The poetry foundation website brings up 1250 poems with the subject “the body.” There are 1519 on the subject of “death.” I click on “the body” first. This feels obvious.
The undergird is an evening length dance performance premiering Sept 13-16 in the 2018 Fringe Festival at Icebox Project Space.
It’s a dance that explores memory, grief, and loss, and looks at how those things remain and persist in our bodies.
The undergird proposes that our imaginative space is also our physical space, and that we are much bigger than we think we are. We take up more space and time than our physical forms. By expanding our bodies, we’re discovering all these things inside of us: memories and people that live in our cellular memory.
Togetherness might not look the way we expect it to.
We are each other’s mediums.
Stemming from Meg Foley's seven year development of action is primary, a solo improvisational performance practice, The undergird (action is primary #5) uses the practice to make a performance about death and grief as bodily experiences.
Your first parent was a star. - Jeanette Winterson
The undergird began as a solo —speech that is a dance that is a speech— about mortality, birth, earth monuments, and the immediate, omnipresent body, alone, in congress, and all that it's not. The collective group project wraps group material from Togetherish (action is primary study #2) around the edges of the solo score to look at the choreography of being together and the choreography of groups, as we, the group members, simultaneously examine our own experiences of loss, closeness, and bodily change and see how they bump up or align with one another.
The work will premiere September 13, 2018 as one of the curated offerings in Philadelphia's 2018 Fringe Festival, presented by FringeArts in association with Icebox Project Space. Over six performances in the Festival, we'll engage in intimate exchange with Philly audiences, testing the limits of our bodily envelopes as we grapple with space, time, and memory.
We need your help:
This kind of work takes a long time and a lot of effort to produce. Already the artists have been coming together for rehearsal intensives periodically over the past year, preparing for the premiere. The total budget—covering artist fees, set materials, rehearsal space, costumes, and equipment—is more than $50,000. We’re looking for help with the last $11,000. All donations are TAX-DEDUCTIBLE through our fiscal sponsor FringeArts.
The community around this piece is incredible, and they’ve stepped in to offer rewards that not only bring you into the process of the work, but offer an opportunity to delve deeper into some of its themes: remembrance, self-actualization, human connection. Rewards include...
-The undergird playlist:
A collection of personal feel-your-body anthems put together by the artists!
-Studio time at The Whole Shebang:
A blank space in South Philly to make your own for up to 8 hours.
-Remembrance of a loved one in the performance space:
An acknowledgement of your choosing in the room at Icebox Project Space for the run of The undergird.
-Action is Primary poem posters by Laura Neuman:
One of two excerpts from risk :: nonchalance (c) 2017 by Laura Neuman, written in response to Action is Primary with visual design by Eero Hagen.
-A custom glass sculpture - Shebang co-director Carmichael Jones will work with you to make a glass reliquary, a container for the (small) object or relic of your choosing. Memorialize as you wish.
-Original photo collage by Tasha Doremus - images created as part of The undergird process, limited editions:
-PLUS artistic consultations, tarot readings, and more....
** All donations are TAX-DEDUCTIBLE through our fiscal sponsor FringeArts. FringeArts is a fully registered 501(c)(3), and will be sending out tax-deductible donation letters to each supporter at the end of the campaign **
The undergird is co-authored and performed by:
Meg Foley is a Philadelphia-based performer and choreographer. Her work is influenced by her identity as a queer artist and parent and is rooted in a loving tumble with formalism in dance and what constitutes performance. She makes dances, events, and objects that explore the materiality of physical and social identity as choreographic form. From 2012-2016 she danced daily at 3:15pm, culminating in a collective documentation and performance project with three collaborators: Action is Primary. Her work has been presented in performance and visual art venues in Philadelphia, NYC, Los Angeles, Canada, Germany, and Poland. She has received grants from Dancemakers Centre for Creation, Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Art Stary Browar, Polish Cultural Institute, and the Independence Foundation. She teaches at University of the Arts and is creative co-director of The Whole Shebang, an arts space in South Philly.
Drew Kaiser is a dance artist and massage therapist based in Philadelphia, PA. He studied dance & choreography at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA, thereafter moving to Berlin where he was able to expand his experience of the art form. Over the years, he has had the pleasure of performing in places from Toronto to Luxembourg, and Singapore to Shanghai. Upon moving back to the states, he began focusing on how to use the knowledge accumulated over the years studying dance to provide relief to those suffering from chronic ailment, in the form of massage therapy. Today, Drew works for a holistic day spa in South Philadelphia, and continues to work with local choreographers.
Jungeun Kim (J.e.) is a choreographer, dancer and digital media designer. Her dance and video works have been shown around the US, Europe and Asia. Now living in the US, her experience as an immigrant has significantly influenced her work. She is currently focusing on community-based art projects that can become resources for those in need. J.e. holds an MFA in Dance and MALS in Visual and Performing Arts from Hollins University. A member of the faculty at the University of the Arts’s School of Dance, J.e. hails from Seoul, South Korea and lives in Philadelphia.
Annie Wilson is a choreographer and performer whose work intertwines experimental dance, humor, feminist practice, and audience interaction to, as she says, “enliven that which is actively repressed in public life: grief, empathy, emotional honesty, and the experience—instead of appearance—of the female body.” Wilson was a 2014 Independence Foundation Fellowship recipient and is currently an “incubated artist” at Headlong and a writer for Thinking Dance. She holds a BFA in modern dance performance from the University of the Arts.
with lighting design by Natalie Robin, a lighting designer of theater, opera, dance, music and performance art. Natalie’s work often focuses on new American plays, contemporary dance and site-specific work. Natalie is Head of Theater Design & Technology at University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Associate Producer of Polybe + Seats, and an Associate Artist of Target Margin Theater. She was the associate producer of American Realness, a festival of contemporary performance curated by Ben Pryor. Natalie is a contributing writer for both Live Design Magazine and Stage Directions.
and costume design by Allison Pearce, a Philadelphia native and accomplished apparel designer, tailor, ager/dyer, and set costumer. Allison also works in narrative and commercial film production, music video styling, as well as wardrobe styling for multiple editorial publications. Being an avid music fan, she finds time to pursue her interests as a country musician and DJ and hosts a country party in Philadelphia, Baby's First Rodeo. Currently, she is part of the Saturday Night Live design team and runs her own sustainable slow fashion clothing line, Pearce.
Risks and challenges
So many of the pieces are already in motion for this project: rehearsals are underway, contracts are signed with FringeArts and with Icebox Project Space, marketing materials have gone to print.
The show will happen no matter what, but the biggest gap is raising this last chunk of money to cover fees and supplies and making sure the piece finds its community and audience.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (21 days)