Alibi V.28 No.22 • May 30-June 5, 2019 

Arts Feature

Albuquerque Hear Here Festival

A collaborative production at Keshet offers artist and audience new opportunities

Dancer Alicia Dellimore and poet Manuel Gonzalez rehearsing at Keshet.
Dancer Alicia Dellimore and poet Manuel Gonzalez rehearsing at Keshet.
Photo by Carolyn Tobias

Keshet Dance and Center for the Arts has embarked on an ambitious program to bring seven performance artists together to create new work and get it ready for an audience within two weeks. In the mold of the 48 Hour Film Festival, Keshet has launched a collaborative project that pairs dancers/choreographers with musicians/composers, sight unseen. It is an idea that is as innovative as it is challenging.

Dancer Romy Keegan and musician Elizabeth Capra rehearsing at Keshet.
Dancer Romy Keegan and musician Elizabeth Capra rehearsing at Keshet.
Photo by Carolyn Tobias

The Albuquerque Hear Here Festival can best be described as an intensive residency. Dancers Sonia Bologa, Alicia Dellimore and Romy Keegan are paired with musicians Elizabeth Capra, Lauren V. Coons and Sabine Shannon, and for good measure, poet Manuel Gonzalez. In conjunction with the City of Albuquerque's Tipping Points for Creatives Initiative, the Albuquerque Hear Here Festival aims to provide New Mexican artists an opportunity outside the commission structure that often drives the production of new dance work. Each artist is given rehearsal and performance space, a $1,000 stipend and access to 12 months of ongoing business development support via the Keshet Ideas and Innovation Community. Creating work from the ground up that is both empowering to individual artists and collaborative in its process is the goal.

Dancer Romy Keegan and musician Elizabeth Capra rehearsing at Keshet.
Dancer Romy Keegan and musician Elizabeth Capra rehearsing at Keshet.
Photo by Carolyn Tobias

Each Hear Here participant is “coming in with an interest in collaboration,” says Shira Greenberg, Keshet Founder and Artistic Director. Collaborations like this are not rare, but what is unique is both the speed with which each performance is put together, as well as the fact that many of the performers had not met one another until their pairings were announced. Time is often the greatest challenge in producing new work with a hard performance deadline, but Keshet’s Hear Here festival aims to produce work on a schedule with little room for error.

Dancer Alicia Dellimore and poet Manuel Gonzalez rehearsing at Keshet.
Dancer Alicia Dellimore and poet Manuel Gonzalez rehearsing at Keshet.
Photo by Carolyn Tobias

Dancer Alicia Dellimore says that the way Keshet has handled the logistics has been “seamless.” She says there is undoubtedly a push to create quickly, but it is the hope of organizers and performers alike that the process and pressure will forge something truly unique. Musician Lauren V. Coons says that everyone is pushing at the same level. She is not worried about the time pressure, adding, “we’re all professionals.”

Lauren Coons, Sonia Bologa and Sabine Shannon rehearsing at Keshet.
Lauren Coons, Sonia Bologa and Sabine Shannon rehearsing at Keshet.
Photo by Carolyn Tobias

By creating work from the ground up with artists from different backgrounds, poet Manuel Gonzalez says that this process will result in work that not only incorporates the different perspectives of the collaborating artists, but benefits from a previously unexplored synergy. It is part of the intention of the project to cross-pollinate both artists and audiences says Gonzalez. “There is a lot of cool art in this town, but people are often stuck.” Stuck within their community and stuck with seeing the types of art they are familiar with.

What can the audience expect? Innovation and experimentation tempered by experience is the goal, but Dellimore believes the productions will go beyond that. She says that the audience should “expect to be provoked.”

Albuquerque Hear Here Festival Performance

Saturday, June 1, 7:30pm
Keshet Dance and Center for the Arts
4121 Cutler Ave. NE
$5
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