Directed by Zia Anger, Tobin Del Cuore, Adam H Weinert
Choreographer Adam H Weinert
Dancers Eric Jackson Bradley, Nicholas Bruder, Quinn Czejkowski, Chris Garneau, Ross Katen, Logan Frances Kruger, Brett Perry, Davon Rainey, and Adam H Weinert
Composer Chris Garneau
A funny, brutal and deeply personal exploration of masculinity and American values, MONUMENT is set in the imposing interiors of an abandoned 1930’s Elk’s Lodge. Scene by scene and room by room, the dancers unpack their relationships to tradition, gender identity and sense of self. With an original score by Chris Garneau, the ensemble takes shape both as embodiments of dance-historical material and as ghosts – quietly navigating a world with fast-changing rules where they must work together to find liberation.
Interview with Director Adam H Weinert
Describe, in as many or as few words as you see fit, the genesis of or inspiration behind MONUMENT?
This project began in May of 2013 when I was invited to reinterpret and re-perform the early solo work of pioneering modernist choreographer, Ted Shawn, for an exhibition at Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Unlike many of the other dance legends represented in the exhibit including Martha Graham, and Yvonne Rainer, Ted Shawn has no company in existence today so the process of reviving his works was a true experiment. In order to recreate these dances as authentically as possible in the absence of any surviving company members, I spent a summer research fellowship at Jacob’s Pillow in Beckett, MA, the school and festival Shawn founded, and danced in the studios his company built, reconstructing their movement from books, photographs, video and rumor. It felt at times as if he were dancing with ghosts.
After that initial exploration, I decided to open the project up to a larger group. Since we relied upon archival films in the reconstruction process, the creation of a new video work felt like the natural next step, and MONUMENT was born.
How long did MONUMENT take to film? How long was post-production?
We spent a three-week residency in Hudson, NY dancing, filming, and living in a 1930’s former Elk’s Lodge.
If this is your first dance for film production, what are a few things you learned about making a dance for film that surprised you? If this is not your first dance for film production, what are a few things that you are continually trying to refine or learn as you have sought to work thru this medium of dance and film together?
This was not my first dance film, but what made this project unique was the truly collaborative nature of its creation. Not only were the dancers integral to the creation of the characters and movement, but the lines between director, choreographer and videographer were also blurred. You may notice that Zia Anger, Tobin Del Cuore and myself are all credited equally. Once we were finished, it didn’t make sense to differentiate our roles.
What is interesting or intriguing to you about dance for film vs. dance for stage? Or, if you are coming from a film background and working with dance is a more new medium for you, what drew you to wanting to capture and work with dance?
I am not the kind of choreographer who likes to sit at the side of the room and watch. I like to get close to the action. I was drawn to dance staged for the camera because it lets you play with proximity and immediacy.
Are there any projects, dance film or otherwise, that you are working on currently that you would like to share with our audience?
I am currently developing a Rip Van Windle inspired Nutcracker story.