DanceForce Member: Toni Smith
Artists: Laura Gray, Gwen Welliver
Community Partners: Baryshnikov Studios; Bogliasco Foundation Study Center; Florida State University Council; Van Cleef & Arpels
County: New York
Pandemic Dance Making was a foray into documenting the creative process of a choreographer during a world-wide pandemic when meeting in person was prohibited. Choreographer Gwen Welliver spent over two years developing a piece, currently titled: “Stay Tuned”. Initial rehearsals were improvisational in nature and took place on Zoom in three homes of three independent artists: Sean Donovan, Dedrick Gray and Xin Ying. The choreographer continued to meet with the artists on Zoom during a retreat at the Bogliasco Study Center in Italy. Many months later the choreographer and the three artists met in person for a six-day residency at the Baryshnikov Dance Center in NYC. The three improvisers had never met in person prior to the residency, where they were joined by composer Jake Mejinsky, videographer Iki Nakagawa, and photographer Maria Baranova. All the Zoom footage, rehearsal footage and photographs were placed in the hands of French choreographer Laura Gary in Germany, who edited and produced a 25 minute documentary: Pandemic Dance Making, tracing the creative process that brought eight artists together to create material with limited contact that is still in process and will lend itself to future pieces, images, performances and more. At this time, the film is being used by the artists involved and will be submitted to dance film festivals in 2023.
“people related to Gwen’s work……. gathers us into a shared experience of life.” Laura Gary
“I’m so happy to have this documentation of my process. All the effort and brilliance in a process is typically hidden or lost.” Gwen Welliver