The April 2016 performances at Links Hall Constellaton have been postponed.
The COLLISIONS project will still continue with performances schduled for a future date.
COLLISIONS is a multi-year dance project that explores and addresses ideas of immediate impact on our lives; tensions between generations, cultures, and climatic changes. It seeks to reveal the value and experience of what the aging performer and dancer bring to the audience. This project is a culmination of the depth, history, invention, teaching, and collaborations that Shirley Mordine has experienced in her years as Artistic Director. The project includes a duet composed and performed by Hema Rajagopalan and Mordine to contrast aging dancers from different cultural traditions; a work choreographed by the Company dancers and set on Mordine to examine the role of age in relation to teaching, learning, voice and author; a work composed by puppeteer Michael Montenegro that will pair Mordine with a life-size puppet operated by two dancers; and a piece for five dancers that focuses on the evolution and changes of natural elements as witnessed in nature. An additional component of this project is a public conversation series that will explore these topics with a wider audience.
DIRECTOR: Shirley Mordine
COLLABORATORS: Michael Montenegro, Hema Rajagopalan and Mordine & Co. Dancers
MORDINE & CO DANCERS: Danielle Gilmore, John Jandernoa, Melissa Pillarella, Emily Stepleton, Rachel Vogeney
LIGHTING DESIGN: Josh Weckesser
ARTISTIC CONSULTANT: Beth Corning
ABOUT THE COLLABORATORS:
MICHAEL MONTENEGRO is artistic director of Theatre Zarko which has presented to the Chicago audiences original puppet theater plays such as: He Who, Haff (The Man), Sublime Beauty of Hands, Klown Kantos, and Iktu Blas.
For over twenty years, puppet artist Michael Montenegro has been developing his unique style of puppet and mask theater in the Chicago community both as a solo artist and as a collaborator with different theater groups. Commissioned projects include: Argonautica with Lookingglass Theatre, directed by Mary Zimmerman, The War With the Newts and The Long Christmas Ride Home with Next Theatre , and The Puppetmaster of Lodz with Writer’s Theatre which garnered a Jeff Award for Puppet Design.
HEMA RAJAGOPALAN is the Founder and Artistic Director of Natya Dance Theatre, an organization that specializes in performing and teaching Bharata Natyam, the dance-theatre of India. Natya Dance Theatre celebrated its 40th anniversary with its 2014-2015 season. She is a dancer, teacher, and choreographer of international reputation committed to preserving Bharata Natyam in its full integrity, developing the art form in new directions and bringing it to diverse audiences.
Hema has performed as a soloist at prestigious venues throughout the world, receiving critical acclaim. Her gurus are some of the foremost figures in Bharata Natyam: Padma Shri K. N. Dandayudapani Pillai and Padma Bhushan Kalanidhi Narayanan, one of the world's greatest exponents of Abhinaya, the art of conveying emotion in a stylized manner by means of the hands, the body and facial expressions.
Scores of students trained under her have distinguished themselves as performers, teachers and choreographers. Her teaching accolades include the Master Teacher Award from the Asian American Heritage Council and the Master Teacher Award from the City of Chicago. She has served as a dance panelist with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Illinois Arts Council and other state arts agencies. Hema has been appointed by the Canadian government to assess Bharata Natyam dance training programs. She conducts workshops and master classes at colleges and universities throughout the country.
Hema feels that, as an artist, her task is to produce aesthetically pleasing performances but also to consider her responsibilities as a citizen of the world. She is influenced by the evolving cultural environment around her, and uses her art to foster cross-cultural understanding and social harmony. As a choreographer, she has created numerous short works as well as over fifty evening-length productions that have toured to leading national and international venues.
Recent works include The Flowering Tree, which premiered at the Harris Theatre in 2011, a collaboration with Mordine & Company to create Pushed to the Edge, co-creating Seventh Love with Lookingglass Theatre’s David Kersner, an international collaboration with Nan Jombang, a contemporary dance company from Indonesia, on the new original work The Incomplete Gesture, and the premiere of Varna – Colors of White at the Dance Center of Columbia College in October 2015.
Among the many prestigious awards that Hema has received are an Emmy Award for the PBS production of World Stage Chicago, seven National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Awards (the highest number ever received by any American choreographer), and, in India, and the Vishwa Kala Bharati Award for artistic excellence. In 2004, she was the first choreographer working in an Indian movement tradition to be selected by the Chicago Dancemakers Forum to create new work, and was also honored by the Bhairavi Fine Arts Society of Cleveland with the Nritya Seva Mani (Devotee of Dance) Award: Hema is the first US-based dancer to receive this award.
BETH CORNING (Artistic Consultant) toured second take – a solo repertory concert — from 1981- 83 — nationally and internationally, showcasing cutting edge and historical choreographers, as well as her own work. In 1982 she formed corning dances & company in Stockholm, Sweden attracting some of the countries major performing artists and designers, including members of the renowned Cullberg Ballet Company. In 1986 CD&C continued its success in the US, including NYC, and from 1993 – 2003 in Minneapolis, MN. In 2003 Corning moved to Pittsburgh to become the Executive Artistic Director of Dance Alloy Theater, which she ran successfully until 2009. In 2010 she launched CORNINGWORKS, a vehicle for her GLUE FACTORY PROJECTS and other projects of collaborative dancetheater works created in conjunction with seasoned creative and performing artists. Corning has created over 60 works, including 21 full-evening productions, and numerous commissioned works for companies including Utah Repertory Dance Theater, Pennsylvania Dance Theater, Eugene Ballet Company, Groundwork’s Dancetheater, and Nye Carte Blanche in Norway, among others. She choreographed the feature-length Danish/ Swedish film production of Stravinsky’s “The Rake’s Progress” directed by Inger Åby, conducted by Esa Pekka Salonen, and starring Barbara Hendriks. She was twice invited to Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute/ dance-film- video lab. She has been the subject matter of two TV documentaries, for Swedish National TV and for Iowa Public TV. Her work has been recognized by over 70 international and national grants; including the American Scandinavian Foundation, American Express Philanthropic Foundation, multiyear support from the Jerome, Bush, and Harkness Foundations, Sage Cowles, NYC Pilgrim’s Project, MN Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and the Iowa Arts Council among others. Locally her work has garnered support of The Heinz Endowments, The Pittsburgh, Fine, and Hillman Foundations, several Anonymous Donors, First Commonwealth Bank, PNC Charitable Trust, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, and numerous corporate entities. As well she has been awarded numerous Choreographer Fellowships from the McKnight Foundation, MN State Arts Board, DanceMagazine, NY Foundation for the Arts, and the PA Council for the Arts. Most recently she was one of ten regional artists awarded the Pittsburgh Foundation/Heinz Endowments Investing in Professional Artists Grant. She has been recognized by; The Minneapolis Annual Arts Registry as one of 25 artists for making a difference in the Twin Cities art scene; by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as one of the TOP 50 CREATIVE FORCES IN PITTSBURGH, noting“ she brought with her a certain edge that had been missing on the local dance scene.” as a New Hazlett Theatre honoree for “Women in the Arts: Founders, Pioneers, Instigators”; and most recently PITTSBURGH’S POP CITY cited her as one “Five Pittsburghers shaking up the status quo and reshaping our world”.