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Steven Schreiber
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Joyce Soho
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The Contemporary Dance Core

by Steven Schreiber
June 4, 2007
Joyce Soho
155 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10012
Ashley A. Friend: The Contemporary Dance Core (TCDC) was established in January of 2006 under the artistic leadership of choreographer Ashley Friend. Last June TCDC relocated to New York City from San Luis Obispo, California.

Inspired by America's shifting soil, communications, and contemporary dance,
Sunshine & Dirt is a reflection of global socialization, collective Internet systems, and the effect of communication on the land. What is beneath the surface of this land? In California the earth shakes and in New York the subway voltage runs and in Texas the oil spouts slowly now and in the northern lands the soil is rich for new tree growth. This land is your land, this land is my land and it is beautiful. It constantly changes as the roads slice crevasses of communication into this new country. How far economically, emotionally, and environmentally will people go for communication?

This piece is largely motivated by interactive video Internet relationships. The users were contacted on the Website YouTube through the username AsertyDances and asked to submit videos giving their thoughts about dance; the video has had over 21,000 views and 40 submissions. Many of those very revealing and informative thoughts are shared throughout Sunshine & Dirt.

*What is the scary body? The scary body is a movement vocabulary that Friend began developing in 2003 while in graduate school at The Ohio State University in Columbus. It is a dance vocabulary that has been informed by architectural prosthetic sculptures that are placed on the dancers' bodies and inform the way the movement phrases are executed. The extra prosthesis transforms the original movement phrases thus creating the scary body. This concept arose from Friend's ongoing physical injury resulting from a car accident in 2001.

Original musical composition by David Morneau, lighting design by J Lillian Gray, and costume design by Amiti Perry. Danced by a company of five: Sarah Felice Evans, Ashley A. Friend, Erin Hopkins, Akemi Nishi, and Savina Theodorou.

"…arresting, her strongly tactile gestural movements governed by a sensitive
control of dynamics." — Michael Smith, Santa Barbara News-Press

"…evolves by means that are alien, hesitant and always unexpected."
— Jay Weitz, Columbus Alive, Top 10 of 2003

ASHLEY A. FRIEND was born and raised in San Luis Obispo, California; she has since lived in Portland, OR, Berkeley, CA, Olympia, WA, Seattle, WA, Columbus, OH, and now New York, NY. Friend graduated with her Masters of Fine Arts in Dance and Technology from The Ohio State University with a minor in Film and Video in June 2005. It was there that she worked and studied closely with lighting designer and performing artist David Covey, nationally and internationally known choreographer Bebe Miller, video editor and PBS station manager Dan Shellenbarger, writer and performing artist Johannes Birringer, visual artists Ann Hamilton and Michael Mercil, and renowned performance artist STELARC. While at OSU she studied technologies such as video editing, telematics or performance/communications over the Internet, electronic sounds and rhythm in max/MSP and soundtrack studio-pro, and prosthetic prop involvement with choreography.

She is a 2007 danceWEB scholarship recipient and will be attending the ImPulsTanz Festival in Vienna in July. November 2006 she spent as a resident artist at The Atlantic Center for the Arts (ACA) in Florida. With the keen-eyed and articulate choreographer John Jasperse Friend further developed her current movement explorations of the scary body, which culminated in a public showing with original composition by Jong Yeul Chong, this was the seed for Sunshine and Dirt.

For more information please call Ashley A. Friend: 805.234.5511
Email: info@dancecore.org
Or go to the Website dancecore.org
Conversations at the Flea

Conversations at the Flea

Photo © & courtesy of Steven Schreiber

Conversations at the Flea

Conversations at the Flea

Photo © & courtesy of Steven Schreiber

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