Independent Voices

An intimate and interactive presentation including dance performances, visual art displays, new music, video installation, film, theatre, and engaging activities for the audience.

May 18, 19, and 20, 2006

Multimedia Collaboration Presented at the Emma Eccles Jones Conservatory, Westminster College.

It was with great enthusiasm that we presented Independent Voices, an intimate and interactive presentation including dance performances, visual art displays, new music, video installation, film, theatre, and engaging activities for the audience. The evening offered a delightful feast for the senses as the audience moved through the space and experienced a diverse display of art. All contributing artists were in attendance.

The Artists

Independent Voices features a medley of amazingly talented and diverse artists including Andy Hayes, Michael Moonbird, Rosalind Newmark, Anne Watson, Stephen Koester, Ellen Bromberg, Mary Johnston-Coursey, Tristan Moore, Ann Boyd/Alison Halstead/Stephanie Nelson, Natasha Washington, Libby Davis, Nicholas Cendese, and Greg Kono.

Gregory Kono

I enjoy creating functional works. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than seeing something I built perform the way it was meant to. Kite making is an art form that I recently began pursuing. Flying the kite is the final process to my art. I’ve heard that a kite does not have a soul until it has been flown at least once. As a Japanese American I choose to explore the culture and materials used by my ancestors. Bamboo and washi (Japanese handmade paper) are materials that I often use, which are excellent materials for making kites and have been used for centuries making kites in Japan due to their strength and light weight.

My approach to kite making is to unify all parts of the kite in harmony. I pay as much attention to the framework (bamboo) as I do the skin (washi) when building my kites. I strive to make the back of my kites just as aesthetically pleasing as the front. In flight the sun backlights the kite highlighting the framework through the skin. The challenge for me is to not overbuild the frame to the point where it will not perform, yet have enough substance to hold its shape in flight. For color I prefer to use fabric dyes, inks and watercolors to reinforce the transparent qualities that I seek. Unryu, Japanese for “dragon cloud paper”, is one of my favorite papers to use because of its unique characteristic of having long strands of Mullberry fibers running thoughout the sheet.

I base many of my themes on simple objects from my past youth. Fruits and vegetables, toys, comics, animals and fishing lures are some of the images incorporated into several of my current works. I am also inspired by the anime films of Hayao Miyazaki, especially; Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky and Porco Rosso. I enjoy them because of their vibrant use of color, highly detailed renditions of scenes, characters and stories about flights of fantasy. It is my hope to lure my audience from the mundane world and recapture the spirit of childhood. www.konodesign.com

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Tristan Moore

Tristan Moore is an electronic composer and improvisational pianist with roots in the world of modern dance. He is resident composer with the University of Utah Children’s Dance Theatre, for whom he has developed several evening-length musical scores (A Blue So Blue, Pockets, The Three Questions, Sense Pass King, Crumb & the Pirates) that combine electronic programming with acoustic performance. He is an accompanist with the University of Utah Department of Modern Dance, the Virginia Tanner Dance Studio, and the First Unitarian Church Chancel Choir. Tristan composes, performs, and records music for creative productions that range from site-specific choreographic works to juggling acts. He also provides live piano and electronic ambience for special events. You can explore Tristan’s creations at www.tristanmoore.com.

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Michael Moonbird

Michael’s diversity as a visual artist includes a wide range of approaches from realism to neo-expressionism and primitive. Many of Michael’s art images are a display of childlike energy and creative whimsy. “Bad Dog” is a childlike image in Moonbird’s own personal art that represents marginalized segments of society. He uses the dog image to express ideas about contemporary culture.

Moonbird and his partner Victoria Lyons are Co-Directors and Co-Founders of Bad Dog Rediscovers America, a local nonprofit that mentors youth through the creative arts. His approach to teaching art is a playful, discovery process where he encourages limitless thinking within the confines of the physical limitations of space and materials. Michael is passionate about involving children in the public art process. The Bad Dog TRAX Station is a legacy piece successfully integrating the raw talents of children with professional experience.

Moonbird was educated in drawing, painting, and creative writing at the University of Utah. In 1998 Moonbird was recipient of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the State of Utah from the Small Business Association. In 2001, Moonbird and Lyons were co-recipients of the Salt Lake City Mayor Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts.

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Ann Boyd, Alison Halstead, and Stephanie Nelson

Ann, Alison and Stephanie have worked together for many years primarily on theatrical productions. This is their first original work together.

Ann Boyd is a Chicago choreographer, director, performer and teacher, and the mother of two girls. Ann teaches for Columbia College and she is currently working her way through the MFA program at the Art Institute of Chicago. “It is not easy to carve out a space to create from our guts, to experiment and push beyond what we have come to know ‘works.’ In creating this piece, Amy asked me to work in a way that felt new or scary or surprising. This has been both challenging and liberating. I came to our first rehearsal with a theme; the mundane and the sublime in our lives. We challenged ourselves to work simply and honestly; responding to the moment, our feelings and what felt true to us. It is our hope that the ideas, pain and love we uncovered in our process is provocative for the audience, but all we can be certain of is that the opportunity Brolly Arts provided has enriched us as artists and people.”

Alison Halstead has had the pleasure of collaborating with Ann and Stephanie on many projects over many years. Alison was Raganeau in Redmoon and Court Theatre’s co-production of Cyrano and was in No Place Like Home at the Steppenwolf Studio. In Running With Scissors, she created an original solo piece, The Invisible Man, which was performed as part of the Scissors New Works in Progress (Snips) Performance Series. She was a part of Redmoon Theater’s Jeff Awarded Unbinding Isaac and has choreographed and performed in a number of the theater’s popular Halloween Pageants. Alison has also worked with Lifeline Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Bailiwick, Black Ensemble, Chicago Shakespeare, Court, Greenhouse Lab, Next, Organic/Organic Greenhouse, Victory Gardens and has been a part of the Stories on Stage series at the Museum of Contemporary Art for WBEZ radio.

Stephanie Nelson is a Chicago-based scenic designer who has had the pleasure of collaborating with Ms Boyd and Halsted off and on for the past 10 years. Other credits include sets and costumes for Teatre Rozmaitosci’s Macbeth (Warsaw, Poland) and Teatre Wielki’s production of the opera Cosi Fan Tutti (Poznan, Poland) as well as designing sets for Steppenwolf Theater’s No Place Like Home, World Set Free, The Bluest Eye and The Water Engine (Chicago), Signature Theater’s Yamaya’s Belly and 10 Unknowns (Arlington,Virginia), Redmoon Theater Company’s Cyrano, Unbinding Isaac (Jeff Citation) and Salao, and co-directed with Ann Boyd the 2001 Winter Pageant and 1999 Hallow’s Eve Fire Installation as well as for Richard Maxwell’s / NYC Player’s Boxing 2000, Caveman, and Good Samaritans, Indiana Repertory’s Agnes of God, A Red Orchid Theater’s The Physicists, The Persecution of Arnold Petch, and The Cut (1999 Jeff Design Award), Seannachai’s Marked Tree (2000 After Dark Design Award), and Tosca with CCTD. Stephanie has also co-designed the permanent Design for Living exhibit at the Ten Chimneys Foundation in Wisconsin, and the Swedish Garden exhibit at the Swedish American Museum in Chicago.

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Steven Koester

Stephen Koester is an Associate Professor in the Department of Modern Dance at the University of Utah. He was formerly Co-Artistic Director of Creach/Koester, a dance company based in New York City that toured throughout the US, Canada and Europe. With partner Terry Creach, Stephen received five consecutive choreographic fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts plus a choreographic fellowship from the New York State Foundation for the Arts. Creach and Koester received the Bonnie Bird North American Choreographic Award along with extensive additional choreographic/company support. In the Department, Stephen regularly choreographs and teaches improvisation, composition, modern technique and graduate seminars. He is also the Director of Graduate Studies. In 2002, Stephen received the College of Fine Arts Faculty Excellence Award for creative research. Outside of the Department, Stephen continues to teach nationally and internationally, and also choreograph for dance companies including the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company and Dance Forum Taipei. Last year he was a winner, along with Molissa Fenly, of Repertory Dance Theatre’s National “Sense of Place” Choreographic Competition. Stephen was recently awarded a Utah Arts Council Independent Artists Project Grant for continued choreography that will result in a full concert of his work, May 2007.

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Andy Hayes

My propensity to scavenge unabashedly probably stems from my childhood trips into the desert with my family. I loved to find the purple bottle, the body part from an old china doll, or the ubiquitous metal cast-off. I heartily enjoy kicking around in an old dump to this day. From an early age, I admired things hand-made in some other time and place, such as a wickedly smooth San Ildefonso pot. I learned how to make patterns from my doll and sew clothing. I always wanted to figure out how things were made.

As a mother, I have used art to explore potent interests, from poetry to ancient Egypt, with my children and with their classmates at school. We have looked into the cultural and historical origins of art. Lots of relevant fieldtrips have taken place, like the one to gather dry cow pies for firing our hand built pots, or to the salvage yard with 30 fifth graders.

The materiality of old stuff appeals to me – its wear and tear, its mysterious past. What I really love is that the things I like to use are those things that somebody decided were of no use anymore and threw away. My art-making is an organic process in which the random constraints of the object are placed on me as the artist. The object is a contributor and needs to be met half way. I don’t care what the object was really used for, although if we have clues about its previous life, all the better; my role is to take it from where our histories converge. Adding to the “junk,” I like to use clay, paint, fabric, wire and papermache. It is a transformative process that changes me and the object and we end up with a small nugget of life experience, distilled in material form.

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Anne Watson

A native of Salt Lake City, I studied art at Smith College and received my MFA from New York University. I studied art in Venice, Italy, while living there for two summers. I have shown my work in New York, Italy, Massachusetts and Utah and I have pieces in public and private collections in the U.S. and Italy. I lived in NYC for 18 years where I worked as a journalist and then a producer/director of documentary films for broadcast on public and cable television. For the past four years in SL, I have been employed part-time as the Executive Director of the Marriner S. Eccles Foundation.

I work as an installation artist in painting, drawing, sculpture, video and writing. The work I am creating for this project, titled “Shroud,” is about mourning and will be presented as an installation video piece. hawatson@mindspring.com

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Jill Schinberg

Jill Schinberg is a rehearsal director, educator and dancer who makes a living as a freelance grant-writer in New York City. Jill holds a BA from the University of Iowa in Dance and Spanish and an MFA from the University of Utah in Modern Dance.

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Mary Johnston-Coursey

Born in California, Mary Johnston-Coursey moved to Salt Lake to pursue her Masters at the University of Utah. After teaching at Utah State University, she moved to Chicago, where she taught at the Dance Center of Columbia College and MoMing Dance and Arts Center. During this time, Mary danced with Jan Erkert and Shirley Mordine, among others. In 1991, Chicago recognized her performing talent with the Ruth Page Dancer of the Year Award. Mary saw performing as food for her choreographic appetite, helping her to understand from the inside how to create work. She choreographed constantly, always searching for ways to challenge her own working process. While in Chicago, Mary helped develop the Choreosampler series and the Choreofeedback Sessions at MoMing Dance and Arts Center, and the Choreographic Mentoring Project at Columbia College. Once back in Salt Lake City, Mary co-founded the Choreographers’ Lab at Snowbird, and became a facilitator for Fieldwork (a system of feedback in a performance workshop setting). She also ran her own company for several years, and taught at the University of Utah. Currently, she is involved in the community on many levels besides dance: she performs with Ripple Tales, a storytelling/dancing musical duo which integrates audience participation into the story; she sings with Stonecircle, a Celtic fusion band; she teaches art to children; she teaches yoga; and she spends time with her husband and two girls.

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Ellen Bromberg

Ellen Bromberg, a 2006 Guggenheim Fellow, has been creating dances for over 30 years. Her work has been funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Soros Foundation, and the Arizona Commission on the Arts, among others. Awards include two Bay Area Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, a Bonnie Bird North American Choreography Award, and a PEW/UCLA National Dance Media Fellowship. Her video works have been broadcast nationally on PBS and have also been screened at national and international dance film festivals. Currently an Associate Professor at the University of Utah’s Department of Modern Dance, she is the founding director of the International Dance for the Camera Festival.

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Natosha Washington

Natosha Washington is a Georgia peach that came to the University of Utah to get her BFA in modern dance, which she received in May 2004. Before graduating from the University, Natosha received her Associates Degree from Ricks College and attended school at Utah Valley State College. While at the University of Utah, Natosha had the honor of representing the University at the American College Dance Festival Nationals held at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Natosha is continually choreographing as Co-Artistic Director of RawMoves with Nicholas Cendese and is teaching, choreographing, and dancing in Salt Lake schools throughout the year.

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Nicholas Cendese

Nicholas Cendese was born and raised in Salt Lake City. He graduated from the University of Utah’s Department of Modern Dance with a BFA in 2004. Nicholas danced with Children’s Dance Theater until graduation from high school, after which he received the Elizabeth R. Hayes dance scholarship. He was also chosen as the Outstanding Senior in the College of Fine Arts. In 2002, Nicholas joined Repertory Dance Theatre and has been dancing with them for four years. Since 2004, Nicholas has been Co-Artistic Director of RawMoves with the amazing Natosha Washington.

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Roz Newmark

Roz Newmark has been an active performing and visual artist for two decades. She has taught and performed throughout the United States. She holds a B.A. in dance and photography, studied at Rosella Hightower’s Le Center De Danse in France and has a M.F.A. from the University of Utah in choreography. She has combined various media with dance, ranging from neon sculpture to film. Her photographic work has been exhibited throughout the country including the Ansel Adams gallery in California. Currently, Ms. Newmark teaches dance, yoga, photography, plays fiddle and sings with various string bands and operates as an independent artist in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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Libby Davis

I began my artistic endeavors at a very young age. Between the time I was four and six, I had begun drawing maps and building 3d paper dioramas. As I grew, I made my father play school, where the main subjects were art, science, and spelling. In high school I learned continued visual arts, particularly painting. I spent a year at the University of Utah and then transferred to The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University, where I earned a BFA in 2004. I work particularly in sculpture and video. I am now learning to teach visual arts to children with Bad Dog Rediscovers America. It has been wonderful to work with Natosha in this Moveable Feast and consider how to combine my sculpture with performance for the first time.