bodycity at Late Night Snack – Tuesday, 9/30, 7:30pm

Late Night Snack
at BPD at the REDCAT lounge

Tuesday, September 30 at 7:30pm

We will be debuting bodycity XII: more tales from Future Mountain


Here are some keywords/phrases/ideas:

labor of love: giving birth, caring for children just born and elders or invalids soon to die, gardening, cleaning house, home repair, rebuilding cities/communities after war or disaster – rugged and monetarily unrewarding work that is wholly necessary for survival. Movements that are fluid but heavy and muscular, seemingly involuntary like a heartbeat.

women (working) in war times: My Nana worked in a factory during WWII fabricating nylon parachutes. Since all of the nylon was going to the war effort, ladies stockings were very hard to find so the women in her factory drew lines up the backs of their legs to stand in place of the dark seams of actual stockings. The maintenance of American femininity in recent history is facinating behavior. In war times,this feminine identity seems to be split into a few archetypes: (1) the iconic notion of woman as the sweet sex salvation for soldiers who’ve sacrificed their minds and bodies for country, (2) the proud mother, devoid of sexuality who blindingly supports of her men in uniform by fulfilling her own duties of sustaining the labors of her home, (3) the grieving mother, wife, daughter who has lost and is made beautiful by her sense of honor. Fortunately, we can add a few more identities to this list: (4) the protester, hysterical and passionatly close to self-destruction, (5) the female soldier, a still feared anomaly who marches as unflinchingly as the next man, (6) The victims – mothers, wives, daughters who are killed or survive acts of war inflicted upon them and their families, they are characterized by shock.

Archetypes are fodder: summon up and emulate their movements but don’t go overboard with mimicry. Oblique references are always more effective than attempting literal translations – they allow your viewers to follow you along to the next idea without getting stuck in their own train of thought. For example: movement can reflect factory work by being repetitive and referencing the mechanical nature of an assembly line without literally acting it out. Also borrow from/bastardize rag time, swing, pin-up styles to F with the iconic notion of women as sweet sex salvation.

For me, this is also related to women in times of disaster. I think it is important to imagine ourselves in the actual areas of war or weather, the practice of domestic mysticism – there is something other-worldly about the raw, post-apocalyptic identity of survivors.

domestic mysticism: finding transcendence in the domestic atmosphere, locating oneness with the universe at home – I’m thinking about an embrace and glorification of domesticity – it is humorous and tongue-in-cheek: the endless and mysterious nature of refrigerator mold, seeing the future in coffee grounds, mourning the past on a reflective linoleum floor, etc. It is the belief in one’s own corporeal reality.
I think that this idea can translate into calling out our relationship with the physical structure we’re in by ‘washing/watching’ the windows – arcing arm movements, jumping with arms up, ‘sweeping’ the floor – any sweeping of limbs , ‘painting the walls’ – slow motion flailing and heavy contact…handstands that melt onto the floor and then do it again. Follow through and see how far you can develop it – can you push it so far that you hardly recognize it?

hearts are involuntary,
M

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bodycity in print!

Ladies and gentleman,

First of all a tip of a feathered dainty cap to our dear dear friend Tucker Neel and to all of the lovelies at Artillery Magazine, who I was fortunate enough to meet last Satuday night, dancing in circles at Hop Louie. Your friends in bodycity now grace the pages of the just released edition of the previously mentioned Artillery Magazine, which you can pick up for free at any art gallery in town. You can also read an unedited version of the article below or on Tucker’s blog. We, boys and girls, are on our way!

Dancing Daze: Bodycity
Originally printed in Artillery Magazine, sep/oct 2008 vol 3 issue 1

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After being thoroughly hijacked by fundamentalists, and injected into bombs and body bags in distant lands, the term “democracy” has sustained a thorough linguistic beating over the years. Despite the grim state of things today, there is hope for those who seek avenues for true emancipatory group participation. For these people it’s refreshing to see artists, especially collectives, reclaiming democracy as a working practice, a way to describe how they make their art. One such group is a hometown dance collective called bodycity.

A self-proclaimed “dance democracy”, bodycity, previously known as collective static, has performed in both public and private spaces in and around Los Angeles for the past three years. Composed almost entirely of women, the group’s numbers have swelled to over a dozen and waned to just five as members have come and gone. Only a few ever took classical ballet or modern dance and most get their prior training from rocking out alone at home. Collectively their dance philosophy eschews any conservative ideology demanding choreographic or physical perfection. Instead, their practice bristles with a do-it-yourself spirit based in accepting imperfections, embracing mistakes as opportunities, assets that heighten the possibility of democratic inclusiveness.

The troupe’s aesthetic is part Barbara Mettler, with her totally improvisational dance philosophy (which got rid of the stage, and the audience, all together), and part Judson Dance Theater, which revolutionized the professional dance world by creating performances emphasizing chance and repetitive movement. In line with this tradition, bodycity’s choreography is full of awkward repetitive actions, developed through a process of improvisation, individual and group research, and collective decision-making. Yet while they acknowledge that dance has a living history, they get more inspiration from 80’s workout videos, urban vistas, Youtube and dressage than from their modernist predecessors.

Often sewing their own costumes or enlisting friends’ creative skills, they have danced as birds to lead flocks of people along the Santa Clara River in Valencia, donned utility gloves to dance/scale the steepest street in California, performed with cacti and bamboo in the Huntington Gardens, and initiated impromptu performances in Echo Park. In costumes or not, Bodycity’s work is at its best when employing considered site specificity to bring out unexpected meaning in curious locations.
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Earlier this year the dancers began collaborating with the musical group Glasser (which sounds like the Kate Bush and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ irrepressible lovechild) to create Lady Stranger. Performed at Mr. T’s Bowl, a hipster/hobo watering hole in Highland Park, Lady Stranger seized the venue as the perfect site to excavate latent sexual innuendo. At the start of the dance the performers, decked out in pencil skirts, tight shirts and old-fashioned lace dickies shimmy on top of booths and do-wop next to the juke box, their actions conjuring “loose women” archetypes from the 40’s and 50’s. Later the troupe erupts into fist-pounding stomps, guttural grunts, and arrow-hurling warrior poses executed with hair-raising synchronicity. These sex pot / Amazonian juxtapositions, slyly communicate how barroom interactions are themselves coded dances walking the line between fighting and fornication.
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For Wikidance, created in 2007, the group capitalized on our web 2.0 obsessed culture and used the internet as a democratizing tool and a site unto itself. To initiate the piece, bodycity posted a video on vimeo.com as part of Ultimate Blogger 3, an internet blogging contest (which they almost won), asking viewers to record any movement or small dance and submit it to be incorporated as part of a final piece uniting all the submissions into one performance. The almost two-dozen submissions ranged from the bootyshakin’ to the absurdly minimalist: a man slowly leans a against a pole, a girl gyrates a’la The Village People, a couple awkwardly mock an embrace, a mother and son lock hands and gesture tai-chi-style to the camera. Yet despite the unpredictability of the submissions and the systematic structure required to put the entire piece together, the resulting performance isn’t overly cerebral or confusing; like the best user-generated internet content, it’s perfectly imperfect, addictive, inspiring, and fun to watch.
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When viewed in its intended environment – on the internet – the final Wikidance is as a moving collage; the dancers promenade, pose, vogue, spin and wave, duplicating the movements in the submission videos to Yeah by LCD Soundsystem. In a brief segment two dancers, outstretched arms scissor-like, embrace one another, mimicking a particular submission video. A second later actual scissors enter the camera frame, like an animator’s eraser in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, to slice out each dancer from the video one-by-one. In de-centering choreographer’s stereotypically dictatorial position and turning the building blocks of the performance over to the very audience the dance addresses, Wikkidance proves itself quite liberating and inspiring. And that’s the key to bodycity’s allure.

Their democratic idealism requires that they practice what they preach and work with conceptual and physical exertion bordering on exaltation to bring the viewer into their dances as much as possible. When successful, their work breaks down the boundaries between dancer and audience, choreographer and company, public and private to sincerely state that dance is everywhere and that it can happen with and to anyone at any time.

Bodycity is currently: Alisha Adams, Madeline Baugh, Betsy Hume, Jennifer Lehman, Cristina Paul, Molly Rodgveller, Lake Sharp and Meagan Yellott

-Tucker Neel

Thanks and remember, we love you!

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bewildered children of pleasure, come to our yard sale

bodycity has several projects in the works, starting this weekend. We are performing at a speakeasy in MacArthur Park.
bewildered_children_invite.jpg
click the flyer to enlarge, but just in case, here are the nuggets:

Aug. 30th, 7-11pm
2121 James M Wood Blvd
between Alvarado & Lake Streets
To learn the password to gain entrance to the party email bewilderedchildren@gmail.com.

We also have some shows with Glasser, and a mini-tour to New York City!

To soften the blow of soaring airfare, we are raising money in any way we can, starting with a yard sale this weekend. We really do have some cool stuff at very fair prices. Here is a map of the location, wear a hat and bring your cash!

And if you don’t want our stuff you can still make a donation via paypal to madcurls83@hotmail.com

Thanks!
yard sale.jpg

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the Modern Garage Movement is here this Friday and Saturday, 25 and 26!

Last summer, we made first contact with a superb group of artists called Modern Garage Movement. We threw an excellent party. We are doing it again and, this year, you have two chances to get in on the lively and stunning action. bodycity will screen two short films and MGM will dance in, around, and trough each one of us. Don’t miss it!

Friday, July 25
Betalevel
963 N. Hill Street
10pm
bar

Directions:
Find yourself in front of “FULL HOUSE RESTAURANT” located at 963 N. Hill Street in Chinatown.
Locate the alley on the left hand side of Full House.
Walk about 20 feet down the alley (away from the street).
Stop.
Notice dumpster on your right hand side.
Take a right and continue down the alley.
Exercise caution so as not trip on the wobbly cement blocks underfoot
The entrance to Betalevel is located 10 yards down on left side,
behind a red door, down a black staircase.

Saturday, July 26
meagan’s house
250 North Avenue 57
LA, CA 90042
(you know where it is or you can google this one)
BYOB

See you there!
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the details:

Booth Dance – Choreographed by Jennifer Lehman; Camera and Editing by Jacinto Astiazaran; with bodycity (Madeline Baugh, Betsy Hume, Jennifer Lehman, Cristina Paul, Molly Rodgveller, Lake Sharp, Meagan Yellott)

Found Dance at Echo Park – filmed and edited by Jacinto astiazaran
with bodycity members Ali Hyman, Jennifer Lehman & Cristina Paul

***

Modern Garage Movement is a collaborative endeavor between Felicia Ballos, Biba Bell, Jmlly Leary, Theo Angel, and Robert McNeil. This project explores the relationships between disappearance and metamorphosis.

New Gree is a dance on tour that not only happens anywhere, but is happening all the time. The fashions worn on the road are the costumes of the dance. The terrain of the performance is demarcated by props; flags, lights, tarps, mirrors, jibs and projections. MGM’s rock band concept is transformed into a band of cow-boygirls and the New Gree group is always on guard, ready for long stillnesses, quick getaways, telepathy and remonstrance. An aim, but not goal of New Gree, is to dance in complete unison with eyes closed, navigating safely through densities of people and space. Ulteriorly, the choreography works with shifting formations of energy and hyper-reality in relation to the mobile audience, building additive layers of past and future performances, past and future influences, and linking everyone and everything in the accumulative journey of now.

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b-city cruisin’: LA, SD, SF, HOLLYWOOD

Before too much time passes, we must mark and remark on what was our first tour…the mini-ist and most awesome west coast-inental “have a Glasser of Lemonade for your bodycity” Tour, Summer Jams 2008. A recap:

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The Smell, Los Angeles – Thursday, July 10th
Highlights: Nite Jewel; the super friendly home-town crowd; Lemonade blew our minds.
Weirdlights: Having to sign release forms for standing within camera range of an ongoing indie film (but it was kind of cool too…they wanted to film our performance, but when it came down to it, it was their big lights or our dance floor….naturally they had to move).
tiny puuuuuppy

House Party, San Diego – Friday, July 11
Highlights: all the cool kids in San Diego materialized at this party, then squeezed into what was the tinniest place we’ve ever danced, a baby basement about 7 feet tall; making tiny versions of our dances; dirty sweat flinging and shoving.
Weirdlights: traffic; having to change into our costumes in front of a giant window; no hoisting Molly into the air; having to go home almost immediately so we could hit the road to SF.


Grey Area Beacon
, San Francisco – Saturday, July 12

Highlights: we rented a behemoth 15 passenger van; we got there in time for a romp with a ridiculous puppy, a reunion with our Norcal friends, and a round of Bloody Marys; we started a serious dance party; Evan SNJ let us crash all over his house in Modesto that night.
Weirdlights: mysterious banana disappearance

sleepersBastille Day Celebration, W Hollywood – Sunday, July 13
Highlights: Adele Jacques, the event’s coordinator, a new but already good friend who gave us the most touching and well-spoken introduction we’ve ever had; our “eF-it, I’m so freaking tired” attitude made this our best performance.
Weirdlights: the morning sun after 10 hours of sleep in 3 days knowing there’s a good six hours of road ahead of you; too much Starbucks – it’s creepy.

In other words: Success! Wicked Positive.

Also, we’ve gotta mention our newest member, Alisha Adams! bodycity is completely thrilled to have her, she is true blue.

bodycity

Glasser was a stellar companion. Cameron, Matt, Rebecca and Madeline kept things real and were always bang-on come performance time.
And, though we saw little of them on the road, the Lemonade dudes are excellent humans and we are so grateful to them for their organizing prowess and easy attitudes.

With our first tour under the bodycity belt, we have brave new thoughts on future tours and can’t wait to tell you about new stuff happening soon…

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Tour with Glasser and Lemonade! What a summer time pair!

Well you gotta hand it to us folks. We are going on (an albeit mini) tour. Now, if you live in California, you have no excuses for missing out. And really why on earth would anyone ever want to miss out? Come. see. like.

Thursday July, 10 2008 at the Smell
w/ glasser, Lemonade & Nite Jewel
247 South Main Street, los angeles, California
$5
doors open at 9pm

Friday July, 11 2008 at TBA w/ glasser & Lemonade
House Party at 2220 Front Street, San Diego, California

Saturday July, 12 2008 at Grey Area Beacon w/ glasser & Lemonade
1515 Folsom, San Francisco, California

Sunday July, 13 Celebrate Bastille Day at the Southland’s Best French Festival!
In the West Hollywood Park
647 N. San Vicente Blvd.
noon-10pm
we play with glasser at 3:55pm

IMG_1745.jpgWe have merch now. Beautiful hand made bandannas and tote bags with silk screened designs by Claire and Tucker. Made by, for and out of bodycity.

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wikidance 2.0 BYOD

During a recent pracky, we discussed all of the answers we’ve each given to the oft-asked question, “what kind of dance do you do?”. As we tossed out such phrases as “contemporary experimental dance” and “democratic dance” and “you know, awesome dance”, we eventually stumbled upon something perfect ” B.Y.O.Dance”.

In celebration of this discovery we are asking you to literally B.Y.O.D. for wikidance 2.0

Originally conceived during the Ultimate Blogger 3, we solicited all users of the internet to share their sweet moves with the promise that we would turn them into a dance.

These were the moves:

wikidance creators! from bodycity on Vimeo.

And what we did with them:

The Wikidance from bodycity on Vimeo.

Post your moves on vimeo or youtube and be sure to tag them with “wikidance2.0”!

Bring it!

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Lady Stranger

One dark night in February, Mr. T’s Bowl was home to some strange ladies with flying thighs and trotting bosoms.

Here’s proof:

Lady Stranger from bodycity on Vimeo.

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Bodycity with Glasser – Thursday, May 29!

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Come and see this set!

new songs + new moves = Lucid Dreaming

THURSDAY – May, 29 2008 at Silverlake Lounge w/ Hecuba and Warpaint

$7

9:00pm

we play first!!!!!!!!!!

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Body City and Glasser at the Echo this Wednesday!!!

Remember us? We are still sashaying (to strut or flounce in a showy manner; he was sashaying around the dinner party in his fancy new clothes) down unassuming neighborhood streets by day and gallivanting (to roam about in search of pleasure or amusement; the young lady was treated like she was about to gallivant off with a pack of low-life hooligans) by night. Take Wednesday night for example. Do you think just any old sassy (lively and spirited; jaunty crew; a sassy little hat) crew would find themselves playing at the Echo alongside LA’s own Glasser? Not to mention in a set with Fool’s Gold and The Entrance Band. If you’ve seen it, then you know. If you haven’t, then you must.

Bodycity atpony
The Echo
Wednesday, April 30th
9pm
1822 Sunset Blvd, Echo Park, California 90026
$10

come one, come all.

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