A Nuit Blanche Event for All !!!
By Ariel Len of Zoey´s Projects
In response to Toronto´s Nuit Blanche 2015 theme of ¨Memory Lane,¨and to the fabulous 401 Richmond arts building´s theme of ¨Archive,¨-organized by the hard working, Cynthia Mykytyshyn, and I am sure many others as well - I am going to revisit the year 2008 in my life.
At the beginning of 2008, I invented what I call, Dance-Painting, as a way of using my entire body to document my Spirit onto large scale (10´ by 8´ and 10´ by 15´) canvases, using a new combination of dance and paint, as well as creating other methods of body painting. I also invented a method of attaching 5 or more paint brushes to my body all at once, in a way that fully frees me up to dance.
I cross train for about 20 hours a week using weights (including being one of the only people in the gym of any gender, age or ability level, to do pull ups!), gravity, aqua fit, barre, both contemporary choreography, and guerilla freestyle dance, yoga, stretching, meditation, tennis and racquetball.
I do all of this in order to be able to create on a more than full time basis, and at my maximum capacity, in my chosen Professional artistic genres, and through my own arts business Zoey´s Projects. I do filmmaking, choreography, dance, writing, visual, multi-medium, performance art, and every possible, inter- combination of each!!!
Flash forward to the year 2015. I can still make art in all of the above genres, on a more than full time basis. I can still put down my cane and dance all of the short works, which I also create. I have also incorporated my cane, and my newest tool - my walker on wheels (named Athena) - into some of my dance works.
In the portrait of myself above, which I designed to replace boring head shots, and which was taken by my Techie J.P., you can see some of the equipment and costume pieces which I have used in my projects. This includes: the gas mask which I wear when Dance-Painting with real paint, my real film camera and tripod, a painting I made with 7 of my body parts, my wheelie Athena, my lilac wig from my Contemporary Marilyn Monroe dance costume, my sparkling shoes from my Hilda Doolittle dance costume, my cane, one of my paint brushes, and an old fashioned, typewriter to represent both my writing, and also as a hint of an upcoming dance performance,Tribute to another famous Womyn, which I am currently creating. Please note: the position of my raised cane was not intended as censorship of another person´s art! Rather, it is just an indication of the limits of my own arm height! I really love that statue celebrating Womyn, which is why I chose to pose in that location!!!
My Site Specific Project
The Audience Participation Workshop and Live Dance Performance!!!
I am going to do an interactive, live, audience participation, workshop/performance, in which I teach an all inclusive, all ages, and all abilities audience, how to translate their own body movements, into their own unique spirit dances!
Everyone is welcome to come out and have some fun with us!
We will pretend that we are each painting on our own canvases, and we will each be using imaginary paint. Once an hour, for half an hour, beginning at 7:30 p.m. (5 times in total) until the last group meets at 11:30 p.m., I will take a new group of people each time, and show them how to do this. Please note, that we will have limited space and limited chairs available for each group, on a first come first served basis. So far, we will only be able to have Sign Language Interpretation (ASL) available for the first two groups at 7:30 and 8:30 pm, unless we get more Sponsors. Please watch my website zoeysprojects.com for all upcoming details about this event, including all barrier free, and child hearing protection, instructions.
I will explain what Dance-Painting is, and how and why I created it.
I will show everyone the safety, and other equipment I use to do it.
Then I will do a workshop/audience participation demonstration, by showing each group, how to Dance-Paint, first by using only their minds, hearts and spirits, and next, through their faces and heads, including hair dancing, (one of my favourite parts!) for those with restricted movement who use for example, wheelchairs, and for all participants who wish to try it.
I will then move through each key area of the body: arms, hands, legs, feet, back and bum, and show each group many different ways to move, to express their Spirits, through Dance-Painting.
I will also up the challenge, by offering a new educational experience to 2 audience members per group, who do not know what it is like to be a Person of Diverse Abilities (my created, respectful term to replace DISabled).
For 2 adults per group, (I will select someone who is a Dancer, or other professional or amateur athlete, or someone who works out on a regular basis) I will offer to loan one of them my rollator on wheels, and another one my cane to move with, while also trying Dance-Painting. They will be placed at the back of the space so that they do not interfere with the other participants, while trying these new skills. They will learn from this experience, and so will the others in the group who see them trying it.
At the end of this workshop, we will all do Dance-Painting for about 10 minutes, to excerpts of music in many different genres, from the 1950´s to 2015, all cut together!
Each time I do this process with a new group, I will do what I call guerilla choreography, (new moves spontaneously created within the moment) adapted to be inclusive of the abilities of each member of the group, and to new music each time! I will select music which is all ages appropriate, and which celebrates many different diversities/cultures.
We can also offer the extra option of dividing the space in half, with those who wish to be filmed and later shown on my website, going on the side of the space with the film camera. Those who do not wish to be filmed can go on the other side. People love the chance to be on websites!
If I do my job properly, there will be a city (and beyond!) filled with 3 year olds asking to dance to 1960´s music, and 80 and 90 something, year olds, ¨Getting down¨ to the latest Electronica music, and every other option in between!!!
Everyone will be Dance-Painting, in all of the ways that work best for each of them!!!
I would like to thank my team for this event - J.P. Hunter of Zoey´s Projects, (Technical Editor and Second Artistic Editor of film, music, and website, Co-DOP and Photographer) and Kerry-Lee Finkle, (Actor and Dramatic Interpreter - ASL/English. See also IMDB, under her name) who will be providing the ASL.
I would also like to thank our Sponsor - the Bloor Yorkville Eye Clinic, as well as the 401 Richmond Street West, Arts building!
I would also like to call your attention to a second Nuit Blanche event which is for all ages and all abilities participants - Peggy Baker´s FluxDelux event - See website peggybakerdance.com
If you would like more information about my event, including barrier free access, etc. or if you would like to Sponsor us for this event (or for an ongoing, plethora of upcoming projects which I am always creating and developing) then please watch our website, or go to ¨Contact us¨ at the top of the page at zoeysprojects.com. (See also IMDB under Ariel Len)
We will continue posting new information on our site.
You are also always welcome to join my mailing list, or to e-mail myself, or my Techie J.P. at any time, through ¨Contact Us¨ on my site.
We hope to see as many of you there, as we can possibly fit into our space!!!