DanceForce Member: Robin Collen
Community Partners: SUNY Potsdam; SUNY Potsdam LoKo Arts Festival
County: St. Lawrence
Sunday, February 3, 2019: NY State DanceForce member, Robin Collen began a performing/teaching residency with Bridgman|Packer Dance at SUNY Potsdam. The company consists of artistic directors, Art Bridgman, Myrna Packer, designer, Frank DenDanto III, and video engineer,Topher Blair.
The planning process was streamlined. Ms. Collen worked with the program administrator at Pentacle. She and the SUNY Potsdam finance office helped to craft an agreeable contract. B|P sent photos and program copy. Ms. Collen arranged for the Art Department Chair and the Director of Alumni Relations to meet with Mr. DenDanto, as he is an alum of the SUNY Potsdam Art Department.
During 2 sections of the course Fundamentals of Technical Theater (10:00-11:50 and 1:00-2:50) Frank DenDanto III spoke to students about his work and advised them on their work and careers. 30 students were in attendance.
1:00-2:45: Art and Myrna taught partnering to 21 students in the advanced modern dance class.
12:30-1:45: Art and Myrna taught partnering to 22 students in musical theatre dance class.
5:00-6:00: Art and Myrna held an artist’s talk for 45 attendees, explaining their choreographic process and its integration with video technology. With slides and video excerpts they described the history and development of their unique concepts of Video Partnering and demonstrated their use of green screen technology, video editing, and live camera stage set-up. Audience members participated in a short demonstration of live camera work.
7:30-9:30: In the SUNY Potsdam Performing Arts Center Proscenium Theater, B|P performed 2 works: “Table Bed Mirror,” which had its premiere a few days prior and “Voyeur.” “Voyeur” was awarded a Bessie—the 2017 New York Dance and Performance Award for Outstanding Production.
During intermission there was an installation. Audience members were invited on to the stage to move within the set of Voyeur and they experienced—and clearly enjoyed—the use of video technology to alter their worlds.
Ms. Collen wrote a press release and the communications office on campus distributed it. There was coverage on the radio and in the local newspaper. A student designed a beautiful poster—which Art and Myrna complimented, and these were distributed around campus.
This project did not involve new partnerships, however the LoKo Arts Festival funding allowed B|P to offer an extra workshop. It also paid for publicity, housing, and hospitality. Community Performance Series—the presenting organization on campus—provided ushers (for free). The Department of Theatre and Dance was particularly generous in its in-kind provisions of not-only space, but 75 hours of professional technical support (from faculty members) and 48 hours of student technical support.
From looking at the audience present at the company’s performance it was difficult to discern how many newcomers to dance there were. However, I publicized heavily to the faculty in the Art Department and at least 2 faculty members with an interest in film/video and art were in attendance at the artist talk and performance. The communities served were primarily college students, faculty, and community members who frequent art and dance events.