Water Mill, New York
Join choreographer Christopher Williams, composer Gregory Spears, and costume designer Andrew Jordan as they offer an informal glimpse into the early process of creating their latest work for live music and dance at Watermill. Inspired by ancient themes of the “mythic hero’s journey” found in the faerie legends, folklore, and earliest literature of the Insular Celtic cultures, the work’s libretto bears witness to the initiation rites of a central hero character grappling with queer identity via bouts with supernatural agency, otherworldly passage, and transformation. Driven by detailed choreographic, musical, visual, and poetic sequences, the work interweaves dance, music, and visual design to define a ritualistic arena in which lost mythology is embodied via contemporary performance. Presentations of dance etudes, musical themes, and costume designs from the work-in-progress will be accompanied by discussions about the work’s research, concept, and design. A conversation with the audience will follow.
Christopher Williams, hailed as "one of the most exciting choreographic voices out there" in The New York Times, and "the downtown prodigy" in The New Yorker, is a choreographer, dancer, and puppeteer who has been devoted to crafting and performing choreographic works since 1999. His pieces have been presented at many New York City venues including Dance Theater Workshop, City Center, Danspace Project, P.S. 122, La Mama, the 92nd Street Y, and Dance New Amsterdam, among others, and have toured nationally to Kalamazoo, Michigan, and internationally to Bogotá, Colombia. He has held artistic residencies at Movement Research, Joyce SoHo, Dance New Amsterdam, Djerassi, White Oak Plantation, Yaddo, The Yard, and the Liguria Study Center for Arts & Humanities in Bogliasco, Italy. He has received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and has received multiple grants from the O'Donnell-Green Music & Dance Foundation, the Greenwall Foundation, and the Jim Henson Foundation. In 2005, he received a New York Dance & Performance “Bessie” Award for his work Ursula and the 11,000 Virgins. He graduated from Sarah Lawrence College and the École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris, and has since performed for Tere O’Connor Dance, Douglas Dunn & Dancers, John Kelly, Yoshiko Chuma & the School of Hard Knocks, Rebecca Lazier's TERRAIN, Sally Silvers, Jon Kinzel, and Yvonne Meier, among others, as well as for puppetry artists Basil Twist and Dan Hurlin. He also serves on Danspace Project’s Artist Advisory Board.
Gregory Spears writes instrumental and vocal music that blends together stylistic aspects of romanticism, minimalism, and early music. His music has been performed by the American Composers Orchestra, the New York Youth Symphony, the JACK Quartet, Center City Opera, the NOW Ensemble, Present Music Ensemble, So Percussion, and the Eighth Blackbird Ensemble. His opera Paul’s Case, developed by American Opera Projects’ Composers and the Voice Program, was noted for its “solid dramatic timing, compassionate characterizations, and huge potential” (Philadelphia Inquirer - David Patrick Stearns’ Best in Classical Music for 2009). Current projects include a one-act chamber opera commissioned by Houston Grand Opera’s HGOco with a libretto by Farnoosh Moshiri and an evening-length opera based on the novel Fellow Travelers being written in collaboration director Kevin Newbury and writer Greg Pierce. New Amsterdam Records will release a recording of his Requiem in November 2011.
Andrew Jordan is a visual artist working in various media including sculpture, performance, fashion, costume design, and photography. Focusing recently on scenic and costume design, Andrew has designed for various projects in theatre, dance, film, fashion, and performance art with critically acclaimed choreographers Christopher Williams, Glen Rumsey, Cori Olinghouse, and Douglas Dunn, designers David Quinn and Kristin Costa, and film-maker Mike Olenick. Andrew also works with Izquierdo Studio, a costume-design and prop shop specializing in sculptural costume work, where he has completed projects for The Metropolitan Opera, Broadway, Marc Jacobs, Wes Craven, Madonna, Heidi Klum, Ralph Lauren, and Julie Taymor, among others. Andrew experiments with the interplay between various art forms driven by his interest in the relationship of sculpture, installation, and puppetry to the movement of the human body. He received his MFA with an emphasis in sculpture form the Cranbrook Academy of Art and his BFA in Fine Arts where he minored in Media Studies from the Columbus College of Art and Design.
When & Where
The Watermill Center
The Watermill Center, operated by the Byrd Hoffman Water Mill Foundation, is a laboratory for performance founded by Robert Wilson as a unique environment for young and emerging artists from around the world to explore new ideas.
Watermill draws inspiration from all the arts and cultures as well as from social, human and natural sciences.
Watermill is a global community of artists. Living and working together among the extensive collection of art and artifacts lies at the heart of the Watermill experience.
Watermill is a haven for the next generations of artists, supporting their work among a network of international institutions and venues that embrace new interdisciplinary approaches.