Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble
About Tim Hagans:
“One of the most influential voices in modern jazz” - Village Voice
Performers are: ROBIN GILBERT, YURITZI GOVEA, CRISTIAN LAVERDE KOENIG, MICHELE BRANGWEN, dancers; TIM HAGANS, trumpet; JON IRABAGON, saxophone; JOE HERTENSTEIN, drums and percussion; THOMAS HELTON, double bass.
The Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble is a contemporary dance company featuring all new choreography, live original music, and the integration of all our musicians into the imagery, so that dancers and musicians break the boundaries of traditional ensemble interaction. The Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble is based in New York City and Houston. Now entering our 17th Season of performances, we have presented our work in New York, Houston, Austin, Chicago, and cities in Europe.
MICHELE BRANGWEN DANCE ENSEMBLE PERFORMS
IN AND OUT OF THE SHADOWS INSPIRED
BY JOHN CASSAVETES’ FILM SHADOWS
Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 7 p.m.
THE JAZZ LOFT
The Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble will perform IN AND OUT OF THE SHADOWS, with choreography by Michele Brangwen and music by Grammy-nominated trumpeter and composer Tim Hagans. IN AND OUT OF THE SHADOWS is inspired by John Cassavetes’ groundbreaking film SHADOWS from 1959.
“Lovely dancers and intensely focused musicians. The late-'50s era of Cassavetes' American take on the New Wave was unquestionably evoked."- Mindy Aloff
SHADOWS, the film that inspired the dance and music of IN AND OUT OF THE SHADOWS, is the story of 3 siblings in New York City: Hugh, a jazz singer; Ben, a jazz musician, and Lelia, a painter. Shot in black and white, we can see that the siblings have varying skin colors. Lelia is the youngest character in the film. She is energetic and hopeful, moving in literary circles of people who see no color, until she meets a man who courts her and wins her affection. They become lovers and this is her first love experience. The young man becomes alarmed, however, when he meets her oldest brother, the dark-skinned Hugh, and realizes the woman he is having an affair with is black. Lelia is devastated at his reaction. She murmurs “I love you, doesn’t that mean anything.” Perhaps those words are key to understanding SHADOWS and all of Cassavetes’ films to come. He was continually exploring our need for love, the power of love, and our tendency as humans to turn away from love.
Cassavetes often spoke about how we crave love and yet we turn away from it for the most absurd of reasons.
Michele Brangwen writes:
“It’s impossible to watch SHADOWS and not fall in love with the character of Lelia. When Tim Hagans wrote the music for IN AND OUT OF THE SHADOWS, he wrote it from her perspective. It’s a journey of what it’s like to discover the unfairness of life and then to come out on the other side and move forward. The musicians are expressing her emotional narrative when they perform the music. And so in making the dance, I decided to make the choreography follow the same narrative. Rather than a work where the different performers represent different characters in the film, we all instead represent Lelia. So we have Lelias of different genders and ages.
Lelia moves forward out of her disappointment. She moves forward awkwardly and she is changed inside, yet in many ways she is just as vibrant as before, but in a different way. The choreography returns to something that is fluid but a little broken. We cannot erase our past, and sometimes it breaks us. So we try to move forward and one way we can do that is by finding each other.”
The program will also include UNENDING, a new work inspired by the music of John Coltrane, with choreography by Michele Brangwen, music by Tim Hagans, and movement and music created in the moment by all performers. UNENDING folllows the form of a traditional jazz tune, with set choreography and music to the head and bridge, and then improvised duets for dancers and musicians during the choruses.
About the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble:
“A joy to watch” – Houston Press