No Hero (West)
No Hero (West) Part 1
2011 National Eben Demerest Award
2011 Princess Grace Foundation Special Project Grant
Supported by: Maggie Alessee National Center For Choreography (MANCC)
No Hero (West) was nominated for a 2012 Isadora Duncan Award for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design.
Director Alex Ketley has spent nearly thirty years dancing and performing in a wide range of situations, which include small regional schools, touring internationally as a member of a large ballet company, improvising in diverse outdoor environments in the search for how place affects the generation of movement, and lastly spending the last twelve years choreographing, creating, and presenting his own work. It is a tremendous journey of information that has taken him through many different situations that have dramatically shaped who he is as an artist.
In 2010 he and the company completed a new work called Please Love Me which explored how jettisoning the idea of the audience performer relationship in a traditional sense creates the question; what is left of this interaction? In that question Ketley became more conscious of the struggles and nuance of connection generally, how personal connection is complicated and full of many different changing landscapes. Please Love Me explored loss, humor, frailty, rage, exuberance, and the feeling that performing artists can feel quite estranged from society generally.
No Hero was the next large departure from the things learned from Please Love Me.
No Hero is a study on our country and all its tremendous diversity, beauty, confusion, and stratification economically and socially. On what it means to be a dancer, choreographer, and artist in this culture, Ketley felt he can no longer only create dance in the hidden confines of a dance studio. That the way to really create work and challenge himself was to travel extensively throughout rural American and create dance in the shopping malls, mountains, hotel lobbies, cities, peoples homes, rural towns, etc. He felt he needed to understand more fully what deeply wrought conceptual work means to people outside of the confines of the art and dance world. How making work directly in the public eye, and talking with the people he encountered and recording their thoughts and observations, he could then attempt to truly answer questions about his role as an artist and dance maker in society. The piece is a follow up to Please Love Me, in asking in a much broader sense what is connection through art to the everyday lives of Americans?
No Hero has become a trilogy, with the piece exploring the rural West being the first to be completed and toured. The performance piece is an interaction between the film of dances and interviews we gathered by traveling, and a live dance.
No Hero (Vermont)
No Hero (Vermont) Part 2
Supported by Vermont Performance Lab
The second rendition of the project the company explored was in rural Vermont, and generously supported through a month residency at Vermont Performance Lab. In the project in the West, the company traveled everyday to a new town, so what felt unique in Vermont is that they were immersed in a community for more time. This allowed them to dig deeper into the relationships they made with strangers, which then led them to the idea of having these community members perform with The Foundry. Working with these unique individuals, who ranged in age and background, felt like a great privilege.
No Hero (Deep South)
No Hero (Deep South) Part 3
Supported by: The Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC), the Inaugural Princess Grace Foundation Choreography Co-Commission Award, The Historic Asolo Theater, The Kenneth Rainin Foundation New and Experimental Works Grant, ODC Theater, San Francisco
The final project that the company worked on was traveling throughout the rural South with the amazing artist Miguel Gutierrez. The South was very different than both the previous projects, with much more density, contradictory experiences, and a more acute feeling of “otherness” than was experienced in the other research locations. Collaborating with Miguel was also an immensely rich experience. He is one of the world’s foremost queer performance artist / choreographers, and spending time on the road together lent all of the interactions a different outlook as to what the South is, and how its history of exclusion is both very much alive and simultaneously cracking and shifting as our country grows and changes.