Nichole Canuso Dance Company in Philadelphia announces digital tour of “Being/With:Home”

-Courtesy of Bryan Buttler Media Relations, LLC

Nichole Canuso Dance Company will present a digital tour of their critically-acclaimed work Being/With:Home. The intimate participatory performance, which explores separation, connection, and the power of listening, will play The John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin from February 11-24, 2021, followed by an engagement at the Bates Dance Festival in Lewiston, Maine from February 25-March 14, 2021.

The online structure of Being/With:Home is the result of writer/choreographer Nichole Canuso and her Philadelphia-based dance company adapting an existing work, Being/With, to the realities of the pandemic environment. Being/With was transformed into Being/With:Home—the Zoom-based workand first premiered at the 2020 Philadelphia Fringe Festival to great acclaim.  American Theatre Magazine’s Alix Rosenfeld raved that piece was “Complex and rich…With every direction from the audio guide, I felt layers of myself peel back to be shared…and the connection I felt was as potent as it would be had we been in my kitchen dancing together.”

Being/With:Home is built to be experienced from people’s own homes, via Zoom. A guided interaction with a stranger, the work directly addresses solitude, intimacy, and adaptive forms of communication and being together. Embracing the objects and memories that populate their own spaces, the two are invited to build something new: a duet with someone unexpected. 

“The original project was designed to be a one-on-one encounter between two strangers at a time, each in separate installations,” said Canuso. “The project addressed loss, longing and connection. Although the pandemic temporarily halted the construction of the original version, it felt like the themes of the project could still speak directly to this time of uncertainty, social distancing and isolation.”

Shifting Being/With’s script from the site installations to the Zoom platform was both organic and illuminating, according to Canuso. 

“Embedded in the project is a reminder that we each carry a wealth of memories and ideas with us, expanding far beyond the present moment,” Canuso added. “As we rehearsed in this new scenario the project transformed, embracing the intimacy and vulnerability of the at-home setting and we quickly found a sister project that we named Being/With:Home.

Additionally, Canuso and collaborators are exploring the themes of Being/With: Home in small group settings via the interactive workshops connecting twelve participants at a time, each in their own home. Facilitated by NCDC artistic director Canuso and Spiral Q co-director Jennifer Turnbull, these workshops explore the themes present in the duet performance (absence/presence; communication over distance; the power of listening) through a series of storytelling activities and movement structures. Each workshop will reflect the interests and experiences of the participants.  The Kohler Arts Center has invited local community members to participate in workshops; those interested in attending the Bates Dance Festival workshops can contact the box office.

John Michael Kohler Arts Center Engagement
To participate in a Being/With:Home duet at the Kohler Arts Center engagement, visit Reservations, which are free, are limited to 40 (20 duets).
Available times are:
Wed., Feb. 17, 5:30 & 7:00 p.m.
Thurs., Feb. 18, 5:30 & 7:00 p.m.
Fri., Feb. 19, 12:00, 1:30 & 3:00 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 20, 12:00, 1:30, 3:00, 5:30 & 7:00 p.m.
Mon., Feb. 22, 11:00 a.m., 12:30 & 2:00 p.m.
Tues., Feb. 23, 5:30 & 7:00 p.m.
Wed., Feb. 24, 12:00, 1:30 & 3:00 p.m.

Bates Dance Festival Engagement
To participate in a Being/With:Home duet at the Bates Dance Festival engagement, visit Reservations, which are $15, are limited to 80 (40 duets). 
Available times are:
Thurs., Feb. 25, 2:30, 4:00, 6:30 & 8:00 p.m.
Fri., Feb. 26,  2:30, 4:00, 6:30 & 8:00 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 27, 5:00, 6:30 , & 8:00 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 28,  1:30 & 3:00 p.m.
Thurs., Mar. 4, 2:30, 4:00, 6:30 & 8:00 p.m.
Fri., Mar. 5, 2:30, 4:00, 6:30 & 8:00 p.m.
Sat., Mar. 6, 12:00, 1:30, 5:00, 6:30, & 8:00 p.m.
Sun., Mar. 7, 1:30 & 3:00 p.m.
Thurs., Mar. 11, 2:30, 4:00, 6:30 & 8:00 p.m.
Fri., Mar., 12,  5:00, 6:30, & 8:00 p.m.
Sat., Mar., 13, 12:00, 1:30, 5:00, 6:30, & 8:00 p.m.
Sun., March 14th 1:30 & 3:00 p.m.

Nichole Canuso performing Being/With:Home. Photo by Johanna Austin

Nichole Canuso, artistic director of Nichole Canuso Dance Company, is interested in the stories we tell ourselves and the stories we tell other people. This artistic obsession manifests in performances that explore presence and absence, participation and spectacle. She is committed to long-term development processes that enable relationship-building with artistic collaborators, community partners and audiences. Together with her collaborative teams she designs immersive worlds for audience members to inhabit. For the past two decades, sitting at the crossroads of movement, visual art, and theater, Canuso’s choreographic projects have been presented nationally (New York Live Arts (NYC), American Repertory Theater (MA), Los Angeles Performance Projects (CA), Velocity (WA), HERE (NYC), The International Festival for Art and Ideas (CT), among others) and internationally (Hungary, Mexico, UK and others). Choreographic residencies include the Maggie Allessee National Center for Choreography (FL), MacDowell (NH), Millay Colony for the Arts (NY), NCCAkron (OH), Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences (GA), Headlands (CA). Support for her choreographic work includes The National Endowment for the Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts, National Dance Projects Funding, The Knight Foundation, a Bessie Shoenberg First Light Commission, the Leeway Foundation, the Independence Foundation, The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, the Ellen Foreman Memorial. Canuso has been commissioned to create new work for The American Philosophical Society Museum, Axis Dance Company, Drexel University, Dickinson College, Bryn Mawr College, The Philadelphia Museum of Art. Choreography for theater productions includes Arden Theater Company, Theatre Exile, Theater Horizon and most recently The Institute on Disabilities’ production of “A Fierce Kind of Love”. She is a faculty member of the MFA program at University of the Arts /Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training (APT). She is a 2017 Pew Fellow. 

Mikaal Sulaiman, (sound design and original composition) originally from Rochester New York, currently resides in Los Angeles working primarily as a sound designer and composer. He attended the University of the Arts receiving a BFA and later studied the Jacque Lecoq approach to avant garde theatre at the London International School of Performing Arts. Mikaal also writes and directs from time to time. He is currently writing and devising an avant-garde headphone play titled Project Black Plague. PBP has received artist residencies at Space on Ryder Farm in Upstate New York, UCross Foundation in Wyoming, as well as VoxFest at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. Some of Mikaal’s sound design credits on world premiere shows include: Rags Parkland (Ars Nova) *Lucille Lortel Award winning, Fairview (Soho Rep) *Pulitzer Prize Winner for Drama, and Underground Railroad Game (Ars Nova) *Obie Award Winner. He has received nominations from Bay Area Theatre Critics, Audelco Award, Lucille Lortel Award, and Drama Desk Award for sound design. He is also a Henry Hewes Design Award recipient. Mikaal also hosts a podcast, Black Enso, which can be found on most podcast platforms.

Sadah Espii Proctor (Espii) (sound design and original composition) is a VR director and sound/media designer for theatre and immersive experiences. Named by American Theatre Magazine as one of “6 Theatre Artists to Know” for multimedia storytelling, her work encompasses global stories of women, social issues, and the African Diaspora, often with an Afrofuturist/Cyberpunk lens. Her original work is also influenced by gothic horror, anime, and visual kei. She received her M.F.A. in Performance and Interactive Arts from Brooklyn College and is a proud alumna of Virginia Tech. Proctor’s work lies at the intersection of art, technology, and community. Proctor works regularly throughout New York City and across the country as a sound and video designer in places like JACK, Brooklyn Museum, Pioneer Works, Portland Stage, Passage Theatre, August Wilson African American Cultural Center, and La MaMa. She’s received developmental support for her work as a Member of NEW INC through the Kate Spade Fellowship, Creative to Founder Lab at NY Media Center, Digital Art Resident at Con Artist Collective, Researcher-in-Residence at Virginia Tech’s Spatial Music Workshop, and XR Lab Fellow at NYU Tandon/Timewave Festival. She’s also given back as a mentor at institutions such as #BUILTBYGIRLS, Elgin Community College, MIT, and NYU.

Rhonda Moore is a dancer, performance artist, educator and a founding member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. Moore has danced with Jamie Cunningham’s ACME Dance Company and began her dance career with intensive training in Dunham technique, performing with the Akosua Afro-Haitian Dance & Drum Troupe. Currently a teaching artist for the award winning Pierre Dulaine’s Dancing Classrooms Program, Moore previously served as Choral Director for the Singing City-in-the-Schools Program. Moore’s extensive international and domestic portfolios include conducting professional sound and movement workshops; creating site-specific interdisciplinary installations that integrate sound, movement and visual art through shared experience collaborative elaboration; teacher-specific professional development laboratories geared to generate curriculum development with a focused, integral inclusion of visual art, design, movement; and music and vocal concerts as jazz soloist in small combos as well as with chamber and full orchestral formations. She holds a BFA from SUNY Purchase, a diploma in classical piano performance from Hoff-Barthelson Music School in Scarsdale, NY, and full, permanent certification in Italian as a second language, conferred by the Foreign University of at Sienna, Italy. Ms. Moore serves as adjunct professor, dance faculty at Boyer College of Music and Dance, teaching

Jenn Kidwell is a performing artist. Recent projects include Underground Railroad Game (2017 Obie Award for Best New American Theatre Work, 2018 Edinburgh Fringe First Award), Home (Geoff Sobelle), Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed (Dan Hurlin), I Understand Everything Better (David Neumann/advanced beginner group, 2015 Bessie Award for Outstanding Production), Antigone (The Wilma Theater), Fire Burns Hot: Little Reno!I Promised Myself to Live Faster and 99 Break-Ups (Pig Iron Theatre Company), Dick’s Last Stand (Whitney Biennial 2014, as Donelle Woolford), Zinnias: the Life of Clementine Hunter (Robert Wilson/Toshi Reagon/Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon). Projects in development – A Hard Time (PITC), TABLE with Thomas Graves & the Rude Mechs and Nichole Canuso’s The Octopus and the Interview. Company member, PITC and Lightning Rod Special, Wilma Theater Associated Artist, co-founder of JACK. Her writing has been published in movement research Performance Journal #45 and at 2013 TCG/Fox Resident Actor Fellowship (with PITC), 2015 Leeway Foundation Art & Change Grant, 2016 Pew Fellow, 2017 Independence Fellowship.

Annie Wilson is a choreographer and performer whose work intertwines experimental dance, humor, feminist practice, and audience interaction to, as she says, “enliven that which is actively repressed in public life: grief, empathy, emotional honesty, and the experience—instead of appearance—of the female body.” Investigating what she describes as “public vulnerability and intimacy,” Wilson is interested in expanding the definition of dance and drawing from different realms of culture, such as standup comedy, burlesque, viral videos, and DJ remixes. Wilson’s most recent work is At Home with the Humorless Bastard (2016), an exploration of personal and collective grief that shifts the audience’s perspective by bringing them onstage and casting them in a story. With choreographer Susan Rethorst, Wilson curated and produced the weeklong The Remix Festival (2014), bringing together choreographers from around the country to “remix” one another’s dances. Wilson was a 2014 Independence Foundation Fellowship recipient, and is currently an “incubated artist” at Headlong and a writer for Thinking Dance. She holds a BFA in modern dance performance from the University of the Arts. She is a 2017 Pew Fellow.

Workshop Facilitator:
Jennifer Turnbull is a choreographer, performance and teaching artist. Turnbull develops art-based curriculum that weaves in concepts of formal education creating relevance and space for self-determination. Jennifer utilizes a lifetime of dance training to create most artwork in collaboration with art family. Collaborations have led to multidisciplinary ensemble performance, dance, music and film projects with SWARM, BARETEETH and other Philadelphia-based artists. The artistic process is a space to get free and hold our liberation as truth. The product is a critique of that which holds us down and apart from each other and ourselves. Jennifer is Co-Director of Spiral Q with Liza Goodell where they unleash the power of art to connect people to their collective creative force for change.

Funding/Commissioning partners
Being/With:Home was developed with support from New England Foundation for the Arts, National Dance Projects Award, Pennsylvania Humanities Council Pop-up Grant and support from our presenting partner, FringeArts.

More about the project
Being/With is a live interactive installation, set to premiere in Fall 2021. The piece brings together two solo audience members at a time (each in their own, separate location) in a poetic virtual encounter. It began as a meditation on absence and presence, loss and embodiment, and the power of listening. The 2021 Philadelphia premiere will build poetic bridges across two neighborhoods (Pearlstein Gallery in West Philadelphia and Trinity Church in South Philadelphia) making space for the intimacy and immediacy of collaborative exchange.

Being/With:Home is a performance experience complementing Being/With, a live interactive installation set to premiere in Philadelphia in fall 2021. Being/With:Home is built to be experienced from people’s own home, via Zoom. A guided interaction with a stranger, the work directly addresses solitude, intimacy, and adaptive forms of communication and being together. Embracing the objects and memories that populate your own space, you’ll be invited to build something new, with someone unexpected.

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