Beverly Sky | Brickbottom Artists
Cactus Prayers, HMP, 22" x 30", 1991  
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In January of 1998, I saw a dance performance in Northhampton, Massachusetts that included a woman who was listed in the program as being in her 'seventies.' It was an inspiring moment.

Feeling the pinch of turning fifty, I, who had at one time aspired to becoming a dancer, thought that my dancing days were over. It occurred to me that I could still create and perform with a different energy and intent than I may have possessed when I was twenty-something.

This was when the idea of 'The Over The Hill Dance Company' was born. I called my friend, Anna Dunwell Friedler, writer, dancer, artist, to ask her if she wanted to work together and develop this idea. She replied that she had the same longing to perform and create as I did.

The first performance of our collaboration was held on April 1, 1998 at Dance Freedom's 30th Anniversary at the First Unitarian Church, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA The Performance piece was titled STUFF, It's a material world.

Premier Performance Piece
STUFF was a seven minute piece set to seven different musical moments. We had two rehearsals. The parameters were as follows. Anna and I put on as many layers of clothes as we could wear and still move around, with a final kimono covering.

From a meditative sitting position, we began to circle each other as we took off each article of clothing until at the end of the piece when we were down to our leotards. All movement was improvisational, and at one point we actually began to put each other's clothes back on, and then thought better of it, and continued at a fast pace to get rid of the rest of the stuff on our bodies.

The piece was great fun, and it established some of the ground rules for the Company.

1. All performers must be over 50.
2. Performances not to exceed 10 minutes.
3. No memorization
4. Minimal rehearsal
5. Low aerobic content
6. Exploration of physical, emotional, philosophical and spiritual themes are encouraged

Second Performance Piece
In 1999, Anna and Beverly performed at the 31st Anniversary Celebration of Dance Freedom at the First Unitarian Church, Cambridge, MA, The first piece was conceived and loosely choreographed by Beverly as part of her continuing It's a Material World series, and was titled...

THE YELLOW CHAIR: Matter/ Anti-matter performed by Misha Rinder, Anna Dunwell Friedler, David Friedler, Jose Galvao and Beverly Sky. A six minute piece set to the music of Zen monks, nature sounds, and the intro to Thus Spake Zarathustra by R. Strauss, The dancers, all in black, gloves, socks leotards, wander into the center of the stage, seemingly lost, carrying some dayglow yellow pieces of wood. The dancers notice each other, and begin to come together realizing that all of their yellow pieces of wood may fit together. They are able to join the pieces together at the peak of Zarathustra's intro and create a yellow chair in black space. Then after a moment all is dissolved and the dancers go off into their own worlds again.

It was after this performance that we came up with our Mission Statement:

Over The Hill Dance Company: Exploring Spiritual and Metaphysical Process through Performance.

Third Performance Piece
Performed on December 22,1999, at Dance Freedom's Solstice Celebration.

Anna wrote:
"For the Lakota Sioux, tonight's last full solstice moon of the millennium at 10:32 P.M. is known as the 'moon when the deer shed their horns.' This moon hasn't been seen since 133 years ago when a legendary Sioux warrior attempted to regain use of the land. This years super moon, fosters healing, its power representing the divine bright light. As you awake you'll understand what has been lost when it didn't reach your heart. Suffering is not an option. Don't turn off the light or the snow will submerge you in the middle of the pain."

SOLSTICE: An original performance piece in two parts.

Part one, conceived by Anna Dunwell Friedler from her series Finding the Inner Navel a piece titled THE CONVERSATION

Part two, conceived by Beverly Sky is titled OVER THE RAINBOW

Performing Artists: David Brown, Anna Dunwell Friedler, David Friedler, Jose Galvao, Litty Medalia, Geoff Rose, Beverly Sky.

THE CONVERSATION - Five minutes and fourteen seconds of dancers interacting with and reflecting their experience with the light and healing of a full moon. Rising, dancers writhing, sliding and leaping across staging area, seguing into Anna and Beverly having a silent conversation with gestures only, filled with strong emotions communicating silently with each other, and understanding the communications.

OVER THE RAINBOW - Introduction read by Mark Haskins:
"Birds fly in a V-formation because as each bird flaps it's wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in this V-formation, the flying distance of the entire flock is 71" greater than if each bird flew on it's own. When a bird falls out of this formation it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone... and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front. When we share a common direction and sense of community, we can get where we are going more quickly and easily because we are traveling on the lifting power of one another."

Music begins with seven minutes of Judy Garland singing the last chorus of Somewhere over the Rainbow, as dancers enter performance area and are given large sheets of Blue paper which they begin to fold into giant origami cranes during which time a rainbow appears over the moon and the dancers place the folded blue birds on their heads and flap the wings and exit stage in V-formation.

Baggage: The Stuff of Relationships Performed on February 14, 2001 At First Church, Cambridge, MA, Wednesday Night Dance Freedom

Tonights performance is called Baggage: A dance meditation on the stuff we give and take in relationships. This piece was conceived by Beverly Sky and developed with tonights ensemble performers in order of appearance, Claudyne Wilder, Tad Jankowski, David Kahn, Beverly Sky and Lisa Tiemann. The music is provided by: Carlos Gardel singing El Dia De Mi Quieres, Keb Mo singing Dangerous Mood, and the Beatles.

Baggage: Schematic of Performance 2/14/01 at First Church,Cambridge,MA Silence

  1. 1. T and C walk onto center performance area and put their large plastic bags filled with "baggage" in the center of the space.
  2. Music begins, at orchestral start,30 sec
  3. D and B walk on holding hands baggage on their persons, watch T and C, stand in dance position for a moment, at music shift, turn away from each other30 sec
  4. Lisa walks on5. David trys to get L to notice him, but L plays hard to get,
  5. At music shift, La dolce B and T notice each other and begin to dance getting all tangled up,
  6. C contemplates baggage, then tries to L bags(?)
  7. T exticates himself and goes back to C
  8. End of Tango, whispering tape  for ten seconds, mood shift11. D takes off baggage
  9. D and L approach and begin to dance together
  10. B dances with C and T , trying to avoid Bs baggage
  11. L takes off her cape baggage (at call me crazy...)
  12. Instrumental phase, everyone begins to dance with each other,
  13. B grabs Ds leg and is dragged a few steps, then lets go
  14. B contemplates everyone else dancing together and the garbage, Instrumental ends, bells and gongs for a few seconds, and then voices laughing for 10 seconds
  15. Beatles singing Love, Love, Love for one minute during which time we all come together and forma circle dancing with up raised arms and then slowly open up black plastic garbage bags are filled with red balloons and continue dancing till the end of song.
  16. Everyone dances off the performance area. Lights up, Bow
  17. Pick up the bags.The End.

Next Performances to be announced.

 

 

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