AMBASSADOR PROJECT: UNSTUCK Feb 19, 2014
by Brett Love
ON THE BOARDS AMBASSADOR, TEAM 4
When I first heard about the Ambassador program, the thing I was immediately excited about was the idea of merging communities. As someone who sees a lot of theatre and dance, I have long been aware of the differences in those audiences. In general, I see the dance people at dance events, and the theatre people at theatre events. There is very little crossover. I often hear from people, “I should see more dance.” Or, “I should see more theatre.” But getting them to jump from should to actually doing it is tough. On The Boards is the one place that does manage to bridge that gap, so I was very interested in being part of furthering that cause.
It’s my belief that one of the best ways to achieve this merging of communities, and the reason that OtB is so successful at doing that, is through art that combines their passions. If you have dancers working with theatre companies, working with musicians, they are going to bring their audiences together for a sort of cultural exchange. The hope, of course, is that this exposure lights a spark that will see those audiences seek out other art that is out of their usual routine.
The bonus for everyone is that these partnerships between artists of different disciplines offer the possibility of something unique and original that we wouldn’t otherwise have been able to experience. It’s with this in mind that the idea for the Blood Ensemble workshop started to formulate for me.
I’ve been following along with their work and process for a few years now, and they are one of the companies I am most fascinated by. While it would have been easy enough for them to take the safe path of finding an interesting play and putting on a show, they chose the harder path. They developed their own system of creation, and took up the task of creating something new, and wholly unique to their company.
For the audience, it’s a wonderful opportunity. Here is something completely new that you walk into having no idea what is about to happen. The possibilities are endless. It’s very much akin to why I love On The Boards. I know that when I go there, quite often, I’m going to see something that I can’t see anywhere else in the city. This is the same feeling I have when I know that there is something new from the Blood Ensemble in my future.
All of this led to the thought, “Wouldn’t it be perfect to put these two things together? The exciting new company with the long established home of performance art in the city.” It offers the opportunity for growth and experimentation on both sides. The OtB family of performers gets to work and interact with the Blood Ensemble and their Moment Work process. And the Blood Ensemble gets exposed to a new circle of performers that they may not have rubbed up against if left to fate.
My hope is that connections are made and ideas begin to germinate. Someone that attends the workshop takes away a new perspective for how they approach their own work, and has a whole new group of performers in their Rolodex as they plan future endeavors. At the same time, the Blood Ensemble, through the way their system works, will be exposed to how each of the attendees goes about their own process.
While the focus is certainly on the Blood Ensemble teaching their Moment Work process, the idea of challenging them with a wide ranging group of artists from various disciplines is also very much part of the plan. This is something that was built into the core of their process from the beginning, and it has paid dividends in their past projects. I can only assume that a room full of new faces will add to this.
My pie-in-the-sky goal with the whole thing will find us all seeing the fruits of connections made at this workshop as new things happen for all the attendees in the future. And as they bring their audiences together, art in the city is stronger, and audiences grow.