Femmes: Residency/Performance Platform
Femmes: Residency/Performance Platform, began in 2008 to provide creative process feedback and the sharing of technical and career support for female artists, culminating in shared performances. The 2013-2014 edition involves three very different emerging dance and interdisciplinary performance artists: Michal Samama and Rebecca Patek, and facilitating artist Karen Bernard. Although “modern dance” has its original seeds in the ground-breaking, visionary expression of strong women such as Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham and Mary Wigman, the current American landscape is often dominated by men whose careers have been especially nurtured by powerful institutions. Femmes offer an unapologetic and in-depth forum to develop close dialogue and foster not only the production of highly original artistic work, but also the career development of female artists at different stages of their careers. Femmes offers 20 hours of free rehearsal space at New Dance Alliance’s rehearsal space in Lower Manhattan, as well as creative feedback sessions and exchange of information regarding administration, marketing and production. The resulting shared performance is produced as part of the New Dance Alliance’s annual international Performance Mix Festival.
The culminating performance is quite special, because the artists have been together engaging in each other’s creative and business work over an extended period of time. The different dynamic mix of personalities, interests, and subjects push the process of each of the artists’ involvement in many challenging and invigorating ways. The theme of empowerment is incorporated directly into the work of the artists, as they explore and question normative viewpoints on sexuality, body image, preconceived notions, expectations, and roles; and the concepts of virtuosity and accomplishment within parameters of artistic exploration that are strongly and clearly self-defined instead of received.
Photo: Michael Samama Video: Karen Bernard