A Socially Distant September

Teen Editorial Staff September 2020 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Anya Shukla and Triona Suiter

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This is a strange time for the arts world. Art is a community effort, a group-bonding experience… yet right now, we’re all watching these pieces in separate locations, isolated and alone. We hope our reviews provide the connective tissue between your viewing experiences and someone else’s—a chance for you to reflect on artwork alongside our writers. If nothing else, we’ll offer you arts recommendations to brighten your socially distant September.

If you want to get dressed up, grab some snacks, and make the most of your at-home viewing with pieces that would have been shown physically in any other year, then sit down to watch Pacific Science Center’s online footage of Laser Dome 360, Whim Whim’s XALT, or NFFTY 2020. Extra points if you bring $5 and your TeenTix pass!

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Introducing Art as Activism: TeenTix Summer Sessions

Join TeenTix for a series of workshops on how art can be an act of resistance, of protest, and of activism.

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Join us for a series of FREE online TeenTix workshops exploring how art is a powerful tool for activism and the fight for racial justice. Each Summer Session will focus on a different genre of art including theater, dance, and performance art. You’ll learn about the history of social justice movements and how art has played a role in both the past and present movements.

Use the links below to sign up for individual workshops, or all three! Theater as Protest with Jasmine Mahmoud

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Swan Lake: Flying Away from the Flock

Review of Kent Stowell's Swan Lake by Pacific Northwest Ballet
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Jaiden Borowski and edited by Teen Editor Kendall Kieras

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Welcoming the viewer with a red curtain and the strong classical notes of Tchaikovsky’s legendary score, Swan Lake (via YouTube) begins. Free on the virtual platform for a limited time, this piece, danced by the Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB), granted home-bound viewers an escape to the arts. Obviously, the virtual platform had its own distinct advantages and disadvantages in comparison to the live performance. With easy accessibility and free viewing, the online version surpassed the live performance, but the sometimes fuzzy video and the small screen left it lacking in other respects. Though I doubt many people clicked on the video expecting an equal experience to live performance, it’s noteworthy to mention that the different mediums give distinct advantages to their audience.

Although confined to a small screen, the obvious precision of every movement was incredible. It seems standard to expect the ease of perfection from ballet, but the dancers’ fluid grace still astounded me. The movement was not cookie-cutter neat; instead, it was tailored to fit each character’s personality, a key aspect to the success of the ballet. Whether it was a lilting, drunken friend at the party or the great swan herself, the message of the dancer’s persona was very apparent. But no matter how beautiful the method of storytelling was, the dance had the potential to be quite confusing, especially to someone new to the story, such as myself. Thankfully, a previous YouTube video by PNB outlined the simple story of the ballet and gave details on the characters, primarily the two main characters, Siegfried and Odette. Siegfried is the prince who falls in love with Odette, the main swan. Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Seth Orza as Siegfried, and Noelani Pantastico as Odette, in Kent Stowell’s Swan Lake. Photo © Angela Sterling.

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Commemoration and Confusion

Review of When the Wolves Came In by Kyle Abraham/A.I.M on OntheBoards.tv
Written by Teen Editor Anya Shukla and edited by Press Corps Teaching Artist Imana Gunawan

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I first watched When the Wolves Came In without looking at the program notes, and I was more than a little confused. In the performance, I saw wigs, hip-hop, ballet, images from apartheid, police brutality, but no central message. What did it all mean?

Although I did not know it at the time, When the Wolves Came In is based on Max Roach’s jazz album We Insist Freedom Now, created to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, but released early in response to Civil Rights protests. The dance itself consists of three shorter pieces, the abstract “When the Wolves Came In,” “Hallowed,” and the more narrative-driven “The Gettin’.”

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Part 3: Keeping Cultured During Quarantine

Find out how some of the TeenTix-ers are staying artistically engaged while socially distant.

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This is the third installment of our “Keeping Cultured During Quarantine” series. Enjoy these recommendations from TeenTix Newsroom writers, New Guard members, and Press Corps teens about how to fight the collective cabin fever!Daisy

Ok, so actually, my favorite kind of art right now might not even be classified as art (but in my head it is)! My favorite kind of art right now is . . . . PEOPLE!! (People are art!) The best quarantine activity EVER is to watch people tell me things about their life (over a socially distant video call, don’t worry!), or things that happened when they were little, or anything that’s happening in their heads! Good art = stories. Stories = people. People = art!!! Seeing people that I love, even from far away, and getting to know them better, learning more about the stories-that-make-up-who-they-are, is the best quarantine art obsession I can imagine! (Also Parks & Rec.) Hana

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Happy International Dance Day!!!

To celebrate #InternationalDanceDay, we've compiled a list of content from the TeenTix Blog highlighting some of our amazing Arts Partners in the dance space!

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In honor of International Dance Day, here is a collection of reviews at our Arts Partners, written exclusively by teen writers. Help us celebrate young writers, dancers, choreographers, and venues alike by reading and sharing this article with your network, and thank you to all of the dancers worldwide for sharing your art with us! TeenTix Newsroom review of "Dark Matters" via On the Boards.TV

"The piece pays homage to the Frankenstein-horror sub genre through a dramatic tale of a creator and his puppet, sprinkling in sometimes out-of-place bits of humor before diving fully into themes of manipulation and connection, which can be seen throughout the entire piece, from the loose, puppet-like motion of the dancers to the music." Click here to read the full review, written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Lucia McLaren. Teen Reviews of the Hiplet Ballerinas at Edmonds Center for the Arts

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Dark Matters: The Potential of Dance

Review of Crystal Pite's Dark Matters on OntheBoards.TV
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Lucia McLaren and edited by Teen Editor Anya Shukla

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In these dark times of uncertainty, people have access to a surprising amount of media. From Netflix to YouTube, sites give home viewers a wide library of constantly-updating content, distracting from the often anxiety-inducing situation at hand.

OntheBoards.TV, connected to TeenTix partner On the Boards, is one of these sites and holds a library of high-quality recorded contemporary art pieces. I recently watched one of these pieces, Dark Matters, a modern dance created by Crystal Pite, a Canadian choreographer who’s somewhat of an audience favorite on the site. The piece pays homage to the Frankenstein-horror sub genre through a dramatic tale of a creator and his puppet, sprinkling in sometimes out-of-place bits of humor before diving fully into themes of manipulation and connection, which can be seen throughout the entire piece, from the loose, puppet-like motion of the dancers to the music. Kidd Pivot in Dark Matters by Crystal Pite. Photo by Dean Buscher.

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Virtual World? See Virtual Art!

Editorial written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Sumeya Block and edited by Teen Editor Tova Gaster

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Is anyone else very, very, very, bored? It’s weird to think that not even a month ago, we were all living entirely different lives. On March 1st, we were still going about our normal routines: taking buses to school, eating lunch (and sharing food!) with friends, and of course, using our TeenTix passes. But all that has changed. Now, I go to my classes via Zoom, I take a walk around the block, and, like everyone else, I try my best to help contain COVID-19. To fill my boredom, I have participated in lots of virtual art. There are many lessons we have learned since quarantine and one of the big ones is that humans are adaptable; we change to fit our environment no matter how drastic the situation.

Just like how we have had to adapt, so has art, by catering to an online audience. One can no longer fill McCaw Hall or the beautiful MOHAI Museum but can instead fill an infinite number of virtual seats through a computer screen. Currently, Jet City Improv is hosting a virtual happy hour via Twitch. Seattle Opera and Seattle Art Museum have created an interactive page full of weekly podcasts, interviews, and hand-picked playlists. And those are just a few of the events going on this month! I love being able to support local art right from my bed by interacting, sharing, and donating to their websites. But the true power of virtual art is the ability to experience it from anywhere, try something new, and hear the voices of people from all over the world.

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Creative Cures for Quarantine

Teen Editorial Staff April 2020 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Olivia Sun and Lily Williamson!

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Even though COVID-19 has kept us inside, there are still plenty of ways to stay involved with art while practicing good social distancing. From online exhibitions to performance archives, the Seattle arts scene is still alive and well, even under quarantine.

The coronavirus outbreak not frightening enough? Give Dark Matters at OntheBoards.tv a try—a spine chilling performance combining elements of contemporary dance and theatre. Directed by choreographer Crystal Pite, this performance will take you on a wild emotional journey from the comforts of your own home.

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Recap: Dance Journalism Workshop at Hiplet

Teen Reviews of the Hiplet Ballerinas at Edmonds Center for the Arts

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The TeenTix Press Corps partnered with Edmonds Center for the Arts to host a Dance Journalism workshop around the performance of the Hiplet Ballerinas, February 20, 2020. Taught by multimedia journalist and dance artist, Imana Gunawan, the workshop covered the basics of dance criticism and how to approach writing a dance review. In our initial lesson we learned some context for the performance by discussing the roots of both hip hop and ballet as art forms. Before the performance, teens also attended the pre-show talk curated by Dani Tirrell (movement artist centering dance around the African Diaspora) featuring Erricka Turner (Ballet and Graham Techniques) and Fides Anna Banana Freeze Mabanta (B-Girl and Hip-Hop), along with Hiplet company representatives. The discussion further framed the performance by asking questions like: How do race and class play into both of these dance techniques? Does Hip-Hop need Ballet to make it more legitimate to white audiences; and does Ballet need Hip-Hop to make it feel relevant to Black and Brown audiences?

After attending the show, participants met for a final meeting to discuss and reflect on the performance. Teens worked on their writing, did some peer editing, and also reflected on how to confront bias while reviewing dance. Below are the reflections on the Hiplet performance written by some of the workshop participants.

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Recap: Dance Criticism Workshop at Grupo Corpo

Teen Reviews of Grupo Corpo at Meany Center for the Performing Arts

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The TeenTix Press Corps hosted a pop-up Dance Criticism workshop at Grupo Corpo’s performance at Meany Center, February 22, 2020. Taught by dance artist, writer, and teacher, Kaitlin McCarthy, the workshop covered the basics of dance criticism and how to approach writing a dance review. After a pre-show lesson, teen participants attended Grupo Corpo’s performance, and then met the next day for discussion and writing practice. Below are the reflections of the performance the participants wrote during the workshop.

Written by Hana - 8th grade

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A Multitude of Perceptions

Review of Showing Out at the Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Leuel Bekele and edited by Teen Editor Anya Shukla

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This month at the Central District Forum, I saw Showing Out: Contemporary Black Choreographers: Part Two, a mentorship and performance event curated by Dani Tirrell. Showing Out’s purpose is to showcase black choreographers from around the Pacific Northwest that often don't get a spotlight for their work. The show featured the work of Keelan Johnson, Michael O’ Neal Jr., Saira Barbaric, Brian J Evans, Neve Kamilah Mazique-Bianco, Kyle Bernbach alongside Gilbert Small II, and Markeith Wiley. Each raw, original performance could have had a multitude of meanings. Through each performance, I found myself uncomfortable, intrigued, and at times lost.

The opening performer was Keelan Johnson, leading member of the Emerald City Kiki Sessions. They opened with “Octavia,” a Kiki-Ball inspired choreography that incorporated burlesque attire. Alongside them were two dancers who were unlisted on the agenda. (The “Ball” in Kiki-Ball is short for ballroom, a tradition of celebrating queerness and transness, originating from black and brown people in New York City during the ‘70s.) Their high-energy performance was amplified by commentary that took a stand on the stigma around the LGBTQ+ community. This opening was shocking in its provocativeness, but did a great job of setting the tone for the night.

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Versatility and Range at XPRESS

Review of XPRESS by Whim W'Him
Written by Teen Editor Lily Williamson and edited by Press Corps Teaching Artist Melody Datz Hansen

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XPRESS, contemporary dance company Whim W’Him’s January program, explores a variety of social themes through three short dance works. XPRESS began with choreographer Ihsan Rustem’s “Of Then and Now,” a showcase of innovative movement. Clothed in color-block costumes designed by Meleta Buckstaff and seemingly stuck somewhere between the ’80s and a Star-Trek future, the troupe gracefully made their way through short vignettes.

“Of Then and Now” began with pairs of dancers vividly miming a sped-up version of everyday actions. The piece slowly evolved into more independent, graceful movements set to the music of Johnny Cash. The variety of choreography showcased how versatile the Whim W’Him dancers are; regardless of style, they are cohesive and expressive.

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Fresh St(ART)

Teen Editorial Staff January 2020 Editorial

Written by Teen Editor Joshua Fernandes!

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2019 was the year of death. We waved goodbye to the beloved characters of film franchises like Star Wars and Marvel, mourned the loss of real life heroes, and said farewell to the 2010s. But now is the time to be reborn with iron clad resolutions for the new year, and what better resolution than to seek out the freshest art of the decade?

At Seattle Art Museum there's Into Existence, an exhibit all about giving new life to the items America discards and using them to express the stories America tells. Witness security gates, afro wigs, and car parts weave together and form into the ideas and dreams of artist Aaron Fowler in the shape of cultural icons and personal figures. If you're left craving a different mix of history and creativity, check out author Isabel Allende and dive into her book A Long Petal of the Sea at Town Hall Seattle. Using the story of two refugees fleeing a fascist Spain in the 1930s to explore motifs of oppression, exile, and hope, this event is sure to please any fans of historical fiction. If you're still looking for that perfect mixture of education and entertainment, then Jaha Koo: Cuckoo at On the Boards might be what you're looking for. It analyses the rocky history of Korea over the past 20 years and the isolationism that currently grips the population through the commentary of a South Korean artist and his three rice cookers.

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Storytelling through Contemporary Dance

Review of This is Not the Little Prince by Whim W'Him.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Katherine Kang, and edited by Teen Editor Hannah Schoettmer!

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The movement of the human body accompanied by a simple monotone score, props that seem familiar, and a new musical score can tell a beautiful story with great emotion and power.

After almost two years of brainstorming and eight intense weeks of choreographing and rehearsing, This is Not The Little Prince is now being performed at the Cornish Playhouse. This one hour contemporary dance piece is full of heart, creativity, emotion, and flexibility. Choreographed and staged by Olivier Wevers, this show conveys a well-known story in a new light, with the story of the author. Using the language of dance, everyone can interpret the narrative, no matter what language they speak.Whim W'Him in This is Not the Little Prince. Photo by Stefano Altamura.

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School’s Out, But Art Never Ends

Teen Editorial Staff June Editorial

Written by Teen Editor Lily Williamson!

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It’s June, and as the weather gets warmer and we finally get a break from Seattle rain, most TeenTixers are looking forward to one thing: liberation—from school, homework, teachers, and the dreaded SBA. So, the Teen Editorial Staff has curated June’s shows around the theme of liberation. We’ve picked art events that demonstrate the complex positivity of this theme in celebration of summer. For visual art lovers, MoPOP’s A Queen Within liberates femininity from traditionally associated beauty standards through fashion. If you’re in the mood to see a live show, ACT Theatre’s Pass Over and Whim W’Him’s This is Not the Little Prince reinvent classic pieces of literature, and Strawberry Theatre Workshop’s Take Me Out takes a swing at raising awareness of the constraints homophobia places on a community through baseball. In addition, CUDDLE: The Series at Seattle International Film Festival and later at Northwest Film Forum explores how something as simple as a hug can be liberating. This month’s lineup is incredibly diverse, so, as summer approaches, get out there and see some art!

Photo credit: Ethan Robertson from Unsplash

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Embracing The Discomfort of American History

Review of Strange Fruit by Spectrum Dance Theater.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Eleanor Chang-Stucki, and edited by Teen Editor Anya Shukla!

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“Southern trees bear a strange fruit/Blood on the leaves and blood at the root.”

Originally a poem describing lynching in the American South, “Strange Fruit” was written by Abel Meeropol in 1939 and famously performed by singers Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. Strange Fruit, part of the Spectrum Dance Theater’s “Wokeness Festival,” drew its inspiration from this haunting song. This festival was to celebrate, as Donald Byrd, the Strange Fruit choreographer and Spectrum’s Artistic Director, calls it, “the notion of complete awareness.” In his Q&A after the show a few weeks ago, he described lynching, calling it “a method to keep black folks in their place and to assert white supremacy in the south.” Over 4,000 lynchings occurred over a 100 year period in America, so Strange Fruit was an important piece to create and distribute because so many Americans are still unaware of the history that forms our present day systemic inequities. The non-black U.S. population may be somewhat aware of this violence, but they cannot fully absorb the effect that it has had on black bodies, both past and present.

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RSVP for Teen Night at PNB's NEXT STEP!

See this special teens-only preview at PNB!

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Feel like a VIP when you attend this FREE teens-only preview at Pacific Northwest Ballet!

Our friends at PNB want to share their love of new work with TeenTix members at their studio preview of NEXT STEP: OUTSIDE / IN. Space is limited, so RSVP to save your seat!

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Kyle Abraham Channels Greater Power

Review of Kyle Abraham's A.I.M. presented by STG and On the Boards.

Written by Rosemary Sissel during TeenTix’s Theater & Dance Press Corps Intensive.

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Out of the smoky darkness, Kyle Abraham emerges, opening the magnificent four piece Abraham in Motion (A.I.M.) with one explosive solo, "INDY." Four stand-alone pieces that touch on police brutality, love, human connection, powerlessness, and pain, and everything begins with one gloriously powerful solo. An entire piece performed by one man.

Abraham enters through a veil of smoke, walking into an ethereal ray of light. His arms shake, pelting the light with a barrage of questions. It does not answer. Then, slowly, things calm.

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A.I.M. Should Strike a Chord Within All of Us

Review of Kyle Abraham's A.I.M. presented by STG and On the Boards.

Written by Prama Singh during TeenTix’s Theater & Dance Press Corps Intensive.

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“Shut your eyes….”, played repeatedly and the beep, beep, beep, of the sound effects rippled through the theater as the audience watched the fluid dancers take up the stage. Kyle Abraham and his company Abraham In Motion (A.I.M.) presented four pieces on stage at the Moore Theatre this March. They were all beautiful pieces, but there was one piece in particular that stood out along with a specific part of another.

In Abraham’s fourth piece, “Drive”, the music seemed to get louder and louder as fog filtered onto the stage. The dimmed lights were on the dancers as they pulsated in synch, the rhythm of the music pounding along. The feeling of desperation, and the intense need to convey something filled the air as the dynamic dancers unhesitatingly continued to flow and sway. They were swift and unstoppable in their need to get the audience to understand. An ominous feeling filled the theater, yet eyes remain locked on stage. This feeling was amplified after the previous message commemorating any black man who reached age twenty-one from the piece “Meditation: A Silent Prayer.” As the lights dimmed further and the curtains went down, the audience stood for an ovation.

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