At the launch of its 10th Anniversary Season, Vermont Performance Lab (VPL) partners with The School for Contemporary Dance and Thought (SCDT) in Northampton, MA to co-present a work-in-progress of choreographer Aretha Aoki’s latest work, New, created in collaboration with visual and sound artist Ryan MacDonald.
Since 2006, VPL has supported the creative process of over 350 artists working in dance, theater, music and film through its innovative Lab Program. Partnerships with arts organizations like SCDT are key to allowing VPL to respond to each artist's research needs, expand audience reach and create non-conventional pathways for engagement and connection between audience and artist. SCDT programs performances and workshops with established international performance practitioners and offers a dynamic range of dance training in Northampton, MA.
Aoki and MacDonald are based in Western Massachusetts and their project was selected for development through VPL’s SEED Program. Created in partnership with the performance incubator Studio 303 in Montréal, the SEED Program is part of a growing initiative at VPL to provide more robust creation support and visibility for local choreographers. Aoki and MacDonald will develop their new work through residencies at VPL and Studio 303 and will receive commissioning fees, studio space, and additional resources to support the development and presentation of New.
Aoki’s choreography has been performed in various venues throughout New York City and New England. The New York Times dance listing has described her solos as "contemplative and probing." She often collaborates with MacDonald on the sound score and visual imagery in her work. MacDonald is an award-winning short fiction writer, animator, and composer. The impulse for New comes from an ongoing practice started in 2014 that the artists describe as “letting the ghosts come in the space of performance.” To develop New the artists will draw on Aoki’s Japanese heritage, family stories and memories to create text and an improvisational movement score to become, as she says, “a medium for the residue of family history.”
On Friday, April 29 at 7:00pm, VPL will partner with SCDT to co-present a work-in-progress of New. Reservations can be made by calling SCDT at 413-695-1799.
VPL’s SEED Program is supported by grants from the New England Foundation for the Arts’ New England States Touring Program, the Vermont Community Foundation's Arts Endowment Fund, the Québec Government Office in Boston and VPL’s Creation Fund donors.