a person in a field of spent corn

>>returner<<

Findlay//Sandsmark
Thursday, April 18, 2019 at 7:30PM
Theater

>>returner<< is a performance work spanning theater and dance that illustrates different relationships between nature, people, and technology. Conceived by the Norwegian performance company Findlay//Sandsmark, led by Iver Findlay and Marit Sandsmark, the performance features motion-capture and animation technology, which interacts live with video and sound content. In addition to these digital media, the performers inhabit a world of natural stage elements including wooden sticks, a narrow wooden hallway, and a large cube that transforms over the course of the performance. What results is a performance environment in which audience expectations are both met and defied as the two performers play with perception and sensation. 

Findlay and Sandsmark are in residence at EMPAC with their company to further develop the project’s body-sensor and animation content. In its use of this technology, >>returner<< demonstrates a wariness of the inflexible binaries that one-to-one body-technology interactions engender: including presence/absence, natural/manufactured, and real/virtual. The performance weaves between and around these binaries to question them without dismantling them entirely—a nod to their unavoidable if not regrettable ubiquity in our daily lives. Attempting to avoid the trap of technophillic engagement, >>returner<< creates an at-times chilling piece of performance.

Main Image: Still from <<returner>>Photo: P. Bussmann.

Dates + Tickets

Dance/Theater
>>returner<<
Findlay//Sandsmark
Thursday 18
7:30 PM
April 2019
$18, $13, $6, EMPAC+ Free
Presented By
Event Type
Funding

Support for this residency is provided by the Norwegian Council for the Arts.

Support for this residency and production is provided by the Arts Council Norway, DTS-Performing Arts Hub Norway, and Stavanger Kommune(City of Stavanger). 

Co-producers of the project include Bit-Teatergarasjen-Bergen, Black Box teater-Oslo, RIMI/IMIR Scenekunst-Stavanger. The artsist is suported by apap-Performing Europe 2020 – a project co-founded by Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.  

EMPAC Spring 2019 presentations, residencies, and commissions are made possible by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with continuous support from the New York State Council for the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts; and the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts. Additional project support by the National Endowment for the Arts; the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.

a bald black man with his hands extended in front of his face

Chameleon (The Troy Installments)

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko
Thursday, February 7, 2019 at 7:30PM
Studio 1—Goodman

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko is a performance artist and poet who works with dance, media, and sound on stage and in museums. He is in residence at EMPAC to develop a new work, Chameleon, which will have its premiere at New York Live Arts in 2020.

Chameleon is a multimedia project that uses performance to explore the role of media archives in American Black diasporic communities. Archives of protest and collaborative action take the form of documentary film, popular music and television, and cell phone footage of an event captured by a witness on the street. Chameleon uses theatrical technologies to reveal the subversive impact that these archives have on the systemic oppression and erasure of minoritarian communities.

For his EMPAC residency, Kosoko and a team of AV collaborators will conceive and develop their own archive of sound and visual material that will become central to Chameleon. They will then collaborate with the EMPAC team to create elements of a stage performance that moves fluidly between body, image, sound, and text. Kosoko will return to EMPAC in November 2019 to continue this research toward a film installation, podcast series, and live performance event at New York Live Arts in 2020.

The work-in-progress showing for this event will include a conversation with the artist during an early-stage technical residency, so its structure and form will be determined by the artist’s creative process. Work-in-Progress events offer a window into the research, development, and production of new works by artists in residence at EMPAC. These free events open up a dialogue between our audiences, artists, and EMPAC staff.

Main Image: Jaamil Olawale Kosoko. Photo: Erik Carter

Dates + Tickets

Dance/Theater
Work-in-Progress
Chameleon (The Troy Installments)
Jaamil Olawale Kosoko
Thursday 7
7:30 PM
February 2019
FREE
Funding

Chameleon is made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Chameleon is supported in part by a commission from New York Live Arts’ Live Feed Residency program with additional support from the Joseph and Joan Cullman Foundation for the Arts, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council with special thanks to Council Member Corey Johnson, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the Jerome Robbins Foundation, the Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, the Scherman Foundation, and the Shubert Foundation.

Additional support provided by LAX Festival, the AIR MFA Program with UARTS Philadelphia at CCN Montpellier, Friends of Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, Studio 303 Montreal, and DOCH in collaboration with Within Practice - Sweden.

EMPAC Spring 2019 presentations, residencies, and commissions are made possible by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with continuous support from the New York State Council for the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts; and the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts. Additional project support by the National Endowment for the Arts; the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.

for black mens heads in close proximity, sexual.

Let ‘im Move You: This is a Formation

jumatatu m. poe and Jermone “Donte” Beacham
Thursday, January 24, 2019 at 7:30PM
Studio 1—Goodman

Let ‘im Move You is a series of performance and visual works rooted in the J-Sette dance form. The most recent performance in the series, This Is a Formation, both agitates and plays with the energetic lead-and-follow form of dance, which originated in the Black femme communities of Jackson, Mississippi, in the 1970s and has been widely popularized by the Jackson State University Marching Band dance team, the Prancing J-Settes. 

Artists jumatatu m. poe and Jermone “Donte” Beacham are in residence at EMPAC to develop the next phase of the work, Let ‘im Move You: This is a Formation, designed as a three-part performance that will travel across historically Black neighborhoods, queer night clubs, and institutional art spaces and theaters. The artists will be joined by a team of collaborators, including seven dancers, lighting, audio, and visual media designers, as well as two ethical and artistic consultants, to expand the theatrical and technological elements of the work. The team will also conduct a series of workshops with Rensselaer students as part of the development of the piece.

Work-in-Progress events offer a window into the research, development, and production of new works by artists in residence at EMPAC. These free events open up a dialogue between our audiences, artists, and EMPAC staff.  

Main Photo: Tayarisha Poe.

Media
two black men dancing

Dates + Tickets

Dance/Theater
Work-in-Progress
Let ‘im Move You: This is a Formation
jumatatu m. poe and Jermone “Donte” Beacham
Thursday 24
7:30 PM
January 2019
FREE
Funding

The creation of Let ‘im Move You: This is a Formation was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage; The MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network (NPN/VAN) Creation & Development Fund co-commissioned by Painted Bride Art Center in partnership with Bates Dance Festival, Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre DBA BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, Abrons Arts Center/Henry Street Settlement, Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Dance Place, PICA (Portland Institute for Contemporary Art), and NPN/VAN; Independence Foundation; and the Sacatar Foundation.

The development of Let ‘im Move You: This is a Formation was made possible, in part, by the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University. Production residency funded by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional production support and residency provided by EMPAC / Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY. Additional residency support provided by Duke University by way of Slippage, and South Dallas Cultural Center.

EMPAC Spring 2019 presentations, residencies, and commissions are made possible by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with continuous support from the New York State Council for the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts; and the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts. Additional project support by the National Endowment for the Arts; the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.

a inverse shadow of a young black girl in a dress.

Improvising the Interface: Dance Technology and the New Black Dance Studies

Thomas F. DeFrantz
Tuesday, January 22, 2019 at 6PM
Theater

Thomas F. DeFrantz is an artist and scholar who works at the apex of dance, technology, and critical Black studies. His historiographic and aesthetic focus opens shapeshifting conversations about the curation of art, ideas, politics, and bodies. DeFrantz will be at EMPAC as an advisor and collaborator to jumatatu m. poe and Jermone “Donte” Beacham’s Let ‘im Move You: This is a Formation residency. In conjunction with that project, he will present this public talk on his research. 

DeFrantz is professor in the departments of African and African-American Studies and of Dance at Duke University. He is co-editor of Black Performance Theory: An Anthology of Critical Readings, and Dancing Many Drums: Excavations in African American Dance. 

Dates + Tickets

Dance/Theater
Talk
Dance Technology and the New Black Dance Studies
Thomas F. DeFrantz
Tuesday 22
6:00 PM
January 2019
FREE
FREE
Funding

EMPAC Spring 2019 presentations, residencies, and commissions are made possible by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with continuous support from the New York State Council for the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts; and the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts. Additional project support by the National Endowment for the Arts; the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.

several female dancers on a stage.

Random Dance

Wayne McGregor
February 17—27, 2010
EMPAC — Troy, NY, USA

For two weeks, the London-based dance company Wayne McGregor | Random Dance is pursuing a creative residency at EMPAC, investigating tools, ideas, and visual design concepts for their current work-in-progress. Their work involves collaborations in research on the cognition of choreography and the development of new directions in scenography. To open up the process to our audience, talks and a panel discussion by collaborators, research partners, and Artistic Director Wayne McGregor are happening throughout the residency period. At the end of their stay, the company will perform ENTITY, a magnificent work of dance, sound and video projection.

Main Image: ENTITY. Photo: Courtesy Random Dance.

a man walking in a forest

DANCE MOViES 2012

TAO, In the First Place...
April 5–6, 2013
EMPAC — Troy, NY, USA

DANCE MOViES Commissions support new works that fuse dance with the technologies of the moving image; these world premieres were followed by a panel discussion with the artists. 

TAO (11 min, Argentina, 2013) is the third collaborative dance film between Argentinian filmmaker Cayetana Vidal and choreographer and dancer Sofia Mazza. In an illusory world, two lovers living parallel lives, day for one and night for the other, with seasons inverted, only meet in the artful interlocking of image and sound. Vidal is a film director and writer who has written, directed, and edited several dance-for-the-camera projects, often in collaboration with choreographer and dancer Sofía Mazza.

In The First Place… (US, 5 mins, 2013) is comprised of 10 short films, shot in Rome, that reframe the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (an Italian pastoral romance published in 1499). Each film is a decisive moment in which the protagonist must use landmarks to reorient himself while pursuing his beloved. The film features music by Erin Gee. A Lecoq-trained actor, Colin Gee was a principal clown for Cirque du Soleil, and the founding Whitney Live artist-in-residence at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Recent commissions have included works for SFMOMA and the Whitney Museum. He has frequently collaborated with sibling/composer Erin Gee, providing the libretto for her opera, SLEEP (2009), which premiered at the Zürich Opera House, and Mouthpiece XIII, Mathilde of Loci, Part I (2009) presented by the American Composer’s Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. 

Dates + Tickets

Dance/Theater
Film/Video
Commission
DANCE MOViES 2012
TAO, In the First Place...
Friday 5
April 2013
------------ thru ------------
Saturday 6
April 2013
Venus is flying in the air with arms spread wide, wheels spinning, and supported by Andromeda who is lifting from the ground below.

DESCENT

Alice Sheppard / Kinetic Light
November 15–16, 2018 at 7:30PM
Studio 1—Goodman

DESCENT reimagines the story of Greek mythical figures Venus and Andromeda as an interracial love story with choreography that conjures the aesthetics of August Rodin’s sculpture Toilet of Venus and Andromeda. Performing in wheelchairs, dancers Alice Sheppard and Laurel Lawson traverse a stage built with hills and curves. The duo climb to the summit of a ramp where they precariously balance on its edge and let gravity take over as they barrel back down, moving together and apart. Through emotional peaks and valleys, DESCENT explores themes of disability, race, and beauty to reveal how mobility is fundamental to participation in civic life.

Kinetic Light is a collective made up of professional disabled artists Alice Sheppard, Laurel Lawson, and Michael Maag. Sheppard is the artistic director and choreographer for Kinetic Light who performs the role of Andromeda in DESCENT. Lawson, performing the role of Venus, is a collaborator in choreography, costume and makeup design, as well as the software developer for DESCENT. Michael Maag is DESCENT’s lighting and video designer.

Accessibility Information

  • 60-minute performance with 20-minute intermission
  • Audio description provided (please note in the comments section of your ticket order)
  • ASL interpretation provided for pre- and post-show announcements (the performance has no text)
  • Entire first row dedicated to wheelchair-accessible seating

NOTE: Please share any specific access requests in the comments form of your ticket, in order to help our Front of House team prepare to welcome you.

EMPAC is an accessible venue. The lobby is accessible via the double doors facing Rensselaer’s campus with an entrance off of College Avenue. All-gender wheelchair-accessible restrooms are available on all public-access levels of the building. The main audience entrance to the theater is wheelchair accessible and located on EMPAC’s 5th floor, which can be accessed from the lobby by elevator. If you have any questions about access, please contact EMPAC Box Office Manager John Cook or call 518-276-2822 (voice only).

SCHEDULE

  • 4PM — Box office opens
    Level 7 Lobby
  • 6:30PM — Tactile experience and audio description demos
    Level 7 — Lobby
  • 7PM — Event venue (Studio 1) opens
    Level 5
  • 7:30PM — Event begins
  • DESCENT Part One
  • Intermission (20 minutes) — Café open
  • DESCENT Part Two
  • Post-show meet and greet with artists
    Level 5 — Evelyn's Café

Main Image: DESCENT. Photo: © Jay Newman by KineticLight

Dates + Tickets

Dance/Theater
DESCENT
Alice Sheppard / Kinetic Light
Thursday 15
7:30 PM
November 2018
$16/$13/$6/EMPAC+ Free
Buy Tickets
Friday 16
7:30 PM
November 2018
$16/$13/$6/EMPAC+ Free
Buy Tickets
Event Type
Production Credits

DESCENT was made possible, in part, by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; General Operating support was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; The MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Dance/NYC’s Disability. Dance. Artistry Fund, made possible by the Ford Foundation with additional support provided by the Mertz Gilmore Foundation; the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University. DESCENT was also supported by Dancers’ Group’s CA$H grant program, Puffin Foundation West, Ltd., and the Yip Harburg Foundation.

Funding

EMPAC 2018–19 presentations, residencies, and commissions are supported by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts.

WU TSANG

Sudden Rise

Moved by the Motion (Wu Tsang and boychild with Patrick Belaga, Josh Johnson, and Asma Maroof)
Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 9:30PM
Theater

A newly commissioned ensemble performance for EMPAC’s 10YEARS celebration, Sudden Rise explores the interplay between the live and the pre-recorded. Moving fluidly between voice, movement, and image, Moved by the Motion resists the structural hierarchies inherent within and between artistic disciplines and reflects the spirit of the continually shifting improvisational ensemble.

Moved by the Motion is an ongoing, iterative performance project initiated by Wu Tsang and boychild in 2013 that features a shifting group of collaborators including Patrick Belaga, Josh Johnson, and Asma Maroof, among others. The ensemble explores different modes of storytelling through an improvisational structure. Each performance is a series of translations between text, movement, film, theater, and music.

Main Image: Sudden Rise. Courtesy the artists. Photo: Paula Court/EMPAC.

Media
WU TSANG

Main Image: Sudden Rise. Courtesy the artists. Photo: Paula Court/EMPAC.

WU TSANG

Main Image: Sudden Rise. Courtesy the artists. Photo: Paula Court/EMPAC.

Dates + Tickets

Dance/Theater
Time-Based Visual Art
Commission
Sudden Rise
Moved by the Motion
Saturday 13
9:30 PM
October 2018
$16, $13, $6, EMPAC+ Free
Buy Tickets
News + Press
Curator
Funding

EMPAC 2018–19 presentations, residencies, and commissions are supported by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts.

maria hassabi

SlowMeDown

Maria Hassabi
October 12–13 + 15–20, 2018
Studio 2

The US premiere of Maria Hassabi’s SlowMeDown, a moving-image installation commissioned for EMPAC’s 10YEARS celebration.

Partially filmed while Hassabi and her dancers were in residence this spring, the work features material from Hassabi’s live installation, STAGING (2017), which was presented internationally in public spaces, museums, and exhibition contexts. Blending collage and post-production effects, SlowMeDown builds a hyper-real frame that augments this footage and participates in the construction of what Hassabi calls a “performative surreality."

Maria Hassabi (b. Cyprus) is a New York based artist and choreographer. Her practice utilizes stillness and deceleration as techniques in choreographies that oscillate between dance and sculpture, subject and object, live body and still image, testing conventional rhythms of viewership in the process.

Main Image: Film still: TITLE (2018). Courtesy the artist.

Dates + Tickets

Commission
Dance/Theater
Installation
SlowMeDown
Maria Hassabi
Friday 12
October 2018
------------ thru ------------
Saturday 13
October 2018
FREE
FREE

Open daily 12–11:30PM

Monday 15
October 2018
------------ thru ------------
Saturday 20
October 2018
FREE
FREE

Open daily 12–5PM.

Production Credits

Additional co-production support towards the creation of SlowMeDown (2018), was provided by Point Center for Contemporary Art, Nicosia CY.

Funding

EMPAC 2018–19 presentations, residencies, and commissions are supported by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts.