Visiting Artist | August 25 - September 8, 2017
Sheppard, who joined the AXIS Dance Company in residence as a company member in 2007, returns to MANCC in 2017 to further develop her own work titled Descent From Beauty.
Descent From Beauty is an evening-length dance work that tells the story of Venus and Andromeda. Featuring a unique, architectural stage that acts as a partner in the choreography and storytelling, Descent From Beauty questions norms and assumptions around movement that we find "aesthetically pleasing or proper" in dance, as it challenges western and heteronormative conceptions of beauty, and shows the artistic potential for integrating accessibility into the creative process.
Descent From Beauty explores the experience known to all users of wheels: the raw pleasure of flying free down a slope. Disabled dancers Alice Sheppard and Laurel Lawson will push the limits of their training as they develop movement to be performed on the ramped stage with an eye toward showing what disability and disabled movement contribute to dance. Disabled lighting and video artist Michael Maag will join the residency focusing on the creation of a multi-sensory experience that reveals the power of disability in dance.
At MANCC, Alice will have the entire team come together for the first time to finalize the choreography for the dancers and finish work on the movement and technical design elements. Sheppard plans a work-in-progress showing, plus engagement opportunities for students on campus and for community members. Descent From Beauty will premiere at the Britt Festival in Oregon in fall 2017.
Sheppard has also invited two writers, an artist (emerging choreographer/ dancer) and an established scholar of disability arts and culture, into residence to further an emerging conversation about how to language disability and dance. Since 2015, with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, MANCC has piloted an endeavor to embed writers with selected resident artists to support the thoughtful articulation of their creative process, finished work and oeuvre in the public realm. This early initiative embraces a longer-term goal of creating strong, contextualized materials for the artist and their audiences to help foster a deeper engagement and conversation with challenging ideas made manifest in contemporary work.
Collaborators in Residence: Laurel Lawson [Dancer], Michael Maag [Lighting and Video Designer], Joseph Futral [Technical Director], Lisa Niedermeyer [Performance Coach], Carrie Sandahl and Jerron Herman [Writers].