Morning Poems

By Sebastian Grubb

For Pilot 65 l am creating a new dance-based performance piece called “Morning Poems”. I’ve been working in the studio mostly alone, trying to bring some of my poems to life in a new way. I’m fortunate to have two excellent collaborator musicians in the form of Joan Jeanrenaud and Sky Chari. I am working with them to translate poems I wrote some years ago into new music that captures the crucial essence in the words or the images. I am doing the same with my body and with dance. It’s very exciting for me to be bringing this past work back to life in a way that I never anticipated.

It has certainly been challenging to show up at the studio alone and wonder why I should even move at all. What is the value of dance? What is the value of art? What is important for me to say? And how will it contribute to the lives of others? These are, perhaps, eternal questions, but they show up in a powerful way during this mostly solo process. What I have found as my guiding light has been digging into the poem, generally not into the words themselves but rather into the feeling that I have when I read them, or to particularly powerful or gripping images. These words, feelings and images literally move me, so that it is not just me making an arbitrary choice about which leg or arm to move when I make my dance. Rather there is something compelling me to decide how to express an event or a moment or a memory. Without connecting to this rich feeling of being pulled and pushed by something, there would not be much to do or reason to speak.

Ever since my initial proposal for this project, which included 10 one minute dances to 10 one minute poems, I have realized that I have a lot more to do than I can between now and the pilot performances. This is at first disappointing, because it challenges my initial vision, but it is at the same time heartening and emboldening, because it means I have a kind of path laid out before me which I could choose to take. There are many more poems to breathe from, many more songs and dances to be found in them.

Here is one of my poems that I will be using in this performance:

Rain, pour on me like I’m worth dissolving, 

like all this clay and stone were meant

to be reshaped again;

pour on me and let yesterdays melt

into sidewalks, plunge down piping,

let them cling to branches until old hours and events

are absorbed into veins, nourishing leaves

and blossoms;

absorb me like i’m worth the flower

called by Spring, caught up in cycles and miles

of underground, buried memory, the storehouse

of dirt and departures, silent recreation

reaching, aspiring, breathing in

the damp and cool, taking this day

into its mouth;

take me like i’m worth burying,

in cycles and miles of underground.


As I entered the bush…

by Marika Brussel

I’ve always been drawn to narratives. Even as a child in ballet class I would make up stories for my movements, to make everything more meaningful to me. This ballet is based on a chapter from an African novel, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, by Amos Tutuola. In it, a child runs into the “bush” (the African forest) to escape slave traders. He encounters lots of different ghosts, who aren’t spirits, but simply other kinds of beings. The first ghosts he comes across are the Gold, Copper, and Silver Ghosts. They fight to get control of him, enticing him with food and warmth, and then they just fight however they can.

I’ve been really fortunate to find some incredibly talented dancers and musicians who want to work with me. They bring the movements that only exist in my head, into the world. It’s amazing!

Marika Brussels West Wave 2014--55

Photo: Lynn Fried

At the same time as I entered into the bush I could not stop in one place as the noises of the guns were driving me farther and farther until I travelled about sixteen miles away from the road on which my brother left me. After I had travelled sixteen miles ad was still running further for the fearful noises, I did not know the time that I entered into a dreadful bush which is called the “Bush of Ghosts”, because I was very young to understand the meaning of bad and good. This “Bush of Ghosts” was so dreadful that no superior earthly person ever entered it.   – from My Life in the Bush of Ghosts


by Esmeralda Kundanis-Grow

-a task in revisiting a finished work-IMG_1811

I love rehearsing at night, especially for “Sensitive Pressures.” Creating this work has not only been about the movement, but about designing a rehearsal process that includes the atmosphere of a “high fashion” runway show. From photographing to lighting to pulsating beats to costuming etc., we are having a good time, late night, strutting in ODC’s Mott Studio.

Recent Objects Acquired: Gold Trophies, Tennis Racket, Water Jug, Inner Tube
Costume Details: Leather strips, High Paper Collar, Cut Out Gloves
New Character: The Designer–MAKE.IT.WORK/WERK.

Question at Hand: What is at stake for each of these four women?

Still Life for Two: After the Hunt

After the HuntBy: Lauren Simpson and Jenny Stulberg

Thoughts mid process:

Title keeps changing.

Guns are for kids.

Emma Jaster told me objects and things should only be brought into the piece when necessary. She is totally right.

There’s a flag, a horse, and a gun.

We do this entire dance on the floor. Yesterday we spent a three hour rehearsal horizontal, on the floor. I think my mind works differently when I’m lying on the floor as opposed to being upright.

Where do I find camo sweatpants?

Interview with Lauren Simpson

Pilot: What is the name of your piece?Lauren1

Lauren Simpson: Still Life for Two No. 2

Pilot: Describe your piece in 3 words.

LS: After. The. Hunt.

Pilot: What does your piece taste like?

LS: Tin foil.

Pilot: If you could sum up your piece in one song, what would it be?

LS: Aerosmith’s Janies Got a Gun

Pilot: What is one thing you have learned from being a part of Pilot?

LS: The PILOT process reminds me, once again, that choreographers cannot do all the necessary production work plus the creative work without sacrificing quality in one or both areas. By design, the PILOT program recognizes and addresses this ongoing problem for choreographers today. Between the seven choreographers, we divide up all administrative and production duties, allowing us to spend time on what we care about most, the dance making.

Interview with detour dance

Pilot: What is the name of your piece?Detour2

detour dance: Beckon

Pilot: Describe your piece in 3 words.

dd: Do I qualify?

Pilot: What does your piece taste like?

dd: raw meat

Pilot: If you could sum up your piece in one song, what would it be?


Pilot: What is one thing you have learned from being a part of Pilot?

dd: We’ve taken a different approach to creating the work this time around. We started the process working separately from each other (normally, we are both present in the studio). We are excited to see how this shapes this process moving forward and of course, how it informs the final piece, Beckon.