The Goodbye Studies (2015)
Tere O’Connor’s new dance The Goodbye Studies continues his decades long commitment to strictly movement-based investigations and once again engages a large group of amazing NY performers (12). The work promotes complexity as a key feature of consciousness and seeks to fully detach from comprehension as a value. Together with the performers, he will create aqueous fields of constant movement, where transition and event are indistinguishable. Moving away from a focus on single beings, the work promotes the idea of the crowd as protagonist where “everyone” replaces “someone” as subject. Images of masses of people trudging through their misfortunes or fighting for empowerment are everywhere. Considering these as a background presence in this dance, we might ignite our compassion regarding human rights and the conditions of our shared world. This work will have a new score composed by James Baker, O’Connor’s collaborator of thirty years. The score will be made up of numerous recorded components that can be manipulated live into infinite reconfigurations. The work will premiere at The Kitchen in NYC and run for the first two weeks of December 2015.
undersweet is a duet that will premiere at American Realness in January 2015, following a July 2014 work-in-progress showing at the River to River Festival. In this dance O’Connor works from the supposition that formalism might result from repressed sexual desire. The work is a choreographic meditation on how this paradox finds expression in dance, or perhaps even generates it. undersweet was created on and with Michael Ingle and Silas Riener.
undersweet was commissioned by LMCC and presented as part of the River To River Festival 2014. It was developed during an LMCC artist residency as part of the Extended Life Dance Development Program, made possible in part by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional funding was provided by the Creative Research Fund at the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
BLEED is a large work that encompasses O’Connor’s love of complexity and layering in dance. It is the culminating work of a two-year project during which he constructed three other pieces, Secret Mary, poem and Sister, all from very different source material and each with an entirely different cast. He then collapsed these into this fourth work, simultaneously remembering and forgetting the previous dances. All 11 of the magical performers from the other works are here yet the movement material is gone. Ghosts of the other dances resonate through the new work and shape its form but they are subterranean and exert their pressure on this new construction from the caves of memory.
BLEED was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Boeing Company Charitable Trust; The MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; The National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; individual donors, and Big Tree Productions. Inc.
Sister re-embraces an idea first developed by O’Connor in his work Four Sister Dances that premiered at The Kitchen in 1989. “I tried to escape the omnipresence of theme and variation in dance by immersing myself in what I call “variation and variation.” I looked to sisters as a metaphor for duplication, sameness and difference. I was attempting to validate a different idea regarding “development” in a dance, one that didn’t offer an anchoring point.” In Sister, hyper-intricate rhythmic systems provide the chatter between the performers as they are propelled into an increasingly mysterious cascade of events.
Sister was commissioned by the Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois and is the third work in Tere O’Connor’s BLEED project investigating the complex strata of information comprising a dance.
Secret Mary (2012)
Secret Mary is based on mentoring relationships with these and other young artists. It was created together with the performers and reflects the ways in which other people’s queries redirect your own. Performed in silence, the work comprises the first sketches for the overall project and is a work about delicate investigational imprints.
poem finds O’Connor returning to his career-long affinity for hyper-crafted, complex, formal structures in dance and their potential to ignite meditative states. Through the title, O’Connor hopes to evoke the deep connection between poetry and dance. Although created with a more “conventional” choreographer-dancer relationship, it is just as much a collaboration as his other work. Each of these performers expertly carves out her/his own space inside O’Connor’s design, Music is composed by James Baker in dialogue with the structures of the dance and destabilizes the element of time.
poem was commissioned by New York Live Arts and made possible, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support was provided by contributors to the Dance Theater Workshop Commissioning Fund at New York Live Arts.
Cover Boy (2011)
In Cover Boy, Tere O’Connor extracts structural conceits from the closeted gay experience to drive his choreographic process. Part expression, part exorcism, and part political observation, this work celebrates the outsider perspective of artists and willfully embraces the often marginalized status of choreographic work. The work is performed by four dancers – Michael Ingle, Niall Jones, Paul Monaghan, and Matthew Rogers. Original music was created by O’Connor’s longtime collaborator, composer James Baker. Set design is by Aptum Architecture (Roger Hubeli and Julie Larsen).
Cover Boy was made possible, in part, by Danspace Project’s 2011-12 Commissioning Initiative, with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional support was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, the Vapnek Family Fund, and the University of Illinois Research Board. Cover Boy was created in residencies at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, Mount Tremper Arts Festival, and LMCC’s Residency Program at Governors Island.