The Encounter: Buffalo + NYC

Joanna Kotze and Burr Johnson in rehearsal for The Encounter. Photo by Ryutaro Mishima.

Year: 2022-2023
DanceForce Member: Margaret Kaiser
Artist: Kimberly Bartosik
Audience: 50
County: Erie

Phase 3 of The Encounter focused on a creative residency at Torn Space Theater from September 10-18 with 5 professional artists from Bartosik’s dance company, daela, and 2 non-professional dancers, one from NYC and one from Buffalo. The intention was to give final shape to the culminating Encounter performance at the French Institute Alliance Francaise’s (FIAF) prestigious “Crossing the Line Festival” in NYC on October 6-8. There was a free, open showing on September 17, at which time the artists received feedback from an audience of approximately 50 persons. The only announcement of this event was a posting of the Torn Space Theater website and FB pages of TST and DF. Following the May 2022 of The Encounter: Buffalo and prior to the residency, a NYC premiere of The Encounter featured 6 extraordinary NYC-based professionals (including Ms. Bartosik), three teens (two from The Ailey School and Ms. Bartosik’s child) and one performer from the original Buffalo cast, Kalub Thompson. TST stage manager Carly Weiser was flown in to assist with this performance.

This project – which began as a rich exchange with TST – expanded far beyond its home based community. For Buffalo performer Kalub Thompson, it ignited exposure to and collaboration with a professional NYC based dance company in addition to the opportunities to perform in NYC. As a result of the success of this project, and using it as a model, Ms. Bartosik has been invited to build several locally cast Encounters for 2023-24 including: Akron OH, in partnership with a local theatre company; Rockland Maine, in collaboration with the Strand Theatre for local teens; and, in Ashville NC in partnership with Black Mountain College Museum & Art Center cast with local teen writers. A few other Encounters are in the works, with the TST exchange as a best practice model. Ms. Bartosik’s statement summarizes the impact of this project best: “Emerging from several years of isolation and loss of work due to the pandemic, the timing of The Encounter project allowed me to re-emerge with an incredibly powerful, resonant, and timely work.”