interests similar to those of early 20th century Futurism, and of industrial design. Like those productions, my focus is on scale, proportions, and perspective. As an artist, the inspiration for creating my fictional geography is right in front of me wherever I go throughout the city’s complex and diverse infrastructure.”
At the Chilmark Tavern, the artist will be exhibiting seven pieces from various series.
Sharing the exhibit space will be new work by Harry Seymour. On his website, Seymour states, “I draw on the beauty of Martha’s Vineyard and my African American cultural experiences for inspiration.” Among Seymour’s work on display will be a pastel painting called “Mama Rose,” a portrait of the cook for an organization called the Precious Project that helps orphaned and abandoned children in Tanzania. All proceeds from the sale of framed canvas prints of the image will be donated to the Precious Project.
The work of Nygel Jones and Harry Seymour will hang at Pathways at the Chilmark Tavern through the end of February. An opening reception with the artists in attendance will be held on Sunday, Feb. 3, from 3 to 6 pm.
THE VINEYARD GAZETTE ARTICLE BY VIVIAN EWING Jan. 30th 2019
February is African American History Month, and in honor of that history Pathways Arts is holding a multimedia art show at its space in the Chilmark town center. Veteran Island artist Harry Seymour will show his work alongside Nygel Jones, who is making his Island debut. The opening reception will be held on Sunday, Feb. 3 from 3 to 6 p.m. Pathways Arts is at the Chilmark Tavern.
Mr. Jones lives in Roxbury and has visited his family’s home in Oak Bluffs for many summers. “I would come here and see paintings in shops and galleries and I had a vision for my own,” he said. “I thought maybe I could have my work in a gallery here one day.”
A vision for the future and a look back at the past are inspiration for both artists. “In my work,” Mr. Jones said, “there are hints of black culture, Afros, seventies fashion, like the Panthers. When I look at my own family photo albums, I’m inspired by my family, their cars, their clothes.”
Mr. Seymour, who works in egg tempera, scratch painting and wax pastels and has shown his work widely, said he is excited to be showing with a young painter. “I am certainly supportive of giving opportunities for new African American artists to show their work,” he said. The age difference between the two artists spans several decades. “I’m 76 so I’ve been around the block,” Mr. Seymour said. “I’m sure we’ll have an interesting discussion at the reception.”
THE VINEYARD GAZETTE December 6th, 2018
Beating a Path to Pathways
Pathways continues to heat up the arts scene during the quiet winter months. Tonight, Jan. 25, from 7 to 9 p.m., the monthly series News from the Oceans screens a selection of short films about saving the ocean and the plight of sharks.
Every Tuesday is dedicated to open readings from 7 to 9 p.m. and on Thursday, Jan. 31, Cindy Kallet and Gray Larsen perform. The duo has been making music together for 15 years, but the deep catalogue stretches back much further, to songs Ms. Kallet wrote while living on the Vineyard in the 70s. The evening will include traditional Irish music, Scandinavian fiddle duets, old-time fiddle and guitar tunes and much more. The show begins at 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 2, is the final chance for kids to help choose the short films that will be shown at the 19th annual Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival on March 21-24. The program begins at 10 a.m.
Pathways is located at 9 State Road in Chilmark. For a full list of upcoming events visit pathwaysmv.org.
MV TIMES ARTICLE November 14th, 2018 by Gwyn McAllister
Pathways Arts kicked off its 2018-19 season last week with two events. Last Tuesday, folks gathered at the Chilmark Tavern for the first of Pathways’ Writing and Poetry Tuesdays, a weekly evening of readings that will take place throughout the winter and spring.
Last Friday, dozens of dancers and choreographers showed off new works. The evening began with the crowd-pleasing Island Hip Hop Dance Crew. About 22 dancers ranging in age from 10 on up entertained the audience with some classic hip-hop moves. That performance was followed by a variety of other dance forms, including tap from Sophie Hiller and Joanne Cassidy, improv from the group What’s Written Within, and a contemporary solo dance from Corinne de Langavant, who was accompanied by David Stanwood on piano. The evening also included a couple of videos. Tessa Permar showed clips of herself performing something she calls couch choreography, and Bob McLean provided some videos of underwater dance.
The live performances were followed by an open public dance, with DJ KOS (Keith Bassett) spinning tunes.
On Friday, Nov. 16, Pathways will present the first in a monthly series of ocean-related films with screenings of two documentaries, “The Memory of Fish” about the disappearance of salmon in the Pacific Northwest, and a film from the “Saving the Ocean” series on Trinidad’s giant turtles. Scott Crawford co-director of Pathways Arts, explains that the film series was launched this year to honor founder Marianne Goldberg’s longstanding advocacy of ocean stewardship.
Pathways is celebrating its 10th anniversary of bringing the arts in all of their myriad forms to Island audiences throughout the off-season. All events take place at the organization’s space at the Chilmark Tavern. A rotating art show is always on display, with the work of photographer Mia Stromberg currently hanging. The space is open for drop-in visitors from 11 am to 5 pm every day except Wednesday and Sunday. “People can work on projects, have a meeting, rehearse or just stop in to use the Wi-Fi,” says Crawford. “We encourage everyone who is creating art of any kind.”
Writers, dancers, musicians, filmmakers, artists, and others are welcome to perform or present new work at Pathways. The public is invited — free of charge — to attend all events, which always include some socializing time. The Pathways space will be open through April. New events are scheduled throughout the season. Check out the Pathways website, pathwaysmv.org, for updates.
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