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Students Reflect on Reconciliation

In partnership with BAM’s Education Department, this summer’s residency program gave 13 high school students the opportunity to work with both collaborating choreographers to gain a unique perspective of facilitating cultural diplomacy through dance. For two weeks in August, students immersed themselves in the meaning of ‘dance diplomacy’ by watching an open rehearsal from the Bates Dance Festival, taking dance workshops with choreographers Korhan Başaran and David Dorfman, and attending the culminating performance of “Unsettled” at the BAM Fisher.

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Photo: Piotr Redlinski

“Reconciliation is more than just an agreement between two countries—it starts with normal people,” David Dorfman explained to students at the closing night performance. After classroom and workshop sessions with the artists, this made all the learning make sense.

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Photo: Piotr Redlinski

Watching a live stream of the open rehearsal at the Bates Dance Festival synthesized the academic with personal reflections through discussion to help viewers gain a better understanding of the artistic process. Then, the live stream Q&A session gave students the opportunity to speak directly with the choreographers about their collaboration and styles of dance behind the movement, as well as how musicians crafted the soundtrack to the piece. This prompted further discussion among the group about the piece’s background and historical context involving the complexities of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey. Can dance really be used as a healing process?

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Korhan and David Answer your Livestream Questions

As we wrap up this year’s residency and get ready for our next tour this fall (with Mark Morris Dance Group), Korhan Basaran and David Dorfman fill in some of the unanswered questions asked by our Livestream viewers after the August 16th matinee performance of “Unsettled” at BAM Fishman Space.

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Photo: Piotr Redlinski

Q from Lily Zakharenko (Yerevan, Armenia): In your choreographic statement do you use excerpts from your life?

DD: Hi Lily! I really enjoy utilizing feelings and experiences from our lives in our work. What is usually seen on stage in the end, is an exaggerated version of life – something that will work theatrically and will hopefully encourage audience members to think about their own lives. I don’t want to merely put real-life moments on stage as a way to purge something in one’s life or to just be confessional. The material presented must have a reason to be in the evening of dance. It must say something important about the way we all treat each other.

KB: Hi Lily…How one artist survives this world is how one stands, therefore how one breathes, loves, tries, falls, struggles, stands back up -hopefully- stronger.. I see no other way. I am who I am and my work is simply how I see the world, how I react to the world through my mind and heart. Transformation. Whether being aware or not, throughout life, we go through a transformation. I feel from the beginning of a performance to the end, the performers are not the same people anymore. The momentary choices we make within the same piece that is performed every night, is what keeps the work alive, real and what takes the audience members to a real journey with us. With such a live form of art, I think it’s unfair to expect the same show to happen every night. So you simply need to be available to go on a journey and allow the experience to embody physically and spiritually, whether you are in it as a performer or witnessing it as an observer. And then it’s a new beginning…

Q from Ayberk Esen (Germany): First of all congratulations everybody for their work! I would like to hear a little bit from the dancers about their cultural and artistic exchange experiences during the process with a few words if it’s possible please…Thank you DanceMotion, greetings from Cologne/Germany !

A from Asli Sumer, dancer with Korhan Basaran Company: su anda kendi calisma alanima dondugumde esasinda tum yasadigim surecin “Bates Dance Festival + DanceMotionUSA BAM organization ” buyuk bilgi, kultur acilimi yaptigina sahit oluyorum kendim de;) …

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The collaborative piece between Turkish, Armenian and American dancers with David Dorfman Dance and Korhan Basaran Company premiered at BAM Aug. 14 to rave reviews. “Unsettled” brought the dancers’ hard work at Bates Dance Festival to the BAM Fishman Space and included a special live broadcast performance to audiences at the Pera Muzesi-Museum in Istanbul and around the world. In case you missed it, you can still watch the full live-streamed performance here: http://bit.ly/1oOZKwp.

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FYI New York dancers! @korhanbasaran is teaching classes this week: today at Peridance 2:30pm and Friday at Mark Morris 10am. Get on out!

FYI New York dancers! @korhanbasaran is teaching classes this week: today at Peridance 2:30pm and Friday at Mark Morris 10am. Get on out!

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Korhan and company chilling at BAM. Regram from @korhanbasaran. The standby line (good chances for tix!) starts right where they’re sitting.

Korhan and company chilling at BAM. Regram from @korhanbasaran. The standby line (good chances for tix!) starts right where they’re sitting.

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On the left, the Pera Museum in Istanbul. On the right, BAM Fisher @bam_brooklyn. We’re broadcasting worldwide tomorrow at 1pm USA EST / 8pm Istanbul / 9pm Yerevan. Tune in!

On the left, the Pera Museum in Istanbul. On the right, BAM Fisher @bam_brooklyn. We’re broadcasting worldwide tomorrow at 1pm USA EST / 8pm Istanbul / 9pm Yerevan. Tune in!

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Meet the Dancers

For four weeks, these artists have been working, living, and creating together.  From Turkey, Armenia, and throughout the US, learn about the diverse voices contributing to this project:

Korhan Başaran (Istanbul, Turkey)

"A contemporary artist is responsible for being aware of what has been accomplished before, what is being experienced at the moment and therefore bringing out what the next step in the arts should be, which directly affects where humanity goes. The more inspiring you become as an artist, the more you will affect the peace and beauty humanity will be able to embrace." - from “Das Manifest”

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Korhan is artistic director of the interdisciplinary Korhan Başaran Company.  After a three-year period studying and creating in New York City, he returned to Istanbul and produced his first full work there in 2008. He has always been interested in bringing cultures together, creating unity from different human voices. He is proud to have premiered 2nd RAu with his international company, a draft work for the “Fearless” project - a response to an incident in the Gezi protests, slated to premiere in spring 2015. 

David Dorfman (New York & Connecticut, USA)

David Dorfman, artistic director of DDD since 1985, has been professor of dance, and now chair, at Connecticut College since 2004. For nearly three decades David Dorfman Dance has toured the US and the world, bringing its stunning athleticism and unshakeable heart everywhere from the far corners of Europe to the barrios of South America.  His works vary from the personal to the socially relevant, but Dorfman’s signature style is always present, complete with evocative text, dynamic movement, and pulsating undertones.

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Evrim Akyay (Istanbul, Turkey)

Evrim started dancing in his secondary school years in traditional Turkish folk dance. In 2002, he met Korhan Başaran and began working on modern and contemporary techniques. He is also one of the founding members of the Zeynep Tanbay Dance Project. In 2008, Evrim received a scholarship from the Martha Graham School to attended the summer intensive program. He also danced with the Jerusalem Dance Theater in Tel Aviv for two seasons, directed by Lior Lev. Akyay has danced in almost all of Korhan Başaran’s work.  Watch him in “Heva”, an earlier piece by Korhan.

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Davit Grigoryan (Yerevan, Armenia)

Davit started dancing when he was five years old. In 2006, he entered Yerevan State Choreographic College in the Department of Armenian Dances and entered the Song and Dance State Ensemble. In 2009, he was drafted as a dancer into the army. After completing military service, he took part in So You Think You Can Dance 2: Armenia (WATCH THE VIDEO) and finished in the top 10. He now dances with Arina Araratyan’s Dance Theatre, at the Ararat Restaurant Complex in the Armenian National Show, and at the National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet. 

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Raja Feather Kelly (Brooklyn, NY)

Raja is a company member with David Dorfman Dance as well as Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Groupzoe | juniper (SEA), RaceDance, Squint Productions (BE), and PEARSONWIDRIG Dance Theater. Kelly created the feath3r theory in 2009 to present his own performance projects, and holds a BA with honors in Dance and English from Connecticut College, where he first connected with David.

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Some of our residency dancers hosted a workshop at the Turkish Cultural Center in Queens, NY on Tuesday.

Here, Evrim of Korhan Basaran Company and Armenian guest dancer Karen teach steps and speak about their collaboration on this new work. 

Photos: Piotr Redlinski

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