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Spark Movement Collective Presents

Stories Uplifted

Program Notes

We celebrate and honor the ancestral Lenape land where this performance takes place.

Our Story

PSYKLE. I (excerpt — section of Project: MEMORABILIA)

To live in a world that desires tactility means to live with the boundless pursuit of connection. A world that includes phantoms of imaginary figures once we sleep. At times, our experience with skin, flesh, and bone hinder our comprehension of the spirit. I wonder if our obsession with being knowledgeable is what dissolves our innate self. To forget our own sequential sensations is to be isolated from the images we wish to continue watching as though they are films. The moments that can feel to last for a lifetime only have but a fraction of the life we have yet to live. Will I remember them once I wake?

- Kar’mel A. W. Small

Choreographed by Kar’mel A. W. Small and Dancers

Performed by Beatriz Castro, Caleb Patterson, Kar’mel A. W. Small

Costumes by designer Run Tan Du

Music by James Blake & Braxton Cook

Special Thanks to Mike Esperanza, Kyra A. N. Ferguson, Damani Pompey, and Michelle Thompson Ulerich

Our Story

Not Yet Lost

“Even in darkness, it is possible to create light” - Elie Wiesel

This work speaks to the resilience of the Jewish people throughout history -- the enduring pursuit of hope in a fractured world. It is particularly inspired by the recent rise in anti-Semitism in the United States.

Choreographed and Performed by Jen Silver

Section 1 Music by Silverman Sound Studios with original text written/spoken by Jen Silver

Section 2 Music is Hatikvah (the song of hope) - a BBC radio recording from 1945, sung in Hebrew by Jewish people just liberated from the concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen in Germany. Hatikvah is now the Israeli national anthem.

Ciclo 2

“Beyond the edge of the world there’s a space where emptiness and substance neatly overlap, where past and future form a continuous, endless loop. And, hovering about, there are signs no one has ever read, chords no one has ever heard.” 

― Haruki Murakami 

Choreographed by Angelica Mondol Viaña

Performed by Melissa Galano and Jen Silver

Music by Xavier Muzik

Special thanks to Janice Rosario for your mentorship, Michelle Thompson Ulerich for your support during this process, and finally, to TJ Sclafani for collaborating with me during the first iteration and encouraging me to continue the loop. ∞∞∞∞

INTERMISSION

Mariposa

“Because that’s what’s funniest right? 

Not a circle

A staircase

That will end only when it’s not funny anymore

When I’m done hiding my crying behind laughter.

I am Dali

Placing my Petri dish

Dozing off with the key holstered loosely

In my grip.”

- Caleb Patterson

Choreographed by Caleb Patterson

Music by Johnny Butler

Performed by Caleb Patterson (11/13) and Mikaela Papasodero (11/14)

Side by Side

“Individually we are a drop but together we are an ocean.”

- Ryunosuke Satoro

Choreographed by Melissa Galano

Performed by Full Company

Music by Tom Misch and Carmody

Special thanks to my dear friend and mentor, Matt Dittes, Michelle for this opportunity, and my husband, Tim, for his support in all I do.

Armenian Voices

Choreographed by Michelle Thompson Ulerich

Music by JINJ (Sevana Tchakerian & Gor Tadevosyan)

Love “Perhaps you became so small, Armenia, so we could carry you in our hearts. Perhaps you changed into charred parchment so we would tremble lest you fall apart. Perhaps your handful of soil was meant as talisman, lesson, and exercise. Your name became the symbol, perhaps, for purification in a world of lies.”

- Sylvia Gaboudikain 

 

Performed by Mikaela Papasodero & Caleb Patterson

 

Longing “When I was a child, my parents told me, 'Back then, we were sea to sea Armenia.' But when I looked at the maps, I couldn’t see a great Armenia. I saw a little piece of land, a crumb of the Caucasus mountains…. Then I was told, our people were killed by the masses. Your great-grandparents barely survived. Why couldn’t I see this in history books? Was it possible they’ve lied?.... Was I to be ashamed for being Armenian or was I to be proud? Physically, I wasn’t in Armenia not then or today. But was Armenia in me?”

- Hasik 

 

Performed by Full Company

 

Rebirth “Our tree blossoms in Armenian. And in Armenian our songs console. No matter how indifferent our pose our blood flows as language flows. Our mountains rise Armenian mountains; we give them Armenian names. Let God save what remains of ours. Patience is our Armenian name.”

- Hamo Sahian

Performed by Full Company

 

Resilience “You kill us, we live longer. You limit us, we go further. You silence us, we roar like lions. Our weapons aren’t jets, guns, tanks and terrorists. They are creativity, culture, resilience and love.”

- Hasik

Performed by Full Company


Special thanks to my Armenian Family who have given me life, love, and resilience. This piece is dedicated to Ed & Elo Aslanian and my mother Stella. 

Our Story

Mai Ama em Goiás: The Morimoto Flow

The name Goiás comes from the name of an indigenous community. The original word seems to have been guaiá, a compound of gua e iá, meaning "the same person" or "people of the same origin.

Also based on the video game, Okami, this piece recreates the oral storytelling experience, a story of a generation passed down through word-of-mouth. 

Choreographed by  ~*~Daniel Morimoto~*~

Performed by Angelica Mondol Viaña as Amaterasu and Beatriz Castro, Jonathan Colafrancesco, Melissa Galano, Mikaela Papasodero, Caleb Patterson, Jen Silver, and Michelle Thompson Ulerich

Music by (in order of appearance) Satomi Saeki, Monsters of Shamisen, Michiyo Miyagi, and Wadaiko Matsuriza

Extra thank you to Hannah Garner, Jesse Obremski, my dear Spark family, my mom, and Henry. Thank you!!!

THANK YOU TO OUR CHOREOGRAPHIC MENTORS

Mike Esperanza & Damani Pompey for Kar’mel A. W. Small

Jessica Chen for Jen Silver

Jesse Obremski & Hannah Garner for Daniel Morimoto

Janice Rosario for Angelica Mondol Viaña

Mark Caserta for Caleb Patterson

Matt Dittes for Melisa Galano

Greg Dolbashian for Michelle Thompson Ulerich

 ARTISTIC TEAM

Artistic Director: Michelle Thompson Ulerich

Lighting Designer: Becky Nussbaum

Stage Manager: RJ Figueroa 

Learn more about the dancers and guest artists below.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

President: Toni Levi

Vice President: Katie Nemeth

Trustees: Kristel Kempin, Chelsea Koenig, Caleb Patterson (Dancer Rep), Stephanie Sirabian, Jasmin Vrban, Hannah Wojszynski

COMPANY BIOS
(CLICK IMAGE FOR FULL BIO)

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Michelle Thompson Ulerich

Artistic Director & Choreographer

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Beatriz Castro

Apprentice

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Jonathan Colafrancesco

Dancer

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Melissa Galano

Dancer & Choreographer

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Daniel Morimoto

Dancer & Choreographer

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Mikaela Papasodero

Dancer

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Caleb Patterson

Dancer & Choreographer

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Angelica Mondol Viaña

Dancer & Choreographer

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Jen Silver

Dancer & Choreographer

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Nayanika Vyas

Apprentice

GUEST ARTIST BIOS

Johnny Butler
Johnny Butler is a Brooklyn-based, Grammy-award winning saxophonist, recording artist, arranger, composer, dancer, and technologist. Over the years, he has performed, written, and recorded with many of his musical heroes, including Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder, Donald Fagen (Steely Dan), Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers, Gov’t Mule)  Wynton Marsalis, The Levon Helm Band, Tune-Yards, Joe Lally (Fugazi), Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, and Escaper, among others.

 

JINJ (Sevana Tchakerian & Gor Tadevosyan)
French rap and Armenian folk may seem like opposites on the musical spectrum, but for JINJ duo Sevana Tchakerian and Gor Tadevosyan, JINJ is the natural reflection of fusing their dual identities. JINJ was born out of the pair’s mission to harness music as a therapeutic medium to heal their shared homeland, fractured by war. Traveling across Armenia to lead workshops for refugees and soldiers, in the background Tchakerian and Tadevosyan got to work channeling trauma into a celebration of the resilience they saw radiating from their community. JINJ, meaning “serene” in Armenian, is a testament to that spirit as a guiding force in their music. The collaboration offers Sevana—a Paris-native vocalist and multi-instrumentalist known for her work with the alternative-folk band Collectif Medz Bazar—an avenue to combine incisive, hard-hitting lyrics with the melancholic, other-worldly tones traditional to her Armenian heritage. Her buoyant, boundless energy is tempered by guitarist and producer Gor, who grounds JINJ’s sound in a brooding undercurrent inherent to his upbringing in Vanadzor, the post-industrial creative capital of the Caucasus. 
Sourcing inspiration from majestic green mountains to the pulsing beat of the city, from liturgical chants to underground rap, in a nonconventional mixture of 808s and shepherd's flutes, JINJ is the rhythmic manifestation of the diversity of the Armenian landscape and culture.

Xavier Muzik 
Xavier Muzik is a composer out of Los Angeles, currently based in New York. He is pursuing his Master's Degree in Music Composition from The Mannes School of Music at The New School, where he studies with Jessie Montgomery. Xavier is also seeking a minor in Creative Community Development to empower communities of historically oppressed people to sustainably engage with the world through art and music on their own terms. As a Black man of mixed racial heritage, Xavier struggles with his relationship to his racial identity and how it intersects with his privilege and oppression. Both music and community engagement have enabled him to explore this relationship and independently define his racial identity. Xavier is learning to engage with the quality of his Blackness, as opposed to the quantity, enabling him a broad exploration of his identity divorced from the dark legacy of race as a function of biology.

Kar’mel Antonyo Wade Small
Raised in the South Bronx, Kar’mel Antonyo Wade Small began his dance training with American and International Ballroom. With this experience, he attended the prolific Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School— or “The Fame School” as known by some— to start his formal training in ballet, modern, and jazz. He later became a student of the Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase College, graduating with a BFA in Dance Performance and Composition. Kar’mel has performed works by Damani Pompey, Michelle Thompson Ulerich, Kayla Farrish, Ohad Naharin, Sidra Bell, Roderick George, Kevin Wynn, Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, Beatrice Capote, Eleo Pomare, Enrique Cruz DeJesus, Nathan Trice, Sarah Elgart, Kimberly Bartosik, and Jerome Robbins. Kar’mel has gone to perform in spaces such as Jacob’s Pillow, The Joyce, New York Live Arts, The Neuberger Museum of Art, Hearst Plaza (Lincoln Center), Central Park for NYC SummerStage, and in venues located at Washington, D.C. and Bermuda. He has also worked in collaboration with director Dean Irby for his version of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “The Brothers Size”— which featured Colby Hollman, Diata Coleman, and Thomas Walter Booker. Along with stage work, he has been featured in film and TV work including UNIVISION’s Despierta América, HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness, Diners Club International, TELFAR TV, and KAYE’s music video for “Neon God”. 
Currently working as a freelance artist (photography, writing, music, dance) he is cultivating material for his latest artistic project, Project: MEMORABILIA. A section of Project: MEMORABILIA— titled “PSYKLE. I”— will be performed at the Mark O’Donnell Theater on November 13th and 14th in part of Spark Movement Collective’s presentation of STORIES UPLIFTED and at Arts on Site on November 19th.

 

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