Treehouse Shakers

Treehouse Shakers
Hatched, BAM Fisher, Hillman Studio

Monday, August 12, 2013

Finding A Way Without Words

I have always loved words. I spoke early in life, and was reading picture books by four. Words make sense to me. They calm me down when I am feeling anxious, pick me up when I am feeling down. They are my daily companions. My lifelong partner. I love to make rhythms, puzzles, riddles with their meanings. I love to tell stories, I love conversation, I love to read, I love to write. Words are my eternal oasis.

When we first started Treehouse Shakers, we had to discover how our creative process would work. Over the years, we perfected our process. I wrote the script and then the words and the story were infused with choreography. This process worked for us for many years. But no artist can keep making art in the same way. Otherwise it becomes stagnant, boring to the maker, and then boring for the viewer. With Hatched I wanted to push the creative process in a new way. Making a piece for such young children, I wanted the story to be visual, tactile, auditory. There are no words in Hatched. Only the sounds of the animals and the musician's live score. To think I made a story without my most beloved companions--words--amazes me.

Audience Members During Hatched: Our tactile part of the performance for very young audiences
In our next piece, Under The Tangle, Emily* is the choreographer, and creator. She is also pushing the process. She is taking her movement to build story. Beginning with layers of choreography and imagery, Emily has created a rehearsal environment rich with improvisation, conversation, movement. The story is there, just not etched into a script, the performers are finding new ways, as artists, to make story through movement. The words will follow as this new process unfolds.

Under The Tangle Rehearsal, August 2013. Dancers were given images by the
choreographer to help build the movement story. Images on floor by Jaime Zollars.
About Under The Tangle
Visually vibrant, Under the Tangle, choreographed by Emily Bunning, tells the story of an adolescent girl lost in a labyrinth using modern dance, absurd costuming, and minimal text. The mysterious maze not only provides an intriguing set of challenges but is also the metaphor for her journey into adulthood. Throughout her journey, she twists along the maze finding numerous clues and meeting many unusual characters; a flock of whispering black birds, a haunting shadow that plays hide and seek, and a crone who swings on a ladder dangling from a grim tower. Under the Tangle, for ages 8-13, is an artistic adventure filled with obstacles, relationships, and discoveries, which strengthen the young girl’s character and enlighten her path.Under The Tangle will premiere at The Ailey Citigroup Theater, May 2014
*Emily Bunning is Treehouse Shakers' Co-Founder, Artistic Coordinator & Choreographer.

Photo Credits
Top photo by Bob Bader
Bottom Photo by Ashley Chavonne

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