SPRAWL is the culmination of a year-long series with works presented at Link’s Hall (Chicago) and Velocity Dance Center’s Bridge Project (Seattle). The work explores the motivations and repercussions of suburban sprawl through movement, song, and spoken word.
“McGovern’s explorative approach is engaging. She exemplifies a documentarian style with her visitation to historic industrial growth, urban sprawl, and cultural disparity. It’s an approach filled with beautifully lined choreography, reflecting on past events that continue to challenge the nation in the present. Sprawl demonstrates her ability to provoke thought through dance. Watch for her upcoming works, as she is sure to make an impression on the Seattle dance scene.”
Nalisha Rangel, Seattle Dances
Choreography: MaryAnn McGovern
SPRAWL part 2 was the second in a series that examines the un-sustainability of suburbanization, it’s cultural implications, and the gradual collapse of the utopian illusion that was pre-recession suburban life. This portion of the work explores the exurban community and the environmental repercussions of commuter towns. This piece employed a large community cast to represent a quickly growing population, and focused on issues of expansion by physically manipulating the space, clearing curtains to make room for the growing number of bodies, revealing bare white walls and side lights.
This piece was selected by Velocity Dance Center in Seattle for their annual Bridge Project, which supports three to four emerging choreographers for three weeks and produces their work.
“MaryAnn McGovern’s SPRAWL Part 2 made it clear that McGovern is a choreographer to watch…The nominal subject of the work is urban sprawl. That might sound like an unpromising idea for a dance, but for McGovern, it’s just a springboard into something more abstract and ultimately quite moving… it became evident that McGovern had crafted nothing less than a metaphor for the creation of community through art in the face of mindless urban expansion. Feats of choreographic magic like this are rare and very special.”
– Anne Lawrence, Seattle Dances Blog
SPRAWL part 1 was the first installation of a series that examines the un-sustainability of suburbanization, it’s cultural implications, and the gradual collapse of the utopian illusion that was pre-recession suburban life. This portion of the work explores the “white flight” – the large-scale migration of whites of European descent from culturally mixed urban areas to American suburbs in the mid-twentieth century, as well as their return to the cities which in turn displaces low-income families. In this short process, the cast focused much of their attention on the ideas of displacement, creating boundaries, and on developing a large, sprawling movement vocabulary that evokes a sense of exhausting resources. This piece was commissioned for the first Fresh Dances festival at Link’s Hall.
In the commissioned work, Rituals of Abundance for Lean Times #3: Delicate Extraction, guest choreographer Peter Carpenter posits that the rigorous development of choreographic material stands as a metaphor for the possibility of abundance and sustainability within myths of scarcity. This work is part of a cycle of dances under the “Rituals of Abundance for Lean Times”heading, which, as a whole, recognizes abundance within overwhelming, societally pervasive narratives of dwindling resources. This third installation of the cycle departs from Carpenter’s signature deployment of talking dances in favor of a sustained attention to a visceral movement vocabulary, compositional syntax and the creation of generative choreographic systems.
“Though Carpenter is known for agenda-driven pieces–most recently the Reagan-focused My Fellow Americans–he wanted the cycle of which this piece is part to be “more a contemplation,” an abstract meditation on abundance and scarcity. His guiding principle, he says, was a rule imposed by his teacher at UCLA, Victoria Marks: Get as much as you can from as little as you can.”
Laura Molzahn (from MaryAnn McGovern and Dancers, With Peter Carpenter 2011), Chicago Reader
“Whisper “politically charged choreography,” and just watch people run for the hills. But we couldn’t get away from—or enough of—performances hell-bent on raising issues…Peter Carpenter’s Rituals of Abundance for Lean Times (our review) proposed that creativity and compassion are the most stable (and most valuable) global currencies.”
Zac Whittenburg, Time Out Chicago, 2011 in Review
Authentic Movement drove the movement generation in The Chaos of Everything That Isn’t You. Choreographer MaryAnn McGovern guided her cast through the creation of vocabulary with Authentic Movement, an improvisational free-association practice that reinforces the relevance of mind-body interconnectedness. The meaning of the work emerged as a response to the assumptions about Generation Y, or the Millennial Generation, and the challenges that have been presented to them as
they come of age in a remarkably unstable time. Vacillating between athletically aggressive and subtly nuanced, The Chaos of Everything… is rich with intricate partnerships and amoebic group forms. The piece is layered with text and singing, and is ripe with pop-culture references.
What’s Been Handed to Us was commissioned by The Dance Center of Columbia College for 1306 – Ten Years Later, a celebration of their tenth anniversary at 1306 S. Michigan Avenue. This work was a starting point for The Chaos of Everything That Isn’t You, and addressed the effects of the Great Recession on the millennial generation, and compared and contrasted our current state to that of the Great Depression with Depression era literature such as Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.
Created by commissioned choreographer Missy Lobes, I Have Already Emptied Myself explores the meaning of home, and the feelings associated with it as we attempt to take them with us from one physical home to the next. Emptied.. Is a slow-moving, deeply-felt meditation that follows three women as they live deeply into every sense.
Created by commissioned choreographer and former company member Emily Miller, Nancy Was a Gardener was not only an homage to a lost loved one, but a contemplation on how we cope with conflicted feelings about those we lose after they are gone. Miller employs her unique style of contemporary ballet juxtaposed with a satisfying weighted sensibility and quirky gesture work.