*this image will be printed on the Ballez Tote Bags and Caps!!!
I am raising funds to support The Firebird, a Ballez, presented by Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church May 16-18. With a cast of 15 queer performers, accompanied by the Queer Urban Orchestra, a landscape video by Hedia Maron, acting coaching by Jibz Cameron, and handmade costumes by Mikki Olson, I need to raise funds to compensate all my collaborators and their tremendous efforts in realizing this first ever Ballez!
"Katy Pyle’s, The Firebird is a feminist direct action and a queer confrontation, making it anything but your typical ballet. No, this is a Ballez; a ballet-inspired theatrical process, featuring an all female-assigned, lesbian/queer/transmasculine cast, that undoes and redefines the traditional gender roles, technical expectations, and dominant narratives of ballet. Ballez seeks new embodied expression through the queering of classical forms and works to contest the overarching heteronormativity embedded in social and cultural institutions. (Heteronormativity is the process by which heterosexuality is assumed to be normal, neutral, or natural.) In order to challenge the heterosexual hegemony implicit in ballet, Pyle deconstructs balletic elements: physical training, theatricality, and presentational performance, and reconstitutes them into a community-oriented, gender-fluid, queer utopian vision of what is possible in dance.
In this version of The Firebird, we follow a yearning, Lesbian Princess and a Tranimal (part bird, part prince) as they seek liberation in a magically perverse landscape of polyamorous princes and their dominant sorceress. Accompanied by the Queer Urban Orchestra, and a cast of 15 queer performers, this work plays with formalism, strives for complexity, and subverts the (hetero)normative logic of gendered bodies within a performative space. Throughout her creative process, Pyle utilized the outline of the original “Firebird” ballet created by Mikhail Fokine and Igor Stravinsky, in 1910, for the Ballet Russe. She read Fokine's journals, which shaped her narrative structure and aesthetics choices. In this, she was particularly moved by his idea that “each ballet's movements should be specific to the culture it represents.” Thus, Ballez explores and communicates movement and embodiment specific to the queerfeminist culture that Pyle and her cast so unequivocally inhabit."
- Cassie Peterson, Performing Arts Critic and Lavender Menace
WORLD PREMIERE CAST-
Firebird- Jules Skloot
Sorceress- Cassie Mey
Princess- Katy Pyle
Princes- Effie Bowen, Zari Esaian, Ariel "Speedwagon" Federow, Leah Hafezi, Sam Greenleaf Miller, Francis Rabkin, Mary Read, Lindsay Reuter, Lollo Romanski, Silky Shoemaker, Sacha Yanow, Nyx Zierhut
costumes- Mikki Olson
video- Hedia Maron
acting coach- Jibz Cameron
Risks and challenges
We are set to premiere this new work on May 16, but we need your help to compensate all the performers and designers!
With 15 performers, 42 musicians, a conductor, a costume designer, a video designer, an acting coach, and a stage manager, this project is much larger than a typical downtown dance commission. And while many artists work for free, it's important to me to compensate my collaborators in order to begin to change the way we value the work of performers and performance makers.
With our commission from Danspace Project and my savings, we are able to pay the Queer Urban Orchestra and rent a projector for the Animated Landscape Backdrop video. Unfortunately, those funds won't cover the cost of rehearsal space, and the time put in by the performers.
These artists are working for the bare minimum, have pledged an abundance of time, heart and support to this project, and I hope together we can raise the funds to pay them. Should this project be overfunded, those dollars will go directly to paying the artists above their guaranteed fees, which are modest.
We've been working since Summer 2011 on this project, and have faced many obstacles along it's path. From the beginning we faced skepticism about what we had to bring to The Firebird... we were questioned in presenting a queer ballet since we are a community of experimental artists who value performative presence above all else... and early on were told that we couldn't publicly advertise our shows because of fear of retribution from folks not ready to see a ballet that recognized itself as queer.
But we've kept working consistently on this project, showing works in progress of it wherever we can, and learning from both our failures and our successes... in Lexington, VA for an audience of 3, at Brooklyn Arts Exchange for close friends and community, at Dixon Place for full houses of queers and activists, and for the Movement Research Spring Festival for critically minded dance-makers and performance scholars.
Each show has been a different challenge, and has offered new insights into this process of creating a performative art work that speaks of, and to current social and cultural questions.
We think this performance is vital to those questions, so we will premiere this show no matter what we have to face, and I will do whatever I have to do to pay these brilliant artists, but we will do so with more ease and hope if you are the wind beneath our wings!
This project has been generously supported thus far by residencies at Rockbridge Artist's Exchange, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Abrons Arts Center, and Mount Tremper Arts.
The creation of The Firebird; A Ballez was made possible, in part, by
the Danspace Project 2012-13 Commissioning Initiative, with support from the Jerome Foundation.
- (24 days)