By JAMES D. WATTS JR. World Scene Writer on Feb 17, 2012, at 2:24 AM Updated on 2/17/12 at 5:32 AM
The opening weekend of the New Genre Festival typically is filled with events – exhibits opening, performances happening, installations being installed.
But for the 19th iteration of this celebration of the avant garde, Living Arts of Tulsa director Steve Liggett wanted to keep things very simple.
“This work that we’re presenting to start this year’s festival is such a powerful piece that I didn’t want to schedule anything else this weekend,” he said.
The sole event for the opening weekend is “Home Made,” a dance performance work by tEEth – the duo of dancer-choreographer Angelle Hebert and composer Phillip Kraft.
The hourlong piece explores the complexities of relationships – the dizzying highs, the traumatic lows, the physical and emotional vulnerabilities of passion and need, the irrationality of jealousy and dependence – through a mix of sometimes brutally physical and aggressive, sometimes lyrical choreography, set to a score that mixes recorded sounds with live vocals.
It also is a piece very much for adults. As it progresses, depicting the increasing intimacy that comes as one reveals more of oneself to another person, the two dancers perform a large portion of the work in the nude.
“Our pieces usually grow out of long sessions of improvisation,” Hebert said. “We record these sessions, which can go as long as six hours, and from that we extract the materials that will ultimately become the finished piece.
“And for this piece, a lot of those sessions were done in the nude. We did consider doing the piece without nudity, but the movement looked different when the dancers were clothed. Besides, one thing we were after was that rawness and vulnerability, and this was the best way to do that.”
While some of the duo’s work begins without any real preparations, so that the finished piece is “discovered” through its creation, “Home Made” grew out of a specific idea.
“We were wanting to explore the complexities of our own relationship,” Hebert said. She and Kraft have been together since 2000, when they first collaborated on Hebert’s senior project at the University of Utah.
Officially, tEEth started in 2006, and the work they have created has earned much acclaim, including being named by Dance Magazine as one of the “25 to Watch” for 2012.
The magazine singled tEEth out for its “well-constructed, deftly performed choreography with wildly imaginative sets and costumes, live and recorded original music, and real-time video…that articulate concepts ranging from intimacy to alienation.”
“We did a lot of storyboarding for this piece, and the original concept called for all kinds of video work,” Kraft said. “We at one time had about two hours’ worth of material. But as we continued, we kept simplifying things, to keep the focus on this couple, going through this journey.”
It’s a journey, the couple says, that might have been inspired by their own relationship but doesn’t necessarily serve as an autobiography.
“It is very personal and very emotional,” Hebert said. “To be honest, I am kind of happy that, as the choreographer and director, I am able to step outside the piece, to look at it a little more objectively.
“We did at one point talk about the two of us performing it,” she said, smiling, “but that was just a little too scary.”
“This work was a way for us to confront a lot of things, to deal with problems and heal,” Kraft said. “It was relatively cheap therapy for us.”
Dancers Noel Plemmons and Keely McIntyre will perform in “Home Made.” The live vocals will be provided by singers Cali Ricks and Luke Matter.
Members of tEEth will conduct a workshop 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday on “Creating Collaborative Work.” For more on the workshop, call Living Arts at 918-585-1234 or visit tulsaworld.com/livingarts
Living Arts of Tulsa New Genre Festival XIX
WEEK ONE: Feb. 17-19
“Home Made,” dance performance by tEEth. 8 p.m. Feb. 17-18. PAC Williams Theatre, 110 E. Second St. NOTE: Performance contains nudity. Tickets $25.
WEEK TWO: Feb. 22-26
Exhibits “You Complete Me” by Hack Art Lab and “Eye 4 Eye,” by Tulsa artists in conjunction with Tulsa Opera’s “Dead Man Walking,” on display through Feb. 24 at Living Arts of Tulsa, 307 E. Brady St. Closing events, 5 -7 p.m. Feb. 24.
“Live Cinema,” interactive melding of performance, music and dance, directed by Charlie Woodman and featuring Tulsa performers. 8 p.m. Feb. 24-25, PAC Doenges Theatre, 110 E. Second St. $15.
“Revised and Revisited,” performance installation by Erica Mott, that examines the impermanence of memory and the fragmentation of personal history. 8 p.m. Feb. 24-25, Liggett Studio, 308 S. Kenosha Ave. $15.
WEEK THREE: Feb. 27-March 3
“Still Life: Graphite on Paper,” inflatable sculpture installation by Benjamin Entner. Opening reception 5-7 p.m. March 2, Living Arts of Tulsa, 307 E. Brady St. Continues through March 24.
“Darned Delicates,” exhibit of mixed media works by Laura Tanner. Opening reception 5-7 p.m. March 2, Living Arts of Tulsa, 307 E. Brady St. Continues through March 24.
“In Transit,” photography and live Internet performance by Michael Cooper, examining public transportation in New York City and Tulsa. Opening reception 5-7 p.m. March 2, Tulsa Artists’ Coalition Gallery, 9 E. Brady St.
“Cathedral of Emptiness and Interiosity,” video performance by Kathy Rose. 10 p.m. March 2, 8 p.m. March 3, Nightingale Theater, 1416 E. Fourth St. $15.
“Palpitations,” performance artwork by Norman artist Lindsey Allgood. 8 p.m. March 2, 10 p.m. March 3, Nightingale Theater, 1416 E. Fourth St. $15.