What a wonderful, thought provoking performance! The performance gave me a sense of how fragile our minds can be, while showing the power a thought can have in transforming our state. The imagery of the piece is poetic, absorbing, and inspiring. Thank you Everett!!!
I’m writing to thank you all for such a wonderful workshop on Wednesday night and a fantastic show last night! I came with my husband last night, he’s not a big dance or theatre fan and often comes to shows like this to keep me company and doesn’t get a lot out of them. He absolutely loved your show (as did I) and couldn’t stop talking about how wonderful it was. Thank you for making work that is so accessible, engaging, and inspiring. I have found that keeping intention in my own work can be difficult and you all do such a wonderful job. The multi-media aspects of your work are incredible and integrated so well into the whole. The stories in your work are so incredibly powerful.
Thank you again! I hope to see you perform again soon.
I frankly had no idea what to expect. I’m writing this comment to try to give my impression of what I saw, to help those who might be curious, but maybe skeptical about the possible relationship between dance and neuroscience. From my point of view, it was about the relationsip between memory, past experience, and behavior; about the effect on behavior of normal and abnormal brain activity; and about the impact on emotion of various brain functions. There were fabulous photographic effects on a large white sheet and on other surfaces of various sizes. There was some speaking, some masks and costumes, and lots of movement: some angry, some rapid and sometimes frantic, and some solemn. The effect is powerful and conveys the wonder of our mental and emotional life. I found it very moving and amazingly communicative.
All the above may seem silly to others whose impressions are very different; they are just mine. But if you dare to attend one of these performances, I think you will find it a very rewarding experience.
What an interesting project! Drama at its best trying to bridge the gap between neuroscience and the arts!! Just what we love… take a look, its quite inspiring.
Amazing work Everett and congrats on your achievement at Kickstarter!
-About My Brain
Dance Science at Everett
A heady conversation with the creators of a show about the human brain
By: Molly Lederer
Can ballet teach you about the brain? Can modern dance make you more tolerant of disorders? Can hip hop help you learn about the hippocampus? Find out, as Everett presents Brain Storm this month. The innovative new show combines dance, theatre and multimedia in an exploration of the ever-fascinating human brain. And it just might blow your mind.
Co-directors Dorothy Jungels and her son Aaron recently took the time to chat about the production. The inspiration came partially from Aaron’s two-year residency at a New Hampshire rehab facility for patients with brain injuries and disabilities. Another part came from teaching students in Everett’s arts classes, some of whom were affected by ADHD, trauma and other mental issues. Aaron explains, “We thought if we knew more about the brain, our programs could be designed better, to maybe provide them with tools to help them gain their own insights and their own control over some of these conditions.”
Everett’s professional dance troupe developed the show collaboratively over a period of two years, with all eight of the performers participating. After filming the dancers in improvisation, Dorothy reviewed the footage and selected elements and movements to incorporate in the choreography. Aaron brought in new multimedia technology with which to experiment. And everyone shared ideas, research and articles about the brain. They collected reams of material and then winnowed it down. As Aaron notes of the creative process, “We call it our deck of cards. And the company reshuffles the deck, and tries new arrangements to come up with a shape that provides a meaning larger than the separate parts.”
Brain Storm includes stories from specialists and individuals dealing with mental illness – schizophrenia, PTSD, memory loss and more. It examines our perceived level of control over elements of mind and behavior, and the chemical and electrical processes behind them. Noteworthy concepts like neural stimulation and neuroplasticity play a part. Perhaps most significantly, the show highlights the transformative power of thought. For everyone involved, it’s been an eye-opening experience. Dorothy points out, “It’s brought about a lot of tolerance for all of us as we have started to understand the way different brains work.”
The production design features two rolling sets of scaffolding that the performers move around and upon. At times, the scaffolding becomes a metaphor for parts of the brain, including the amygdala and the hippocampus. (“We tried and tried to get the hypothalamus and we failed,” Dorothy says with a laugh.) Expect multiple styles of dance and an eclectic assortment of music, ranging from Classical piano to Cesaria Evora and Led Zeppelin. Novel video projection techniques and lighting lend excitement to the staging.
Note that no prior study of cognitive neuroscience is necessary to enjoy the performance. No matter how cerebral the premise may sound, Everett took pains to make Brain Storm accessible. Aaron reveals, “It was a challenge to bring some of the science into the piece without getting bogged down and too educational. The piece is more mysterious and, I think, very human. So it doesn’t get overly technical.”
Dorothy adds, “But you will understand your hippocampus when you leave.”
Brain Storm runs April 13-29. Call 401-831-9479 for tickets.
To view this article online go to : http://providenceonline.com/stories/Dance-Science-Everett-Theatre-Brain-Storm-Providence-Monthly,1576?category_id=7&town_id=1&sub_type=stories,packages,photos
Just when you think that the members of Everett’s company (formerly Everett Dance Theatre) couldn’t possibly come up with anything more jaw-dropping than previous productions (Silas the Teenager, Home Movies, Body of Work, The Science Project), they reach into a vast realm of thoughts, perceptions, delusions, and clarifications on yet another oft-debated topic. After autism, personal reminiscences, labor issues, and the laws of science, the Everett creators have turned their attention to the human brain: its inner workings, its mysteries, its deviations, its magic.
With mother-and-son team Dorothy and Aaron Jungels as co-directors, Brain Storm was developed out of a residency at Crotched Mountain rehab center in New Hampshire and out of 18 months of “Brain Cafes” in Providence, in which experts in neuroscience and medical fields, plus individuals who’d experienced unusual brain events — from PTSD to Tourette’s syndrome — participated in panel discussions about the brain.
From those experiences, personal stories, and theater and dance improvisations, the eight creators/performers — Justine and Grace Bevilacqua, Ari Brisbon, Aaron and Rachael Jungels, Marvin Novogrodski, Sokeo Ros, and Edgar Viloria — plus videographer Laura Colella, molded the one-hour presentation at the Everett Stage (formerly the Carriage House, April 20-22 and 27-29).
That hour-plus is so chockfull of images and movement that the audience comes away almost as breathless as the performers. On the small stage, designers and dancers have collaborated on a three-level set, based around four pieces of rolling scaffolding and initially covered by a parachute-sized piece of fabric onto which overlapping video projections prepare us for the multi-media, multi-challenging journey we are to undertake.
Our senses are overwhelmed with images and sounds: from a black-and-white train chugging across the screen to hazy tango dancers to Gene Kelly talking to a mirrored image of himself (“Alter Ego” from Cover Girl) to a clip from Fried Green Tomatoes (with Idgie and Ruth at the train tracks) to glimpses of Everett dancers to pulsing lights inside the tent-like structure that seem to make the “brain” pulse and throb. The music ranges from Coldplay to Dr. Dre, from soundtracks (American Beauty, Romeo and Juliet) to tango to Césaria Évora.
There are narratives from Aaron about trying to conquer his fear of death, from Rachael about finding a “happy trigger,” from Edgar about holding his friend Angelo in his arms after he was shot, from Sokeo about being afraid of his memories (he was born in a Cambodian refugee camp) and longing for a different family. Rachael delivers an instructive poem about the cortex and the hippocampus (the cortex stores memories; the hippocampus chooses which to keep). Marvin enacts a professor having a stroke, becoming giddy and following a clown-like character around.
Woven through all the stories and information are elements of dance, video, and theater. Sokeo dances and interacts with projected illustrations of neurons, and we learn that Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1906 Nobel laureate, considered the founder of modern neuroscience) loved, from childhood, to draw the body and eventually brain cells. Aaron and Rachael do a brief duet with one of the rolling platforms as their third partner, allowing them to hold its bars and swing out or to hover, trapeze-like, from it, and then to pull each other away from their daydreams, back into the solidness of everyday life. They also interview their cousin Joel about his schizophrenia and their Grandma Jo, who remembers nothing of her past but longs to meet someone who knew her back then, and “it wouldn’t break my heart.” An argument between Rachael and Sokeo, as her amygdala, shows his rage and fear but also his admission that he doesn’t like “the heart — it makes you soft.”
A signature Everett dance sequence involving seven performers underscores our brains’ frenetic activity — running, tripping, catching, backing off, lifting up, leaning on each other, toppling like dominoes. A similar segment closes the show, with the addition of two rolling scaffolds that keep each of the eight dancers climbing up and over, around, and even under the moving structures. It’s quite literally a tour de force.
But I’ve only scratched the surface. The entire show is a tour of many forces.
Read more: http://providence.thephoenix.com/arts/137084-everett-whips-up-a-stunning-brain-storm/#ixzz1sQua6mb1
Everyday occurrences are hard to track. Yesterday we forgot to write down how many eggs we’d collected. Saturday merged with Friday, and we couldn’t retrace our steps, so we logged “3″ with a question mark. However, two events this weekend were quite memorable.
Friday night we saw “Brain Storm” at the Carriage House in Providence. It is the latest piece from the innovative dance theatre group, Everett Dance Company. Their work blends dance, video, music and theatre, tackling fascinating subjects. Two of my favorite past shows are “The Science Project,” which explored the boundaries between art and science, and “Body of Work,” a look at—and tribute to—workers in America. “Brain Storm” is the result of several years research and development. The company worked with scientists and people living with brain injuries—and the result is a mesmerizing hour-long piece. One vignette tells the story of a brain researcher who discovers she is having a stroke, and describes the feelings and sensations she experienced as it was occurring. It vividly brought to mind my mother’s stroke. As in any great performance, “Brain Storm” touched my heart and challenged my mind.
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