Acclaimed Dancers Bring New Work to Nontraditional Spaces at Wellesley
Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener Gave a Surprise Preview of 'Way In' to Lunchtime Crowd in Science Center
Last week, dancers/choreographers Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener with New York Times writer Claudia La Rocco brought a new work, Way In, commissioned by Danspace Project in New York City, to Wellesley. They surprised denizens of the Science Center Focus on Friday before lunch, dancing in and throughout the open spaces, catwalks, and galleries where the old building meets the newer space. Dozens of students gathered in the alcoves of the Science Center to watch the dancers reach for each other across railings, cartwheel across hallways, and (almost) jump out of windows as part of their piece. That was a preview of their scheduled performance on Saturday in Tishman Commons, a nontraditional performance space in the Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center.
Way In was featured as a Boston Globe’s Sunday “Critic’s Picks: Dance” on October 26, as Globe Theater and Art Pick on October 30, and on the Globe’s To Do List on October 31.The influential art writers and critics blog Arts Fuse also covered the performance.
Dance Magazine has listed Mitchell and Riener, both former Merce Cunningham company members, among "25 to Watch" for 2013. The two have been collaborating on site-specific installations, improvisational dances, traditional proscenium pieces, and immersive experiences since 2009. Inspired by a mutual interest in space as an agent of performance, their work responds to complex and active spatial environments.
About the Artists
Rashaun Mitchell was born in Stamford, Conn., and raised in Atlanta, Ga. He started his dance training at Concord Academy in Massachusetts and graduated with a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College in 2000. Since then he has worked with many dance artists including: Chantal Yzermans, Donna Uchizono, Pam Tanowitz, Risa Jaroslow, Sara Rudner, Jonah Bokaer, Richard Colton, Deborah Hay, Rebecca Lazier, Silas Riener, and Merce Cunningham (2004-2012). He is a Cunningham Fellow, licensed stager of the repertory and is currently on faculty at Tisch School of the Arts. His choreography has been presented in New York City by Danspace Project, Baryshnikov Arts Center, La Mama Moves Festival, Mount Tremper Arts, Skirball Center at N.Y.U., Museum of Arts and Design, and at numerous festivals and universities throughout the East Coast, including the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.
Silas Riener grew up in Washington D.C. He graduated from Princeton University with a degree in comparative literature and creative writing. He has worked with Chantal Yzermans, Takehiro Ueyama, Christopher Williams, Jonah Bokaer, and Rebecca Lazier's TERRAIN. He joined the Merce Cunningham Dance Company 2007. While performing with MCDC, Riener completed his MFA in Dance at N.Y.U.'s Tisch School of the Arts. He premiered NOX, a collaboration with poet Anne Carson and choreographer Rashaun Mitchell in 2010, with whom he continues to develop new projects.
Claudia La Rocco is the founder and artistic director of ThePerformanceClub.org, which won a 2011 Creative Capitol/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. She writes about performance for the New York Times, is on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts’ graduate program in Art Criticism and Writing, and has taught and lectured at a variety of universities, festivals, and institutes. She is an editor-at-large at the Brooklyn Rail, a founding editor of Hyperallergic Weekend, and a member of the Off The Park poetry press, where she is currently editing an anthology of poems by painters. Her poetry and arts writing have appeared in such outlets and publications as Artforum, Slate, WNYC New York Public Radio, and the anthology Viva la Difference: Poetry Inspired by the Painting of Peter Saul.
These artists' visit and performance were sponsored by the Susan and Donald Newhouse Center for the Humanities at Wellesley College.