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BGWS Alumni, Student Writing Featured in Ever After Dance Production Nov. 17-19

Ever After

-written by Sarah Diamond Burroway

BGWS Alumni, Student Writing Featured in Ever After Dance Production Nov. 17-19

IF YOU GO

Movement Continuum Presents Ever After

November 17 & 18, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

November 19, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.

Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center

141 East Main Street, Lexington, KY

Tickets: $20 - Adult, $15 - Student, $12 - Children 12 & Under

Box Office: 859.425.2550

(Lexington, KY) Once upon a time, there was a strong and talented woman who was skilled as both a writer and a dancer. She struggled with choosing just one genre as an artist. And so Kate Hadfield-Antonetti decided she would bring both art forms together in a production celebrating dance/movement and the spoken word. 

Movement Continuum’s first production started in 2014 with the original re-telling of Alice in Wonderland, Down the Rabbit Hole. The formula was so successful, Hadfield-Antonetti decided to use the same method to create a fresh contemporary dance production this fall. Ever After, which runs the weekend of November 17-19 at Lexington’s Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center, combines the talents of seventeen dancers and eighteen writers in a unique production that infuses freshness into classic fairytales.

Hadfield-Antonetti believes storytelling is incomplete without language and movement working together. “We needed a physical and cerebral experience for our narratives in order for our audience to be fully connected to our story. Through writers speaking for the mind and dancers speaking for the heart of our characters, we are creating a full-bodied character, one with lungs and a voice and a heart,” she said.

Creating choreography to match language creates challenges for both writer and dancer, Hadfield-Antonetti said, with both being forced out of their shells. Dancers are accustomed to working with instrumental sound so switching gears to listen to language as music opens up the possibility of innovation and ingenuity within the choreography. “Our writers have to be focused on creating language that can work with movement, which is rarely, if ever, a consideration for a writer,” she said. “Here, the writer must consider how their own language creates music; there seems to be a stronger work towards creating a piece focused on rhythm and cadence.”

I came across the call for writers on social media for this special project. As a theatre artist and writer, I was curious about this exciting project and was thrilled when my own work, a monologue in the voice of Seraphina, step-sister of Cinderella, was selected for the production. Working with Hadfield-Antonetti to capture her vision for the piece was exciting and required flexibility in crafting the story for the dancers’ stage. 

In addition to writing the character monologues, the writers also brought their work to life by recording their pieces in character. Shangri-La Studio in Lexington provided the audio recording and mixing that will be played during the production, giving the soundtrack to Ever After in the actual voices of the writers.

I loved hearing writers Jay McCoy and Deri Ross Pryor record their monologues on in the studio. I found myself focused on their words, the stories they were telling while I also envisioned how the turns of language and the musicality of voice could be used against choreography. I could easily why this project was so meaningful to its director and to all involved in this creative endeavor.

Hadfield-Antonetti said the biggest surprise in this journey has been with the writers and quite an intense experience of synchronicity. “I was expecting the writers to submit pieces that were serious and focused more on historical representations of the fairytales we are re-telling.  However, (they) submitted works that were very much fueled by personality, and quite frankly, a whole lot of sass!”

She said the writing in Ever After “genuinely brings our characters very much to life, full of voice, vivacity, and motivation.  It was a surprise that so many of our writers worked along the same avenues and veins without having directly planned this course of action with one another.”  

Several writers with ties to the MFA program at Eastern Kentucky University’s Bluegrass Writers Studio are part of this production. Alumni Deri Ross Pryor, Jay McCoy and Joseph Nichols and current student Sarah Diamond Burroway all have written work in the production. The work of Bianca Spriggs, who participated in BGWS summer residency as a visiting writer two years ago, is also featured. 

For the initial production, Down the Rabbit Hole, Deri Ross Pryor was tasked with writing the piece for the White Rabbit, a Charon type of character, a ferryman of souls to the afterlife. “That was probably the most fun I’ve ever had writing something so specific, so when I saw the call for the same type of writing for Ever After, I was all over it.”

Collaborating with Hadfield-Antonetti to capture the vision of the character of Snow White in Ever After was daunting for Pryor. “(Kate) gave us her vision for the overall story and the tone she was going for, but after that, it was sort of “dealer’s choice.” It can be hard to throw out the long-held concepts of a character and go your own way,” Pryor said. That meant tossing out “the Disney version” of the character so Pryor researched the original tale of Snow White. “While she did start off innocent, she is much less forgiving by the end of the original story.” Pryor, a 2017 graduate of the Bluegrass Writers Studio Low-residency MFA, feels being involved in both productions gave her a better sense of the final product which definitely informed her writing. She said she went in “with more confidence and excitement of the potential of what my character could be. I hope Kate will continue pushing traditional stories out of the box this way and that I can continue to be a part of it.”

Poet Joseph Nichols was selected to write the voice of The Wolf, which he describes as “definitely a very different process, to be sure.” He said each writer brought his or her own personalities and preconceptions into their roles, especially when those characters have been written, rewritten, and read countless times classic fairy tales. Nichols, who received his MFA from Bluegrass Writers Studio in 2015, said he was both excited and terrified to approach the character of The Wolf.  “There are, perhaps, few other characters who have shown up in so very many tales, both in Grimm’s and Perrault’s stories and beyond. In addition, Wolf, as a totem or spirit animal, is a major figure in countless folklores and mythologies around the world. I approached (Kate) with a very tentative step: Who was He in her tale?”

In writing The Wolf monologue, Nichols created a distinct voice which he hopes “elevates Wolf beyond merely that of an animal or a tragic brute of a villain, or even a trickster, as he is so often represented in fairy tales. I hope that the audience will connect far more deeply with him, beyond both the poetry they hear and the dance that they watch, to ask themselves what hungers drive their lives…and to what extent they will allow him out to play,” he said.
Nichols said he is most excited to see how Jorge Jackson, the dancer portraying The Wolf, will add to the character and how his movements, the score, the many aspects of stagecraft with lighting and costuming along with the words of my verse, will combine, creating an alchemical embodiment of the character for the audience. 

“If you hear a squeal of glee during the show, it may just be me!” said Nichols.

IF YOU GO

Movement Continuum Presents Ever After

November 17 & 18, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

November 19, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.

Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center

141 East Main Street, Lexington, KY

Tickets: $20 - Adult, $15 - Student, $12 - Children 12 & Under

Box Office: 859.425.2550

 

Movement Continuum Dancers: 

Kate Hadfield-Antonetti, Cara Terry, Brooke Thomas, Ashley Roberts, Mina Adams, Alexa Brandon, Caroline Combs, Charles Combs, Melissa Crawford, Megan Kinsel, Jorge Jackson, Layne McDuffie, Danielle Sadler, Sydney Prince, Erin Ratliff, Savannah Turpin, Amanda Whites

 

Ever AfterWriters: 

Bianca Spriggs, Candace Chaney, K. Nicole Wilson, Tina Andry, Donna Ison, Deri Ross Pryor, Tabitha Dial, Jay McCoy, Sarah Diamond Burroway, Leigh Anne Hornfeldt, Joseph Nichols, Haddie Rae, Elizabeth Beck, Ayna Lorenzo, Rebecca Stormcrowe, Kate Hadfield-Antonetti, Jay Collier, and Michael Thomas Swanberg.

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Movement Continuumexists to provide exposure and education opportunities in dance and art to the people in its community.

Movement Continuum

Kate Hadfield-Antonetti, Director

P.O. Box 2152
Lexington, KY 40588

Email: movementcontinuum@gmail.com

Website: www.kentuckymovement.com

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Sarah Burrway

Jay McCoy

Deri Pryor

Joseph Nichols

Published on November 14, 2017

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