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 Post subject: Carol Brown Dances
PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2002 2:16 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19616
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
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press release

Following the success of Machine for Living at GDA last year, Dance Umbrella presents a double bill from Carol Brown in promenade at The Place.

Nerve sites the dance within an architectural structure, a waveform asphalt ramp which tips the two dancers into unexpected points of contact. Choreographer Carol Brown and architect Stewart Dodd, together with lighting designer Michael Mannion, have created an intense and sensual duet that confronts issues of metropolitan habitation to a soundscape of urban textures from composer Russell Scoones.

The programme is completed by a showing of the film The Idea of Sea by Tobin Rothlein and Carol Brown, shot on location in Philadelphia and Atlantic City.

Limited Capacity – early booking advised.

Carol Brown will join the panel at this year’s Dance UK discussion.

In 1999 Carol Brown was the winner of a Jerwood Choreography
Award which supported the initial creation of Nerve.
“startling and memorable” Blueprint Magazine

<small>[ 09-05-2002, 16:16: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

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 Post subject: Re: Carol Brown Dances
PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2002 6:55 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 63
by Donald Hutera

Carol Brown has got her nerve. Literally, as that’s the name of the work this brainy, London-based dancer-choreographer will present in Umbrella 2002. A performance installation with no fixed seating, it explores what its maker calls “the city in the body” via a duet staged on an undulating ramp. “It’s like a runway or road which gives a directional flow to the choreography,” she elaborates, “like the constancy of traffic.” The facility with which Brown trots out such phrases as “urban wave forms” and “riding the city - like skateboarders do” indicates how at home she is with what she’s created. She’d better be, given that she’s also in it. She doesn’t make it easy on herself. In Nerve, Brown says, “two people [her and Grant McLay] meet and animate each other, crash and burn out.

It’s more about states of being and becoming than something happening in a narrative sense. It considers the rub of the city on our corporeality, and how we’re
shaped by the built environments and spatial textures we inhabit. We’re
performing on a moulded asphalt platform under a welded mesh canopy. It feels gritty, because of the ferocity of the partnering and the
roughness of the floor scraping and abrading our skins.
But it doesn’t really hurt.”

Conceptually, and in the details of its production, Nerve fascinates. The piece grew out of Shelf Life, a four-hour performance installation Brown and Esther Rolinson devised for gallery environments. That experience encouraged Brown to seek further possibilities for performance in multi-dimensional settings because “they create different kinds of relationships between performers and spectators.”

A Jerwood Choreography Award enabled Brown to engage in period of research and development with architect Stewart Dodd, of Satellite Design. “I’ve been inspired by the work of contemporary architects such as Zaha Hadid [co-creator of Metapolis, the Charleroi Danses/Plan K production that is also in Umbrella 2002], Greg Lynne and Daniel Libeskind. They all ask questions in relation to cities, bodies and perspectival vision. In particular how we model, shape, carve and incorporate space - and how it informs our movement identity.”

A week of brainstorming with Dodd led to the dramaturgical notion of two strangers in a pliable city. “I was also interested in a duet with a male,” Brown continues, “which didn’t assume a he-she duality, but somehow creates a sense of tension beyond gender.” She’s very good at specifics. “The idea of moving an inert body across an asphalt ramp came out of the issue of the body as something that can be taken hold of and prodded, pushed and compressed by the urban fabric.”

The contribution of Brown’s regular collaborator, lighting designer Michael Mannion, is crucial. Rather than rely on the conventions of theatrical lighting, his work is built into Dodd’s structure. “Lighting cuts through in sharp, white slices from underneath the ramp and down through the mesh,” Brown says, “dissecting the movement.” She also admires Russell Scoones’ sound design, featuring aural samples of street life in Rome, Philadelphia and London.

Nerve is further supported by Brown’s own hallucinatory, cut-and-paste text, which post-dates the choreography. Fragments of two intersecting stories - one about a sleeping volcanologist, the other about a drugged-out homeless girl - were induced by the inert bodies (whether sleeping, drugged, drunk or derelict) Brown spotted on the street, in public transport systems or aboard long-haul flights. She also drew upon the French film Les Amants du Pont Neuf, a wayward, odd-couple grand romance featuring a heroine who is gradually losing her sight.

Nerve is accompanied by the video dance work The Idea of the Sea. Made in Philadelphia with Tobin Rothlein, it charts a lone woman’s nocturnal journey “from the belly of the city to the sea” and contrasts the noise and lights of Atlantic City’s casino culture with the relative quiet of the beach.

“The challenge for contemporary art,” Brown believes, “is to create new forms which don’t rely upon the assumptions of the past.” What’s next for her- “A kind of choreography of psycho-geographies.” Working with a photographer and videographer she’ll be “mapping inner and outer body space.” The Observatory premieres in December at Monaco’s Dance on Screen festival.

Brown may have nerve in reserve, but just what keeps her going-“Momentum. Caffeine. Yoga. Curiosity. Desire.”
TICKETS: 020 7387 0031

This interview was posted by Stuart Sweeney on behalf of Donald Hutera and first appeared in Dance Umbrella News.

Donald Hutera writes regularly on dance and arts for The Times, Evening Standard, Time Out, Dance Europe, Dance Magazine (US) and Dance Now. He is co-author, with Allen Robertson, of The Dance Handbook.

Join Dance Umbrella's mailing list to receive future editions of Dance Umbrella News.
Call: 020 8741 5881

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 Post subject: Re: Carol Brown Dances
PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2002 6:32 am 

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19616
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Nerve/ The Idea of Sea
By Judith Mackrell in The Guardian

Asphalt - gritty, resistant, dirty - is not a natural surface for dance. Almost the first thing you notice about the two dancers in Carol Brown's latest work is the grimy sticking plaster that binds their feet and wrists. But Nerve is not about theatrical dance aesthetics; it is more an attempt to bring the street to the stage. Hence the long strip of asphalt flooring, buckled into three uneven folds at one end, upon which Brown and her partner Grant McLay perform their duet.
The dance is preceded by a short, jerky film, also made by Brown, of a woman voyaging out from the inner city to the empty horizons of the sea. Images jostle, implode and unravel into dazed slow motion as the woman experiences that mix of casual contact and entranced solitude that defines city travel. When the lights open on Brown's live piece, these images persist.

click for more

<small>[ 10-02-2002, 08:33: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

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 Post subject: Re: Carol Brown Dances
PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2002 1:12 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 307
Carol Brown dances
The Place: Robin Howard Theatre
Tuesday 30/09/02
Mixed Programme

Carol Brown, the Jerwood Choreographic Award winner 2000, experiments with
other mediums of expression apart from pure performance dance and so the evening
begins with a short film ‘The Idea of the Sea”. Filmed in Philadelphia and Atlantic
City we follow a skateboarder, a lone woman and a lone man on their pass through
the city towards the sea. Although there are casual encounters with other people, like
on the tube for example the overall anonymity of the characters combined with the
hunting soundscape by Mimetic create an intense impression of loneliness that send
a shiver down my spine.

At first this feeling carries over into ‘Nerve’. Performed on a long strip of asphalt
with 3 uneven folds at one end the piece begins with a solo. Carol Brown stands
between 2 thin, intensely focused beams of light as her arms and upper body whirl
through light and shadow. The effect is a bit similar to the slow playing of a film
making the individual frames visible to the eye, the movement seems strangely
broken down into its parts. Eventually she moves along the strip of asphalt to meet
her partner Grant ;McLay. In the following duet they move as one, regardless of
whether they are dancing together or apart executing the same steps in perfect unison.
That combined with cleverly designed lightning and the powerful soundscape by
Russell Scoones which is driving and strangely calming at the same time makes for
a hypnotic experience. By the end of the piece I found myself so submerged in what
I had seen that it took me a moment to resurface into the present.

Carol Brown’s exploration of the city and the body never failed to engage and I hope
to see more of her work in the future. Although anything but easily digestible one
just cannot help being drawn into her world.

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