Listen to Vangeline talk about her next show, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, and learn how butoh and coffee trash connect.
Sat, Apr 15, 2017 6:00 AM
Listen to Vangeline talk about her next show, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, and learn how butoh and coffee trash connect.
Sat, Apr 15, 2017 6:00 AM
Americans love coffee. But our love affair with coffee comes at a cost. Most people think these disposable coffee cups are recyclable. They're wrong.Would it surprise you that it actually has lots of plastic actually in the lining of the cup? Coffee cups don't biodegrade, and they're piling up in landfill where they become a major pollution hazard. A lot of plastic ends up in our water sources.
50 billion paper cups end in U.S. landfills every year because they can't be recycled.
This is a WAKE UP CALL FOR COFFEE LOVERS. So at Vangeline Theater, we are starting a campaign and show called Wake Up and Smell The Coffee.
We went around New York and collected 1000 used cups from the garbage. And we will dance in a set made of these cups April 20-22nd at Triskelion Arts.
Join us and WAKE UP - BUY A REUSABLE MUG TODAY.
And come see our show next April!
Vangeline is excited to announce a collaboration with artists Esperanza Spalding and Yuka C. Honda - Virgin Writes on Jan 27 at Pioneer Works
We are incredibly proud to share with you this new music video featuring an artist who will take the world by storm: Serpentwithfeet. Vangeline was thrilled to choreograph this music video "four ethers" and coach this very talented artist. Our friend Timothy Saccenti directed this very beautiful and movingwork.
"serpentwithfeet was already named one of the Best New Artists Of 2016 on the strength of his enthralling blisters EP, a stunning work that blended elements of R&B, gospel, chamber-pop, and electronic music into one dark, unclassifiable mist. And now he’s given that sound some visuals, teaming up with directors Timothy Saccenti and Alvin Cruz, aka CRUDO, to make a music video for EP track “four ethers” inspired by the Japanese avant-garde dance form of Butoh. Watch below.
Choreographed, Conceived and Performed by Vangeline
Produced by Vangeline Theater
Off Off Broadway, Dance
Runs through 10.31.16
Producer's Club, 358 West 44th Street
by Taylor Black on 10.29.16
BOTTOM LINE: Vangeline's virtuosic solo performance will make your skin crawl in the best way possible, conjuring the ghosts of tortured geniuses Beethoven and Tatsumi Hijikata and bringing Butoh into the 21st century with technical marvels and masterful skill.
In trying to describe Vangeline’s virtuosic solo Butoh Beethoven, I keep returning to the film A Clockwork Orange, where the protagonist Alex adores the sensuous music of “Ludwig Van” as a backdrop to his ultra-violence, only to later lash out at the Ninth Symphony’s use in his aversion torture as “a sin!...Ludwig Van never hurt anyone, Beethoven just wrote music.”
The analogy between the film and Butoh Beethoven seems perfect: an all-white aesthetic coupled with a revolting, crawling, insectile feel and a complex critique of violence and the disconnect of the modern world, with all this ickiness set to Beethoven’s gorgeous, melodious symphonies. And Vangeline herself has a stated goal: to “bring Butoh into the 21st century” through a connection to film aesthetics, technology, and the trials of the modern age. But it seems that perhaps Vangeline knows something the protagonist of Kubrick’s film misses: that a piece of music does far more than simply exist, and can be violent, glorious, and wracked with history, a secret the Butoh form of dance knows well.
As the postscript “Admiring Tatsumi Hijikata” suggests, Vangeline conjures the ghost of one of the originators of Butoh, who helped to found the discipline in the wake of World War II and the bombing of Hiroshima. Living in this aftermath, Hijikata’s dance form conjures the spectral realm of suffering to explore the darkness within. Butoh dance is described as much by its absence as anything, and Vangeline follows the path of darkness in dancing the absence of these two ghostly, larger-than-life figures. Built from emptiness, darkness, and creepiness, Butoh Beethoven admires Beethoven and Hijikata by simmering in the hole their legacy leaves behind.
In the first act, Vangeline enters a dark stage with a pulsating, siren-like heart of light, strobing through the darkness for Hitchcock-creepy stage pictures. With the signature interminable slowness of Butoh movement, the piece transitions into Vangeline, an LED conductor’s baton, and infinite silence. As the lights come up the piece transitions into Beethoven’s "Fifth Symphony," as Vangeline conjures the spirit of Ludwig Van himself in a corpselike, tortured grotesque form. The figure proceeds to conduct the orchestra through the first movement, in fitful and captivating moves, though it is difficult to tell who is conducting who as Vangeline both initiates and responds to the musical cue, her face twitching through expressions equal parts orgasmic and agonized.
The soundscape is more than just the "Fifth Symphony" though, incorporating the coughs and shuffling of a recorded audience that brings the music back down to Earth in humbling Butoh fashion. The soundscapes merge the everyday with the epic, echoing the Butoh form’s focus on bringing the movement of ordinary labor, pain, and ugliness onto the stage. Todd Thomas’ costume hangs with endless shirtsleeves, behaving almost like a second conductor as Vangeline swings in wide arcs, perhaps taking an anachronistic jab at the role of the conductor’s hands. The lighting effects are truly stunning, featuring clever use of LED props and costumes that enable the body to act as light in fascinating and innovative ways.
In Act II, "Eclipse," Vangeline becomes a ghostly harbinger of the future, bringing light and darkness together to the world. The surprising co-star here is the costume and stage design. Tilen Sepic and French design company LumiGram collaborate beautifully to create the out-of-this-world stage pictures of Act II, where Vangeline herself is the only light onstage. It is in this piece especially that Vangeline’s homage to Hijikata merges with the trials of the 21st century. In slow, almost traditional movements, the figure fills with fiber optics as the sounds of communication swirl around, making the endless speed of the digital into a slow-moving flesh as Vangeline presents her Eclipse. A being of pure light and time, Eclipse is a trance-like exploration of the tension between slowness and infinite speed.
Watching Vangeline undergo these slow, rapt transformations, it is easy to forget how incredibly physically demanding this movement can be, and she has the control and poise of a true master of Butoh in this 60-minute feat of solo endurance. She is elegant in her ugliness and redemptive in her pain, and the effect is transforming. Butoh Beethoven is a difficult, weird, and uncomfortable piece to watch, but for precisely that reason it is incredibly moving and powerful. It is clear that Vangeline is an artist who knows the darkness of Butoh well, and has the incredible skill to make that darkness dance.
Butoh Beetoven with Vangeline is now featuring "Chanson D' Automne" interpreted by American Singer Kesang Marstrand, born in Woodstock, New York, to a Danish mother and Tibetan father. Kesang is best known for the single "Tibet Will Be Free" that she wrote after March 2008 riot in Tibet, in support of the non-violent resistance of the Tibetan people, and for her debut album, Bodega Rose, which was released November 21, 2008.
We are thrilled to share this NEW OUTSTANDING REVIEW by Claire Palmer in the LEGENDARY INTERNATIONAL TIMES- The Newspaper of Resistance - about "Project Godie" in Newcastle (UK).
Vangeline had to the pleasure to dance BUTOH as well as choreograph/direct this project presented by Surface Area DanceTheatre.
More critical acclaim for Butoh in a legendary counterculture magazine founded in the 60's, supported by Paul Mc Cartney and Allen Ginsberg:
"electric...a psychological confrontation...deeply ominous and unnerving...Hypnotising...sensationally terrifying."
"Western cultural references could be the witches in Macbeth, Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal, Lindsay Kemp’s radical mime/dance show Flowers in the 1970s, or Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut. But even with this cache of cultural strangeness under your belt, nothing quite prepares you for the sheer thrill and terror inflicted by the barely perceptible advance of the dancers."
Claire Palmer - THE INTERNATIONAL TIMES- The Newspaper of Resistance August 15, 2016
LIN TO ARTICLE:
Again congratulations to Surface Area DanceTheatre, Nicole Vivien Watson, Molly Procter, Trans/Human, Adam Denton, Luke Twyman, Katerina Dipla, Aaron Guy, Paul Miller, Louise Gregory, Lucy Emma Nichol, and Vangeline.
MORE GREAT REVIEWS FOR PROJECT GODIE:
15th August - The Journal - Review
Human Impacts Institute's Creative Climate Awards use the creative process as a tool to inspire audiences to explore the consequences of their actions, think critically about pressing issues, and to make the environment personal. These events hope to inspire positive action around the challenges posed by climate change.
The Creative Climate Awards include an opening ceremony on Tuesday September 27th from 6:30-8:30pm followed by a month long exhibition on 42nd Street, Manhattan. Included in the Creative Climate Awards are paintings, drawings, instilations, music, dances, and 3 film screnings. The Creative Climate Awards closing ceremony will occur on Thursday October 27th and will have a Halloween theme.
Vangeline Theater was select to compete for this award and will present a site specific adaptation of our Eco-Friendly Butoh piece WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE. Vangeline Theater seeks to increase environmental awareness in New York and nationally, resulting in a positive impact on our ecosystem.
Teaser Performance: at the opening of the exhibition at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office on Thursday, September 27th, between 6:30 and 8:30pm.
Free and open to the public
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office on Thursday, September 27th, between 6:30 and 8:30pm.
Address: 1 East 42nd Street NY NY
Vangeline Theater is pioneering a Green initiative called "WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE"- Butoh for Waste Prevention- Reducing Coffee Trash in New York.
In this Vangeline Theater Butoh ensemble piece, Vangeline Theater will dance in a set made of 1000 used disposable coffee cups to illustrate how much non recyclable waste our society generates. Audiences are invited to buy reusable cups and commit to being part of a positive change for our community.
Let's clean up our act!
photos courtesy of Michael Blase.
THE DREAM A DREAM PROJECT
DANCE WORKSHOP FOR INCARCERATED MEN AND WOMEN
Winner of 2015 Gibney Dance -Social Action Award
This program is supported in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and funding has been made possible by the Puffin Foundation Ltd and New York State Council on the Arts.
Read more of the THE DREAM A DREAM PROJECT HERE
On May 10th, 2016, Vangeline will be honored as Volunteer of the Year at Edgecombe Correctional Facility on May 10th for THE DREAM A DREAM PROJECT DANCE WORKSHOP FOR INCARCERATED MEN AND WOMEN, taking place currently at Edgecombe Correctional Facility in Harlem.
These photographs are shared with the permission of Edgecombe Correctional Facility and the Department of Corrections.
Watch Vangeline teach at Edgecombe Correctional on CNN
Monday, May 2, 2016 at 3:30 p.m.
By By Lindsey Rhoades
Leverage Models' Alena Spanger (L) and Shannon Fields
Seeing Leverage Models live is like watching a fireworks display. Frontman Shannon Fields is a powder keg of nervous energy, belting words through a megaphone, jangling a tambourine, and flailing through the crowd. He doesn’t dance so much as combust. The unbridled gusto is partially inspired by the tent revivals Fields attended in his youth, where worshippers spoke in tongues. "I have nothing to do with that belief system anymore," he says, "[but] there’s something physically and emotionally that I carry with me, kind of my default mode."
Fields’s exodus from the faith involved an element most don’t: butoh. Isolated in a deeply religious Pentecostal community, a teenage Fields came across photos of pioneering performer Tanaka Min in a Japanese magazine he was using for a school assignment. Tanaka wore little but white body paint, contorting his vulnerable body in public spaces. "It felt like looking at a kind of porn," but without the guilt and shame that his upbringing attached to desire, says Fields. "I felt embarrassed and confused and excited by it. Not sexually, but artistically. My imagination went supernova."
Butoh is how Fields learned art could use abstraction to reach emotional truth, but its influence on Leverage Models has not been explicit — until today. The Village Voice is pleased to post the exclusive premiere of the band’s video for their new song “Senators,” which features choreography from butoh performer Vangeline France.
"Senators" began as a way for Fields to confront his discomfort in social situations. He observed the transactional, getting-to-know-you conversations going on around him and started writing snippets of dialogue, which he turned into disjointed lyrics. "I’m paralyzed by small talk, and interested and fascinated in it because of that," he says. "There’s something obviously political about that [transactional] way of having a conversation. That simple, declarative language seemed like the language of government, the language of business – powerful, direct."
This image of polished professionals became the inspiration for the "Senators" video. As he was falling asleep one night, Fields envisioned himself and Alena Spanger, the other singer in "Senators," in an exaggerated debate. "People in a business negation use control in their facial expressions and bodies to project power," says Fields. "All of a sudden I thought, 'Oh, this is butoh!' — the way that form of dance abstracts the body and finds a sort of dream logic."
But Fields didn’t know any performers, so a friend connected him with Vangeline, a French-American butoh dancer. Like Fields, she came to butoh unexpectedly, when a friend took her to BAM to see internationally renowned butoh troupe Sankai Juku. Butoh’s acknowledgement of darkness spoke to her. "We all have [primitive] energies inside of us, [but] most of us have been socialized to repress them," Vangeline says. "In butoh we give them an arbitrary expression…. We’re giving a voice to the Genie in the bottle, and then [putting] it back in."
To make the video, Vangeline and one of her principal dancers, Azumi, worked through long takes to keep their almost imperceptible movements authentic despite wearing the less-than-authentic costume of contemporary business suits. Their tension mirrors the stilted mannerisms of family dinners or first dates, and as the video progresses, flickers of surreal, traditional butoh encroach upon this modern scene, all gnarled limbs and ashen makeup. This is the brilliance of the video: It reflects the sinister, or at least uncomfortable, truths that can lie just beneath the surface of our social interactions. Both butoh and the song itself operate on subconscious levels, and if neither makes sense at first, the merging of Fields’s and Vangeline’s mediums brings the purpose of both into sharp focus.
It was a collaboration of like-minded artists. "He pushes himself to the limit of what is socially acceptable," Vangeline says of Fields’s unbridled performance style, which is visually the polar opposite of butoh but philosophically similar. "There’s something in him that is fearless; he doesn’t mind making himself uncomfortable. That’s such an important part of the work that we do – we have to be willing to be uncomfortable."
Leverage Models DJ at Good Room on May 3. Click here for more information and ticket