Vervet Dance: press kit

Page 1


CONTENTs 01 03 06 08 09


“A curious innovation” - John Sanford Friedrich, The Carolinian


Vervet Dance is a Philadelphia-based contemporary dance company directed by Loren Groenendaal. The dance works draw on both the legacy of modern dance and cross-cultural influences to create innovative movement vocabularies and imaginative choreographies. Vervet strikes a unique balance between classic forms, new ideas, and ancient purposes for dance. Although subject matter varies, what is characteristic of the company is an ongoing intellectual diligence meeting a curious playfulness and an exploration of the visual and visceral components of dance.

Loren Groenendaal is the founder, artistic director, and

choreographer for Vervet Dance, a Philadelphia-based contemporary dance company. She earned an MFA in Choreography at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and holds a BA in dance and visual arts from Oberlin College. Her work has been performed in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania and presented by various organizations including the the Abington Art Center, the CEC including the New Edge Mix, Cultivate, Green Space Blooms, Inhale, Philly Fringe Festival, the North Carolina Dance Alliance, and the StudioSeries at Studio 34. Loren is particularly interested in building unique movement vocabularies drawing from her experience with modern, Balinese, social, breakdance and contact improvisation, investigating the community building possibilities of live art, the spectrum between improvisation and composition, and the spectrum between ritual and performance. As an improviser, she explores free and structured improvisation, solo, in duos with musicians, and in larger groups. Her practices of dancing, teaching, improvising, and choreographing are being further informed by her studies of Laban Movement Analysis and Bartenieff Fundamentals. Loren currently dances with Katherine Kiefer Stark’s The Naked Stark, Lacy James’ Mereminne dancers, Swarthmore’s Balinese Gamelan Semara Santi, and the Indonesian Cultural Club of the Delaware/Philadelphia area. She co-facillitates a weekly contact improv jam in Philadelphia. Loren has over a decade of dance teaching experience. She is a Certified Movement Analyst (CMA), earned from the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies, where she is currently assistant teaching. She often teaches Contact Improvisation, Contemporary Technique, and Somatics to adults in Philadelphia and as a guest in surrounding areas. She has taught at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and been a guest artist at Arcadia University, Juniata College, Temple University, Towson University, University of the Arts, and the University of Pennsylvania. She regularly teaches children ballet, creative movement, folk, hip hop, modern, and social dance. She is delighted to be regularly teaching for Koresh Outreach, at Studio34, and at the Free Library of Philadelphia.


Ornamentation (2010)

Ornamentation (2010) is a whimsical, quickly moving, contemporary septet that is inspired by the behavior of birds and aesthetic characteristics of classical Balinese dance from the Indonesia island of Bali. In Ornamentation, the hands of the dancers are exaggerated with feathers, similar to the way Balinese Tjauk dancers have long finger nails. The use of nature imagery, a focus on details of head and hands, energy quickly shifting from delicate to powerful, and strong musicality are in keeping with Balinese tradition, but the specific kind of hand movement, the use of asymmetry, chaos and order, and floor work add a contemporary feel. The dance is coordinated to prepared piano music by John Cage, an American composer who acknowledges a Balinese influence similar to the choreographer, Loren Groenendaal. The costumes specifically reference the carmine bee-eater, a bird native to sub-Saharan Africa, while the movement and choreography draws from a variety of birds. An anonymous audience member at the InHale series reacted with this observation, “Digitalism. Aviation. Erotisicm. Future Primitivism. Alien Primordialism.” This work can also be adapted to smaller spaces and cast sizes as “Ornamentation Variations” in which a smaller flock of birds references the spatial design of the original work. (7 minutes, 7 dancers, choreography and costume and makeup design by Loren Groenendaal, costume construction by Jakki Kalogridis)

Self-Refraction; performance of instantaneous choreography (2010)

The choreographic decisions of Self-Refraction are made instantaneously in performance from movement motifs already established. The particular movement motifs referenced, re-arranged, reflected, and refracted in live performance are the three most liked clips of a selection of ten on YouTube by voting audience members prior to the show. Believing that live performance is the most alive, relevant, and exciting when the work can be specific to that moment, Loren further challenges herself further by instantaneously choreographing this dance with audience feedback to a musical selection that is made improvisationally from a pre-screened, but not studied selection. At its premiere, John Sanford Friedrich of The Carolinian, called Self-Refraction “a curious innovation,” proclaiming it was “testing boundaries of the art” of dance. (5-10 minutes, solo choreographed and performed by Loren Groenendaal, original lighting design by R. Mitchell Fore, music varies, requires video projection)

Swarm! (2012)

This piece is a structured improvisation inspired by both the aleatoric interests and tonality of John Cage's music as well as the swarming behavior of locusts. The dancers change from my isolated creatures to more gregarious entities just as locusts become more sociable as their serotonin levels increase. The design of the dance structure follows the same pattern that the locusts inhabit. The improvisatory nature of the score encourages just enough chaos to keep this artwork present and more like the moment to moment reality that the locusts live. Further, this blurring of art and life, presentation and presence is in keeping with interests of John Cage, a prolific artist of much inspiration for the artists behind Swarm!, Melinda Faylor (composer and pianist) and Loren Groenendaal (dance score designer and performer). (about 10 minutes, cast size 5-20, choreographed by Loren Groenendaal in collaboration with the dancers and composer, original music by Melinda Faylor, can be performed in a dance theatre, unconventional space, dinner theater, or outdoors)

0.03 grams Cantharidin (2009)

This piece is a structured improvisation conceived and performed by pianist Melinda Faylor and dancer Loren Groenendaal. This work explores the space in between life and death, lust and madness through the vehicle of the potentially lethal aphrodisiac Cantharidin derived from a beetle, the Spanish Fly. (about 7 minutes, 1 dancer, 1 musician, best with an grand or baby grand piano, can be adapted)


Installments 1, 2, and 3 (2011)

This is a series of solos that bring together Vervet choreographer Loren Groenendaal's dance and visual arts interests together by focusing on the visual components of dance. These works explore how time-based dance can be sculpture, consider whether a body can be object-like without risking objectification, and expresses abstract beauty through the body. Each dance has a unique colorful costume that either exaggerates or obscures the human form. All of the Installments are very shape–oriented and bound to a small space, but each has its own style and feeling reflecting the color of the dance. Installment 1 and Installment 2 are both very slowly progressing, while Installment 3 takes on the challenge of being sculptural while moving quickly.

Installment 1 (green) A sense of mystery and wonder grows in the

audience watching the dancer reach gently and slowly upwards, passing through unexpected shapes with taut angles and swaying curves. (8 minutes, 1 dancer, 1 musician, choreography by Loren Groenendaal, costume designed by Loren Groenendaal and constructed by Jakki Kalogridis, music by Melinda Faylor inspired by Olivier Messaien, can be performed in small and unconventional spaces)

Installment 2 (purple)

includes the intuitive exploration on the color purple, the drapery of the costume, and the more formal consideration of continual turning brings out a ritual-like meditation on persistence, beauty, and ongoingness in the cosmos or in an individual. (about 10 minutes, 1 dancer, 1 musician, choreographed by Loren Groenendaal, music by flandrew fleisenberg, can be performed in small and unconventional spaces)

Installment 3 (orange) zip! zap! go! stop! with a sense of urgency

angular shapes are made, sometimes wildly, almost falling, but always precise and held until the next surprise happens. (5-7 minutes, 1 dancer, 1 musician, choreographed by Loren Groenendaal, music by flandrew fleisenberg, can be performed in small and unconventional spaces)


TAPE WORK (2013) Tape Work is a mixed-media structured improvisational action performed by Vervet Artistic Director Loren Groenendaal in collaboration with flandrew fleisenberg. The performance combines live visual art, dance, and music within an installation constructed in real-time. flandrew performs dynamic percussive assemblages inspired by the live installation and movement. The percussion includes varied patterned sequences responding to or leading the visual art and the dance movement. Loren activates and inscribes the space with colored tape, simultaneously creating sound while constructing a 2 and 3-dimensional visual art installation. Throughout the performance, Loren builds an ever-changing environment which becomes a vibrant set for movement exploration. (duration is variable and adaptable, preferably 2 sets of 15 minutes each can be 1 set of 20 minutes, 1 dancer, 1 musician, piece is adaptable to various venues and is particularly well suited to art galleries)


MASTER CLASSES & TEACHING Vervet Dance Artistic Director Loren Groenendaal or a Vervet Dance Company member is available to teach master classes in the following disciplines for children or adults: Balinese dance technique or repertory Bartenieff Fundamentals composition contemporary/modern technique contact improvisation creative movement folk/social dances improvisation Laban Movement Analysis (as Theory or Somatic Practice) the Underscore

Specialized programs: Laban Movement Analysis for character development Visual arts as inspiration for movement/dance Improvisation in performance Partnering, for professional/aspiring dancers or common folk to learn trust and life skills Collaboration between dance and music Math Moves, dance as a tool to learn and practice mathematical concepts Spatial literacy Creative Movement Storytime

Testimonials about teaching: "Loren is clearly invested in her students, and understands that education begins with the child/individual, not learning objectives or content. At the same time, she meticulously plans and constantly re-evaluates material. She lets every one of her own learning experiences (which happen every day because she is consistently inquisitive and open) permeate her teaching philosophy - so it is always adapting; she always has something new to offer her students, if she deems it appropriate." - Barbara Tait, dancer, student, and colleague "I have never had a conversation with someone who so understands the general nature and needs of toddlers. Her approach of giving young children waves of bound instruction and open flow seems a perfect fit for the cognitive needs of this age group. - Barbara Tait, dancer, student, and colleague “Loren is a marvelous teacher. Her ideas about development and symmetry resonate all the time in my dancing.� - Benjamin Pierce, student and contact jam facilitator


PRESS/ FEEDBACK “impressive” - Emily Strout, The Oberlin Review “Testing boundaries of the art continued with "Self-Refraction" where YouTube even made an appearance. Dance, like theater or live music, unavoidably contains elements of improvisation in each performance. This is a good thing when it keeps an art from tiring. Loren Groenendaal offered a glimpse of the possible future of dance with an improvised dance inspired by three video clips of her earlier work which had been voted on by YouTube watchers and shown to the audience. A curious innovation.” - John Sanford Friedrich, The Carolinian “Pushing-the-envelope experimentation” - Leo Beletsky, Philadelphia Weekly “Peeking through a crack in the door to watch a girl dancing to herself in her own bedroom was the feeling given by the night's first piece "Put it on." Loren Groenendaal's creation was a personal one, with a certain careening and 'wildness' that made is seem like an improvisation though it was not. Groenendaal had several interesting movements during this piece, such as an ability to move some of her limbs in a slightly independent fashion, creating a 'segmented' look to her body and movements. These movements shifted near the end into a sort of intoxicated looseness that raised interest just as the curtain fell. - John Sanford Friedrich, The Carolinian

Audience Testimonials "Loren is a thoughtful and fine-tuned improviser. When she performs, both her natural movement quality and her diverse technical training come through generously. She can adapt to and utilize challenging musical and spatial scenarios with poise and charming quirkiness." - Barbara Tait "Loren Groenendaal has found the place where body movement and big ideas meet. Ververt performances stretch your mind while keeping you entertained." - Dan Shiffner “Loren Groenendaal's pieces with Vervet Dance never fail to be transfixing, transformative experiences” - Whitney Postman




front cover // “Installment 1” by Bill Herbert contents // “Self Refraction” by Sinru Ku 02 // “Ornamentation” by Rupa DasGupta 04 // “Secondary Colors” by Matthew J. Wright 05 // “Tape Work” by Alan DiBerio 07 // Loren teaching by Beth McKee Elliott 08 // “Ornamentation” by Justin Tornow; “Ornamentation” by Sinru Ku; “Ornamentation” by Justin Tornow 09 // “Self-Refraction” by Sinru Ku back cover // “Installment 1” by Bill Herbert

graphic design

Tori Lawrence //


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.