>Olives, Robots & Mythbusters: A workshop with Ann Carlson

>”¸¸.•**•♪♫•**•.¸¸¸¸.•**•♪♫•**•.¸¸Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhaaaa oooooohhhh haaaaaa hooooooo.no nieh, Naha…!”

It’s a gray Monday afternoon in May. Walking by our studio in Oakland you would think the local chorus or theater group is rehearsing, but it’s the AXIS dancers standing in a circle, using their vocal cords. Ann Carlson get’s sounds out of the dancers I haven’t heard before.


A moment later she get’s them to write postcards – dancing postcards that is, about the things they love. Crawling on the floor they share their passion for olives, tulle, squeakily blue deflated dinosaur balloons, quad-rugby, honeysuckle, food (especially carbs, protein & cheese!), laughing, and their love for bikram yoga even though “the room smells like a cat box”.

After a 36-minute vocal exercise, basically replicating a sound and moving it along in the circle, Ann explains: “I think this is a great performance exercise. It’s a lot about being able to surrender and being wacky. Doing this for a long stretch of time allows you to listen more closely and to relax into the illogic of it.”

After a short break Ann get’s the dancers seated in a line (even though she hates lines)

and starts directing them: a base, intertwined with heavy breathing, than some mumbling & yelping interjected:


“I really want to try and make a piece one day with a vocal score Ann starts and before we know it, the workshop ends with a discussion about robots, mythbusters, aliens, and mermaids. Maybe they will all end up in a piece one day…


About Ann Carlson:
In 2004 Ann choreographed “Flesh” for AXIS. In this piece Choreographer Ann Carlson takes her inspiration from music by Meredith Monk and a 1909 futuristic story by E.M. Forster concerning humanity living underground in a mechanized complex, a young man longing to get free. “Flesh” was co-commissioned by the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, UC Riverside Presents and UC Santa Barbara Arts & Lectures. To see an excerpt click here.
Ann Carlson is a dancer, choreographer, and performance artist. She creates “dances that reflect and investigate the metaphor of the everyday” and are coauthored by the performers, who have included non-dancers, such as lawyers, doctors, and nuns. With a background in visual and performance art, Carlson often shows her work in unconventional dance sites, including museums, trains, and barnyards.


About AXIS Dance Company

AXIS is one of the world’s most innovative ensembles of performers with and without disabilities. Here you get a behind-the-scenes look into our world and stay up to date with AXIS. www.axisdance.org
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