Reminisce: A Love Letter to a Time and Place. A Short Dance and Music Film

Year: 2020-2021
DanceForce Member: Nancy Long
Artist: Nancy Long, Kyle Barrett Price
Community Partners: Caroga Arts Collective; Glove Theater, Gloversville NY; Utica Dance Foundation
Audience: 394
County: Fulton

This project, made possible by funding from the NYS DanceForce, was co-conceived by Nancy Long and Kyle Barrett Price to mark the 100th Anniversary of Sherman’s, which opened as a bathing beach and a music and dance hall on Caroga Lake in the Southern Adirondacks in 1921.
Expressed in dance and music, the film follows two present day women who reminisce about the Sherman’s of their youth. They are caught of guard when the magic of the place ignites forgotten memories of their youth.

The project was conceived as an alternative to a live performance of music and dance during the pandemic. Kyle Price, Caroga Arts Collective Founder, Artistic Director, and musician, and Nancy Long, Utica Dance Artistic Director and choreographer, met remotely to define the parameters of a project that could take place without a live audience or live streaming. Together they conceived of a film that would celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Sherman’s AmusementPark, now the permanent home of the Caroga Arts Collective. Since Nancy had created several pieces to the music of Marc Mellits and Kyle had performed his music, his piece, “Paranoid Cheese” was chosen for its evocative and etherial nature. It was imagined that the short film we be part of the visitor experience at the Sherman’s Park or the local Historical Museum.

Rehearsals began in March 2021 at the Utica Dance studios with choreographer, Nancy Long and dancer collaborators, Hannah Straney and Elizabeth Szendrody. A stage version of the duet (without live music and actors) was presented at the Mohawk Valley Community College on June 22, 23, 2021. Cellist Kyle Price, violinist Kelly Talim and percussionist Garrett Mendelow created a sound recording the 6 minute piece that was the backdrop for the film. Videographer, Jacob Kruty of Restrogradestudiosnyc, then filmed the dancers, actors and musicians performing in various locales around the park. This allowed for the ambient sound of the rain, water of the lake, and the carousel to be part of the final acoustic experience while maintaining the integrity of the score.

Production Credits:
Choreography and Artistic Direction: Nancy Long, Hannah Straney, Elizabeth Szendrody
Dancers/Collaborators: Hannah Straney, Elizabeth Szendrody
Actors: Catherine Bouvier Graves, Andrea Dziubek
Music Credits:
Composer: Marc Mellits
Piece Title: Paranoid Cheese
Violinist: Kelly Talim
Cello: Kyle Price
Marimba: Garrett Mendelow
Recording Engineer: Marc Wienert, Authentic City Records Videography, film and editing: Retrogradestudiosnyc (Jacob Kruty)
Filmed on Location: Caroga Arts Collective, Sherman’s Park, Caroga Lake, NY

At the time of the NYS DanceForce publication, the film is in post-production with the release date to coincide with the Caroga Historical Museum Exhibit, Sherman’s Centennial: A Postcard History, August 2021. Additional opportunities to see the film will be in display kiosk proposed for the original Sherman’s and on the links will be found on social media.

History of Sherman’s: Opened in 1921 as a bathing beach and Music and Dance Hall, Sherman’s featured some of the great big band artists of their time; Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Frankie Carle, and the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra–an all black orchestra. A Carousel and other attractions were added later, becoming a major tourist draw in the region during the mid-20th Century. In the summer of 2017, Caroga Arts began to breathe new life into Sherman’s by presenting the “Sherman’s Revival Series” concerts and events at the property. Since 2011, the Caroga Art has presented a wide-range of music concerts, from classical chamber music, to Jazz and folk music performed by hundreds of musicians who come to the area to participate in the six-week long festival Sherman’s and the surrounding area.