2017 Book List

January
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk
Dance by Letter, by Annie B Parson

Februrary
To Fail & Fail Big, The Field
A Streetcar Named Desire
Shadow Box, by Antonia Logue

April
The Art of Travel, by Alaine de Botton

May
Bright Lights, Big City, by Jay McInerney
Moth Smoke, by Mohsin Hamid

June
Sex at Dawn

July
Ethical Slut

August
A Brief History of Seven Killings

September
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
It's All Absolutely Fine, by Ruby Elliot

October
Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, by Nick Flynn
Saga, comic book

November
Sex Criminals, comic book
Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay (portions)

December
The Nix, by Nathan Hill

Bold - favorites, life changers, highly recommended

Is this a blog?

After a year and a half of maintaining this website, I still haven't decided what this "News" page should be. Is for cheerful updates? (Quite a lot, yes.) Is it a blog? (??) Should images or text dominate each post? Am I to bring my personal and process thoughts to bear, or stick to show announcements? More and more I'm interested in writing about my creative process and reflecting on what I see in the scene around me, so here's some about the second of those two:

Today, The Field put on a workshop called Activating Equity, all about creating a more equitable arts sector in New York. Renee Watson gave an inspiring keynote address that made me want to do the things she is doing: writing books, taking social justice action in her neighborhood, appearing to stay peaceful in herself, etc. Rachel DeGuzman led a session urging us to commit to specific ways we will disrupt racism with our art work (one of mine is to proofread for accidental or passive racism in my artwork). Wilfredo Hernandez guided us through a(n actually really fun) theater game about power and oppression. Forty or so artists and folks in the arts field joined the day and I left with lots to think (and maybe write) about.

Earlier this month, I attended American Realness' panel/session "Aesthetics Live Within the Structure of Whiteness Just Like We Do," which brought together one of the most badass rooms of artists and administrators I've ever seen. So many arts organizations, and big ones, showed up. It was a great example of people, primarily white people with power and privilege, gathering to discuss the dominance and harmful power of white aesthetics in modern and post modern dance, and to share ways to "do [our] motherfucking work."  I should say, it was also fantastically dance-nerdy; I felt out of my depth and like I had a LOT of reading to do.

KH&D at NEVER BEFORE, NEVER AGAIN on January 5

KH&D has some beautiful structured improvisation in store for you at Triskelion's Never Before, Never Again festival this week! Here's what I have to say about the dance:

Katelyn Halpern & Dancers presents an intimate world of improvised dance in Under the Cover of Night. Twin riverheads of egoless movement and stream-of-consciousness speech propel the dance score and invite tender, joyful performance choices; composer Elliot Cole accompanies the dance with a live, responsive electronic sound score. Under the Cover of Night is part of Katelyn Halpern & Dancers’ ongoing work with language and movement.
 Part of the creative team for NBNA, celebrating the birth of 2017

Part of the creative team for NBNA, celebrating the birth of 2017

We'd love to see you there.
Tickets  //  Info  //  Visit Elliot Cole's Website

Happy New Year! (and reading list from 2016)

At Home by Bill Bryson (January)
Yes, Please by Amy Poehler (January)
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling* (February)
My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor (May)
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez* (May?)
Making Your Life as an Artist + Workbook (May?)
Catch 22 + Essays by Joseph Heller (June)

Imogene the Voodoo Queen by Heather Pedoto (June)
The Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah (June)
Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon (July)
For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood... and the Rest of Y'all, Too by Christopher Emdin* (July)
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins (August)
Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon (August)
We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge (September)
Homeland & Other Stories by Barbara Kingsolver (September)
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg (October)

Foxfire Vol. 1* (October)
We Gon' Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation by Jeff Chang (November)
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda  Ngozi Adichie (December)
The Next America by Paul Taylor and the Pew Research Center (December)

Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids* (December)
The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (December)

Books are listed by the month I finished them.
An asterisk means I didn't finish it.
Bold means I recommend it. I decided not to recommend any books I didn't finish.

 

Photos and Things from the TEDxJersey City Labyrinth

Labyrinth for Reflection & the Generation of Love [No. 7, created for TEDxJersey City]

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WHAT: A labyrinth is a single twisting path that leads from the outer edge to a center chamber.
WHY: Unlike a maze, a labyrinth holds no tricks, choices, or dead ends; you can give yourself over to the path and release your mind to its wanderings.
HOW: Begin at the entrance at the outer edge and walk along the path. Once you reach the center, stay as long as you wish, then follow the path back out. Move at any comfortable speed, and be mindful of those sharing the labyrinth walk with you.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY TAKING NOTE OF:
… the way it feels to walk the labyrinth versus walk on the street
… how quick turns in the path feel different than long sweeping segments
… the feeling you have in the center chamber
… the difference between traveling in toward the center versus traveling out toward the edge
… where your mind goes

And here's the artist's statement I shared with conference guests:

I walked my first labyrinth at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas around 2007. They have a beautiful copy of the Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth, and as I walked it a little something shifted in me. It was like partnering with a great lead in social dancing - I felt supported, free, and open to surprise - and I've walked pretty much every labyrinth I've encountered since.

I started improvising labyrinths about six months ago as an offshoot of my choreography-meets-public-art project Do a Dance!, which uses chalk to place little dance instructions on sidewalks and blacktops. At first I just wanted to see if I could produce a walkable labyrinth, but soon I zeroed in on the significance: whether I'm walking or making them, labyrinths give me a way to reflect on the world and generate love in times of crisis. I began installing them in response to current events, like the Pulse shooting in Orlando, and in support of the Movement for Black Lives. They offer a place to go and thing to do when we might otherwise be at a loss. Of course, they aren't just for heavy moments, they're for anything you like: an unusual walk, a nice experience to share with a friend or stranger, or a bit of time to enjoy a happy feeling.

It seems fitting to bring an improvised labyrinth to TEDxJersey City's Go. After all, labyrinths are all about going - the body goes, the mind goes, one goes in and goes out... there's nothing but going going on.

I hope you enjoy your time in the labyrinth today, and thank you for visiting.
- Katelyn

Upcoming: Labyrinth Installation at TEDxJersey City

On Saturday, December 3, I'm going to install a life-sized labyrinth at TEDxJersey City. On session breaks, attendees will be invited to walk the labyrinth (which will be made of painters tape so as not to damage the Historic Loew's Theater!) as a way to let their thoughts settle, get their blood moving, or generate love and reflection. I've been making chalk labyrinths as part of Do a Dance! since June of this year, and it's really wonderful to bring this branch of the project indoors and into such a rich environment. The labyrinth also sits nicely with the conference theme GO, because with a labyrinth, of course, you go in, you go around, you go back the way you came, and then you go on your way. <3

TEDxJersey City, Historic Loew's Jersey City Theater, Saturday, December 3, 2016. Information + tickets

 

 

 original labyrinth by katelyn halpern, published in  Under Glass Vol. 2: Dumpster Fire, August 2016.

original labyrinth by katelyn halpern, published in Under Glass Vol. 2: Dumpster Fire, August 2016.

My Company is Wonderful

The company model is working beautifully. We've been rehearsing for about a month and a half, and so much about the group is going well: my dancers are fantastic to work with, the dances are growing with their own life force, and we are gathering/making opportunities to perform. Plus, we're all doing our best to live up to the expectations we set at the beginning. It's a dream.

Since I always find something to be anxious about, I find myself in the happy (?) situation of being nervous that this sweetness cannot last, and that when it sours it will be my fault. I imagine a future when I will have failed to be sufficiently compassionate, or bold, or creative, or communicative. I have unfortunate daydreams about it being the day of the show but having failed to produce anything worthwhile, or anything period. I talk about my excitement, and yet feel insecure when I'm hanging out with myself.

The wonderful, wonderful part of this is that I don't feel anxious in the studio. I love working with Myssi, Arianna, and Julia, and I feel so fortunate that they keep showing up for our company time. Really, I want to do right by them and their talents. Here's hoping that I can.   

PS: They are performing my piece "Build Up" with six (6!) guest artists at the Your Move Dance Festival on Thursday, October 20th and Saturday, October 22nd. More info at the events page. 

 

Your Move Dance Festival | Katelyn Halpern & Dancers

Katelyn Halpern & Dancers presents "Build Up" at the Your Move Dance Festival with guest artists Clara Auguste, Keiry Abril Amparo, Jane Anthony, Rina Espiritu, Jessica Gaby, and Sarah Starkweather. Performances are at the DeBaun Performing Arts Center in Hoboken, NJ, a short walk from the Hoboken PATH station. 
Thursday, October 20 at 8:00pm
Saturday, October 22 at 3:00pm
Tickets | Festival Information

Do a Dance! September 9th at JC Fridays

Do a Dance! returns to Van Vorst Park September 9 for JC Fridays. Find ordinary sidewalks turned into dance-scapes and winding labyrinths made of chalk, then follow the prompts to Do a Dance! of your very own. Early birds (10-11:30a) can grab some chalk and add their own Do a Dance! to the walkways. All ages welcome , but readers will have more fun. :) 

Follow the fun @letsdoadance
Free! Installation starts at 10a. Do a Dance! on display until the rain comes. 

Company Experiment

This Fall I'm experimenting with a dance company model. I haven't done it before and I'm not convinced it's best, but it seems like the right time to give it a shot. In the past I've mostly worked on discrete dance projects, and maybe someday I'll take part in a collective. For now, I'm gathering partners for a company that will develop new work, learn a bit of rep, and work together with me on the business of maintaining a company. 

We've only just started our work together (today we had our first rehearsal!), but before we got into the studio I did a lot of thinking and talking about what I wanted my company to look like. I considered how to bring all parts of myself into it - the open-minded thinker as well as the structure-philic professional. Two documents especially helped me along the way: How to Make Your Life as an Artist and the accompanying workbook, and the Dancers Forum Compact. How To Make Your Life as an Artist gave me some tools to clarify my creative mission and goals (other folks like it for the practical time/money guidance). The Dancers Forum Compact gave me a starting point for communicating my goals/wishes/expectations to the dancers who join me. Both resources came courtesy of the Dancers' Economic Empowerment Program at the Gibney Dance Center in New York.

There's not much of an ending since it's all just begun --