Figures in the Field

TINY REBELLIONS by Lindsay Gilmour
TINY REBELLIONS by Lindsay Gilmour

Year: 2015-2016
DanceForce Member: Jim Self
Artists: Rik Daniels, Gerard & Kelly, Lindsay Gilmour
Community Partners: Cornell University, Ithaca College, Circus Culture
County: Tompkins

Figures in the Field is an umbrella project that includes up to five performances in five different venues during a six-week period (August 15 – Sept. 30, 2015). The performers and artists will include Tompkins County artist/performers and the 2015 Bessies Juried Award recipients, guest artists Gerard and Kelly. Each venue (field) will be determined by the participating artists (figures). Field venues are intended as focal points representing the artists’ communities. These include: rural landscape, house/porch/yard, barn, studio, and—in the case of the guest artists—gallery/museum/exhibition space.

The local artists will develop their portions of the project during the summer months prior to the six-week presentation period. Gerard and Kelly will present a performance/installation of newly developed work and/or pre-existing work from their repertory. In addition, Gerard and Kelly will offer up to four developmental/presentational workshops with the local participants. (The exact details of dates and venues will be determined based on the availability of the guests artists and local participants). An ideal scenario would have Gerard and Kelly offer the workshops at the beginning of the developmental period maximizing their collaboration with the local artists. Also ideal would be to have the guest artists’ installation continue for several weeks beyond the primary presentation period.

The purpose of this project is to energize the Tompkins County grassroots dance/arts community through collaboration and interaction with nationally recognized artists. Gerard and Kelly have developed a reputation for expanding boundaries of performance content and presentation. Bringing their latest ideas and experience to Tompkins County will provide a direct connection to larger performance network.

An example of local/guest artists collaboration: Tompkins County is home to a significant population of lesbian and gay (LGBT) alternative families and communities. Many of these families live in rural, traditionally farmland-based areas. They include experimental communes who settled in Tompkins County and upstate NY during the 1970s and pioneered LGBT parenting. They also include newly married LGBT couples living into scenarios of aging, retirement and legacy development. Gerard and Kelly, a younger gay couple, are building a body of work exploring race, gender, sexuality and queer consciousness. The questions of LGBT bodies/communities and expressions in rural environments are ripe for exploration. Collaborations artists working in primarily urban venues and the LGBT families of rural New York will surely produce some insightful and perhaps unexpected results.