Guaranteed NDP Touring Subsidy June 2017-Dec, 2018 (for DOGGIE HAMLET)
Creating of “The Symphonic Body” at UCLA (2015)
Final rehearsal of “The Symphonic Body” at Stanford University (2013)
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2016/2017 Tour Dates
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“Ann Carlson is a conceptual artist who uses gesture, text and humor to break your heart.”
– William Harris, New York Times
“Carlson’s work mines the ephemeral and the commonplace toward extraordinary results.”
Doggie Hamlet is a full-length outdoor performance spectacle that weaves dance, music, visual and theatrical elements with aspects from competitive sheep herding trials. The work is performed by four dancers, one boy, one American Sign Language interpreter, two herding dogs and a flock of sheep in a 30 x 50 foot fenced field. Doggie Hamlet recalls the bucolic impression of a landscape painting or a 3D pastoral poem. The sheep, the dogs, the human performers, and the earth’s surface are at once performing as themselves and as living symbols in this work. Through story, motion, site and stillness Doggie Hamlet explores instinct, sentience, attachment, and loss, and is a beautiful and dreamlike spectacle weaving instinct, mystery, and movement into an unusual performance event.
Dumbo Redacted is a solo stage-based work choreographed and performed by Ann Carlson. It is informed by the movement and mythologies surrounding earth’s largest land mammal. Set inside a circus ring and caught in a story out of sequence and out of date, Dumbo Redacted plays with clumsy grace and wild quiet as it collides and colludes with time, gravity, fury, and redemption.
The Symphonic Body is a performance built entirely from gestures. It is a movement based orchestral work performed by the people who work, in an academic institution, or a major corporation, in a factory, an arts organization, a foundation, a small business, or as part of a start up enterprise. Instead of instruments, individuals in this orchestra perform gestural portraits based on the motions of their workday. These portraits are individual dances, custom made for each person, choreographed from the movements they already do. Whether looking at a computer screen, sitting in a meeting, creating curriculum, rehearsing a dance, returning books to the library, translating the intuitive, discussing a preemie, or pruning a palm tree, these are the moments upon which this work is built. The Symphonic Body is a window into the breadth of human labor and activity that animates any given work environment. By engaging with this choreographic performance practice participants come together in concert to expand, renew and re-experience the artistry embedded in the everyday.
The Symphonic Body builds on a practice Ms. Carlson has been engaged with for more than 25 years. She has made performance works with people gathered together by a common profession or activity or shared passion. Lawyers, security officers, nuns, fly fisherman, custodians, a farmer and her dairy cows, physicians, poker players, cowboys, development directors, among others, have performed in this series of works.
The Symphonic Body is a transformational performance experience. It is a dialogue between embrace and surrender. For example, at Stanford University where the work premiered, whether it is a performance studies professor or a tree trimmer, each takes up, or embraces, her identity as a professor or as a gardener as the context of this performance. This (self) embracing draws metaphor and meaning from the surroundings of the everyday. But during the making of the performance the embrace gives way to a surrender, there is a letting go of the individual identity into an experience of being part of something larger than the self. The particular choreographed gestures themselves become part of a larger movement tapestry within each performer and within the piece as a whole. So, these works, performed by the actual individuals who live with these gestures (as opposed to only trained performers taking on the gestures of other people) exist in this tension between embrace and surrender, giving rise to questions about what constitutes humanity and aliveness in a given moment.
Stanford’s The Symphonic Body included 78 people from across the campus and was developed over one year. Stanford’s Symphonic Body performance ran 33 minutes in length- an inverse reference to John Cage’s seminal work, “4:33” which is performed in silence. The length of each Symphonic Body will be customized according to the tailored residency created by Ann Carlson for each organization/institution.
What do kids (baby goats) and kids (not-so-baby people) have in common? World-renowned choreographer and performance artist Ann Carlson will dance her way to the answer with the help of some curious goats and their animal buddies in this brand-new piece developed specifically with preschoolers in mind. It’s a story of the similarities we share with our animal friends in the quest for self-expression and ultimately, understanding. So stomp your hooves, clap your paws and expect the unexpected.
From the concert hall to the dairy farm, the opera house to a mountainside, in the museum or on a frozen pond, Ann Carlson’s award winning work defies description and category while expanding the context of choreography and performance. Carlson borrows from the disciplines of dance, performance, theater, visual and conceptual art and often dismantles conventional boundaries between artist and subject. Ann’s work takes the form of solo performance, site-specific projects, ensemble theatrical works, or performance/video. Carlson’s work has been seen in theaters, galleries, museums, concert halls as well as hotels, swimming pools, and landscapes throughout the U.S., Europe and Mexico.
From 2010-13, Carlson was a guest artist at Stanford University, and during 2014-15, Carlson was a guest artist at UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance. Stanford was both the site and inspiration of Carlson’s newest work, The Symphonic Body. This new work builds on Carlson’s twenty-five year practice of developing works that are made with and performed by people gathered together by a common profession, activity or shared passion. The first work of this series, “Sloss, Kerr, Rosenberg & Moore” is a work made with and performed by four New York attorneys. This performance series has continued with works involving fly fishermen, nuns, corporate executives, a farmer and her dairy cow, custodians, security officers, poker players, gardeners and physicians, among others. The Symphonic Body is a performance/orchestral work made entirely of gestures. Carlson shadowed 78 people from across campus, students, professors, staff, ground service workers, deans, and provosts and built gestural portraits for each individual based on the motions of their work day.
Ms. Carlson is the recipient of over thirty commissions and numerous awards for her artistic work, including two American Masters Award, multiple years of support from Rockefeller Foundation MAP program, a USA Artist Award, a Rockefeller Seed Grant, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies Fellowship at Harvard University, a Guggenheim Fellowship; a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship; A Fellowship from the Foundation for Contemporary Art, three awards from the National Choreographic Initiative; a Doris Duke Award for New Work; the first Cal/Arts Alpert Award in Choreography, a prestigious three-year choreographic fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as eight years of consecutive support from the NEA. Most recently, Carlson was invited by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation to be in residence next year on Captiva Island, Florida.
Carlson has made a number of performance works with animals. Horses, dogs, cats, cows, fish, goats have made their way into works by Carlson. Her Animals series toured throughout the U.S. from 1988 until 1996. Last summer, Carlson made a work on horseback opposite a Debra Butterfield sculpture in Jackson Hole, WY.
Carlson has had a long-term collaboration with video maker, Mary Ellen Strom resulting in several single channel performance videos that are held in several private and museum collections. In addition Carlson/Strom made a large-scale site-specific work, Geyserland, in which the audience went on a train and traveled 25 miles over the Bozeman Pass in Montana.
Ann was a guest artist at Stanford University in the department theater and performance studies beginning in March 2010. In May 2010, with the support of the dance division, she made “Still Life with Decoy” with a band of dancers in search of a stage and 150 students poised in stillness throughout campus. In 2011, Ms. Carlson became the first visiting artist at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, making “Picture Jasper Ridge” a silent performance hike that invited the public to see re-staged archival photographs performed in the tradition of tableau vivante. This continued her performance photo series that has been seen on the streets of New York City, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and in the mountains of Massachusetts and Montana.