KAIROS Dance Theater founders, DeAnna Pellecchia and Ingrid Schatz, have been collaborating with Michael Dowling / Medicine Wheel Productions for 12 years, working as teaching artists and creating performances for MWP’s youth programs which have been performed throughout the city of Boston. The site-specific outdoor performance TURF, created by DeAnna and Ingrid in 2002 in collaboration with at-risk youth, was awarded the “Boston Peace Party Community Star Award” from the City of Boston for outstanding work in fostering peaceful neighborhoods.
In June of 2014, KAIROS became the official “Dance Company in Residence” at Medicine Wheel Productions. This official collaboration will engage youth who are in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction and who are involved in the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services; offer jobs for dancers in KAIROS as Teaching Artists; afford Medicine Wheel Youth the opportunity to be trained by dance professionals; and create opportunities to collaborate and perform together. BATTLE, KAIROS’ first in-residence performance premiered at The Strand Theater in Dorchester and The Lawn on D at Boston Exhibition & Convention Center in August 2014.
Works Presented (partial list)
BATTLE premiered on August 28th, 2014 at The Strand Theatre in Dorchester, MA; and was performed a second time outdoors on August 30th, 2014 at The Lawn on D in Boston. The performance was inspired by a statement made by Medicine Wheel’s Shane Hampton: “If you have beef with me, let’s dance it out.” Medicine Wheel youth (labeled as at-risk from Dorchester, South Boston and Roxbury) and KAIROS dancers came together in the studio to blend hip hop, krump, and contemporary dance and explore questions of clan, identity, unity, and the human condition. BATTLE invites both performers and audience members to reflect on how differences and conflicts – in movement, appearance, philosophy and thought – can be overcome. It premiered in the summer of 2014 at the height of the conflict in Ferguson and addressed the burning questions Who has power? Who gets access? Who is exiled?…The politics of turf in this country are personal and the battle for inclusion is real.
WRITTEN ON THE BODY (2008)
A site-specific performance piece made in conjunction with Michael Dowling’s 17th Annual Medicine Wheel Installation in honor of World AIDS Day. Inspired by Dowling’s creation of the Paper Project, WRITTEN ON THE BODY asks the question, “What is your truth?”. A single sheet of hand made paper 600 feet long and 12 feet high will be the focal point of this year’s medicine wheel installation. Created by thousands of people using entirely recycled materials, participants wrote hopes, fears, dreams, prayers and truths onto paper, which was broken down and reconstituted into one continuous sheet of earth colored paper, weaving the thoughts and prayers of many, into the fabric of one. Prayers for peace in the world, for an end to violence in our neighborhoods, for a job or an end to personal suffering, will all come together as a single human prayer. DeAnna Pellecchia and Ingrid Schatz perform inside the installation with eight brave medicine wheel youth bringing to life the conflicting prayers and desires that are written on the walls.
THRESHOLD | ‘THE MYTHOLOGY OF BEINGS’ (2004)
THRESHOLD transverses the gardens, fences and stone paths of NO MAN’S LAND, while incorporating spoken text, dance, gestures and partnered lifts. Movements, derived from original poetry written by the teens, symbolize passageways that mark significant transformation through the course of our lives. A work about personal and communal metamorphosis, THRESHOLD, illustrates the ever-changing world we live in through the eyes of young adults. THRESHOLD was funded in part by the New England Foundation for the Arts, the Boston Now Program, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
RESERVOIR | ‘THE RESSIE’ (2003)
RESERVOIR explores the power and importance of water, or lack there of. Guest artists from Bennett Dance Company perform with the teens; movement assumes the elemental qualities of water and centers around a copper well designed by visual artist Michael Dowling. The sculptural urban landscape of NO MAN’S LAND becomes a character all its own as movers portray the co-dependent relationship between water and the land we stand on. RESERVOIR was funded in part by the Boston Now Program, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
TURF is a piece about boundaries. Inner cities continue to be hot spots of ethnic, racial and political tension where youth are sometimes assumed to be unaffected by their cultural climate. TURF marked the first year of a performance component to the art-based program at NO MAN’S LAND. Movement inspired by physical tasks performed on the land and poetry derived from sometimes heated discussions with the teens, reveal true feelings about the city they live in, lines they cross everyday and hopes for making their neighborhood a better place for the future. TURF was awarded the “Boston Peace Party Community Star Award” from the City of Boston for outstanding work in fostering peaceful neighborhoods.